What a wonderful, deliciously flavoursome salad! It seems that our customers can never get enough of it. Is this due, at least in part, to it’s wonderful versatility?
My aim is to constantly improve and fine-tune the flavours of the food that I cook. And what I am always looking for are the most breathtaking combinations possible.
That desire has helped me to create a salad here that, with its combination of lentil heartiness, agrodolce (literally ‘sour-sweet’) caramelised red onions anda goat’s cheese, has many different twists!
The butternut squash can be substituted by pumpkin when in season. Depending on what kind of flavour I am looking for the butternut squash or pumpkin can both be roasted with a either mixture of Mediterranean dry herbs, garlic and smoked paprika or with the sweet aromatic note of cinnamon and the soft edge of nutmeg. They produce very different final results but both are equally delicious.
Furthermore, garden peas or fava beans can be used instead of soy beans, and the creamy goat’s cheese from Lombardia I used can be replaced by a more pungent goat’s cheese from France. If you don’t like goat’s cheese, don’t worry, you can even use feta or baked ricotta.
If you want to learn how to cook an easy salad that with just a few simple twists will adapt to all tastes and seasons, then this is the one!
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 300g of puy lentils rinsed under cold water.
- 3 medium size butternut squashes, preferably organic, washed, de-seeded and roughly chopped.
- 400g of goat’s cheese roughly crumbled.
- 1 bag of frozen soy beans.
- 1 jar of good quality caramelised red onions, I make my own and I’ll publish the recipe soon.
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.
- A pinch of salt.
- A few sprigs of thyme.
- A few sunblushed tomatoes for decoration.
- Turn on your oven to 180 degrees.
- Cook the puy lentils in boiling water, making sure to drain them as soon as they are al dente. Be careful not to overcook them.
- Once drained, pour in a container with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Stir well and set aside.
- Put the chopped butternut in an oven dish.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of extra vigin olive oil with cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- Pour the mixture on the butternut making sure it is evenly coated.
- Put the butternut in the oven for 25/30 minutes or until golden. Check every 10 minutes and stir the butternut to ensure an even result.
- Pour boiling water onto the soy beans to defrost them. Rinse them and set aside.
- Mix the soy beans with the puy lentils and a few sprigs of thyme. Mix well and adjust the flavours to taste.
- Pour the lentil and bean mixture onto 4 plates.
- When the butternut is ready, leave it to cool then add on top of the lentils and soy beans.
- Add the crumbled goat’s cheese and top the salad with a generous spoonful of caramelised red onions, a few sunblushed tomatoes and serve!
How easy is that? Enjoy!