Warm Fall Salad
This is my absolute favorite 30-Minute Fall dish. It’s a simple and delicious warm salad with black lentils, roasted kabocha squash, pomegranates, roasted pecans, and a tahini lemon dressing. If you're a host who doesn't have time to cook something for hours, but still wants to impress, this dish is for you. It's simple enough to make for a weekday lunch, but elegant enough to serve at the best dinner party on the planet.
The texture of the squash, lentils, and roasted pecans complement each other beautifully and give you a wonderful contrast as you take each bite. I call this a “warm” Fall salad because it’s awesome eaten warm right off the stove. Sauteeing the kale breaks down some of the rough fibers and makes a soft bed for your Fall veggies on top. Put it all together and there are few dishes more colorful. You’ve got rich golden squash, black lentils, ruby pomegranates, warm mahogany pecans, and rich green kale. Beautiful!!
Kabocha squash is a fantastic Fall food that I only recently discovered. If you haven’t had it before, you’ll soon fall in love. This squash has a delicious sweet chestnut-ey flavor and is actually served in traditional Japanese dishes. Kabocha squash typically comes in a dark green color, but also occasionally in deep oranges. The awesome thing about cooking this squash is that you can roast and eat it with the skin on! It’s full of beta-carotene, iron, and vitamins and is just amazing for you. Use any extra you have in macro bowls or puree it up in a Fall soup!
This salad is very filling eaten as a main dish, but also goes great in smaller portions as a starter dish if you’re serving a larger group. Try it out for your Friendsgiving dinners and you’re sure to impress!
Total Time: 30 Minutes
¼ kabocha squash, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 cups raw kale leaves removed from the stem
¼ cup raw black lentils
1 cup water (for the lentils)
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
Toasted Pecan Ingredients
1/3 cup raw pecans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Tahini Dressing Ingredients:
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon honey
A dash of sea salt
Preheat oven to 400*F
You’re going to begin by slicing a kabocha squash. You really only need ¼ of a normal kabocha squash for this salad, but it’s always good to roast the whole thing so you have extra squash for your weekday lunches. Start by taking a large non-serrated knife and cut the kabocha squash into large slices. Toss the squash slices in olive oil and sea salt, and lay them out on half of a large baking sheet. You’re going to use the other half for the roasted nuts. After roasting the squash for 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven, toss the pecans, cinnamon, and olive oil together in a separate bowl, then spread out on the other half of the dish. Roast in the oven for an additional 5 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients in the salad.
Next, make your lentils. I’m using dried lentils from a bag, but you can definitely sub in ready-to-eat canned lentils if you’re in a rush. Take your black lentils and water into a small pot and bring to boil, then simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Keep an eye on the pot as these beans do hydrate quicker than you might think and you don’t want to burn your pot. Once they’re finished, simply remove the pot from the heat and set aside.
To prep the kale, simply wash the leaves, remove them from the stem, and lightly saute in a medium pan until the leaves are partially wilted, but not too cooked. You still want some body in the leaves. Remove the pan from the heat and put your kale in a large bowl. Put the squash, lentils, and pomegranate seeds into the bowl.
You’re finally ready to make your dressing! Awesome stuff! Really simple here – you just combine the tahini, olive, oil, lemon, honey, and sea salt in bowl, whisk together, and toss into the salad.
Now just serve it up and you’re ready to eat!