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Heart Warming Lentil and Squash Salad

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One of my weirder hobbies is trying new dishes and playfully placing them on the menu of some of my favorite restaurants. If I enjoy the dish, I think about which restaurant I would love to see add it to their menu. When I tried this salad this week, I was blown away by the flavors and heartiness. Even though I had just made it, I read through the ingredients a few more times to confirm that there wasn’t in fact, anything bad in it. It felt so warming and filling, it would be the perfect lunch or dinner alongside a fresh arugula salad. It only took me a few bites to decide which menu I would add this to: Cooks County, recently named the #1 best new restaurant in Los Angeles. Cooks County is one of my favorite local spots, I love their farm-to-table approach and absolutely adore everything on their menu. They, like this recipe, are exactly what meals should be about: delicious, nutrient-dense, feeding your body and soul food.

I saw this recipe on the The New York Times and as eager as I was to try it, I was a bit wary. I love lentils and have been trying to add more legumes to my diet, but they aren’t always the easiest for me to digest. Still, they are packed with protein and fiber and nutrients benefitting heart-health, blood sugar, digestion and also aiding in weight loss and increased energy. I decided to soak the lentils overnight in a few inches of water which made them much easier to digest and also decreased the cooking time quite a bit. Best of both worlds!

The recipe says to serve with the squash and lentils side-by-side, but I mixed them together which I think adds an element of home-cooked goodness. I loved the strong parsley taste, and that is a wonderful thing to pump up in your diet right now. Parsley is packed with antioxidants and vitamins C and A which will give your immune system a nice boost.

I hope this recipe warms your day as much as it warmed mine.

From Martha Rose Shulman, The New York Times

Rezept für 4 Portionen

For the squash

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2 pounds kabocha squash or butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
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salt to taste

Combine lentils, ginger, turmeric, onion, water and salt to taste in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a moderate bubble until the lentils have softened and produced a flavorful broth, about 35-40 minutes*

(*Note: if you have soaked the lentils overnight, they will cook much quicker, so once almost soft, simmer on low to get flavors in broth)

Remove the lentils from heat and remove the onion and discard. Strain the lentils over a bowl, to catch the broth.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place squash on baking sheet and toss with salt, 1 T balsamic vinegar and 1 T olive oil.

Spread squash in even layer and roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so it browns evenly. Remove from the heat when it is tender all the way through.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegars, mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and walnut oil. Toss with the lentils and return to the saucepan. Add a few tablespoons of the lentil broth, stir in the parsley and heat through.

Mix the lentils with the squash and serve.

CHEF:

Elissa Goodman

Holistic Nutritionist & Lifestyle Cleanse Expert, Los Angeles

Elissa Goodman

After being diagnosed with cancer when she was 32, Elissa Goodman explored holistic alternatives and combined them with traditional treatments and was able to beat the disease. Her husband wasn’t as fortunate; he succumbed to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma when he was only 45 after a regimen of doctor-prescribed chemotherapy and two bone marrow transplants. Her personal experience led her to realize the many ways in which nutrition and lifestyle affect our ability to deal with health challenges.

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