Spicy roasted butternut squash, puy lentil and feta cheese warm salad

With summer fast approaching and a holiday to Brazil booked with the other half, I keep threatening to go on a detox/ healthy eating plan to lose the winter padding and get bikini ready. While this endeavour has mostly been a fail -cheese, wine and bread amongst other delicious things have been calling to me- it hasn’t been a complete disaster as I have been “balancing” these lapses with healthy cooking too. Everything in moderation…

Healthy eating is a lot easier to entertain when you don’t notice you’re doing it i.e the food actually tastes good and doesn’t leave you opening the fridge door looking longingly inside within 10 minutes of eating it. This dish will fill you up and leave you feeling smug, satisfied, nutrient-rich and ready to join some kind of remote yoga retreat to live a life of goodness (optional).

I decided to tie this healthy cooking experimentation in with the Maille culinary challenge I am taking part in, mentioned in my previous blog post, to push me into trying something new. I am glad I did because it turns out marinating the butternut squash in a mixture of whole grain mustard, chilli, honey, garlic and soy sauce takes it to another plane of deliciousness!

asparagus

For those who have never cooked with puy lentils before they are in my opinion a wonder food and you must start. They have an earthy flavour which compliments the caramelised sweetness of the roasted butternut squash and punch of the mustard and chilli perfectly. Available in most supermarkets in ready-to-eat form, they can be eaten as- is or warmed for a few seconds in the microwave depending on what you are using them for.

Roasted butternut squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • ½  tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons chilli flakes
  • 2 gloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon of runny honey
  • 1 tspn fresh whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 red onion, cut into large chunks
  • 125 grams asparagus tips
  • 150 grams of cherry tomatoes
  • 250g pre-cooked puy lentils
  • 100g feta cheese
  • Handful of chopped coriander to serve

How to make:

  • Preheat the oven to 220 degrees
  • Put the butternut squash into a large bowl or deep roasting dish and add the fresh wholegrain mustard, crushed garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, chilli flakes and honey stirring until all the pieces are fully coated
  • Cook for about 45 minutes (or until the butternut squash begins to turn crispy at the edges and caramelise) then add the chopped red onion, cherry tomatoes and asparagus  with a drizzle more olive oil and salt and pepper
  • Cook for a further 15 minutes (or until the onion starts to cook and look  translucent) then remove from the oven and place into a serving bowl.
  • Add the puy lentils (these can be warmed in the microwave first), feta cheese and the coriander to serve

Roasted butternut squash and puy lentils with feta cheese

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