With fall setting in, I was anxious to start using some the great produce the season brings. Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables and, though it makes a great soup, I love the way it tastes roasted. With lentils being so easy to make and a great source for protein, I figured I’d combine the two. When I started thinking about what the dish might be missing, I thought some grated beet could add texture, flavor and excellent color.
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2 cups vegetable stock (mushroom stock would work well here)
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon spicy curry (regular curry powder will do)
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 and 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large beet
- 1 shallot
- goat cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel, seed and chop the squash into one-inch cubes (I buy squash that have long narrow necks because they yield the most uniform pieces). In a large bowl, combine oil, cumin, curry, cardamom, 1/4 tsp ginger and garam masala. Add the squash and toss until coated. Place squash on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan in single layer. Place in oven and check after 30 - 35 minutes.While the squash is roasting, combine the stock and lentils in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer, cover and let cook about 40 minutes or until done. When the lentils are finished cooking, season with salt and pepper.
After getting the lentils on the stove, peel your beet and place a box cutter in a deep bowl. A deep bowl will help to keep the beet juices from flying everywhere which, trust me, you don’t want. Grate the beet on the coarsest side of the grater, using kitchen gloves to keep your hands from being stained. Once you’re finished, stir a pinch of salt and pepper and ⅛ tsp ginger to the beet gratings and let it sit to deepen its flavor while the squash and lentils finish.
To serve, spoon lentils out onto a plate or shallow bowl and top with your curried squash and gingered beet. I, of course, crumbled some goat cheese on top because, well, goat cheese is delicious. Some minced fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil or mint might be a nice touch, too, if you’re so inclined.