1 1/2 cups beluga lentils
1 medium kabocha or butternut squash, roasted (see directions below)
2 medium pomegranates, seeded or about 1 1/2-2 cups seeds
1 cup unsalted pistachio kernels or pine nuts, toasted (optional)
1-2 candied beets (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh chervil or parsley, chopped
6-10 ounces baby spinach, mixed baby greens, kale or greens of your choice
1-2 ounces fresh burrata
3-4 tablespoons maple vinaigrette (recipe below)
1. Rinse the lentils and put into a saucepan over medium-high heat with about 4 cups of water or enough to cover the lentils by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. They should still be firm, but soft in the middle.
2. Drain and set aside to cool completely. Season to taste with sea salt and set aside. The lentils can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
3. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Use a peeler or a knife to peel the rind from the squash. Slice across the squash about 1/3 from the bottom where it starts to narrow. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds and pulp from the squash as best as you can manage. Cut the squash into slices about 1/4-1/3-inch-thick and across into a dice. You might find that the center core portion of the longer neck of the squash is a bit spongy. Discard that piece.
4. Toss the prepared squash pieces with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the pieces are slightly browned and caramelized. The prepared squash can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
5. If you are seeding the pomegranate from fresh whole pomegranates, I suggest purchasing a handy kitchen gadget, a pomegranate tool. The seeds can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the prepared lentils, butternut squash and pomegranate. Add the fresh herbs and combine.
7. If you are preparing the salad ahead of time, either wait to combine the greens and the lentil mixture or top the greens with the lentil mixture and cover with plastic wrap. When it is time to serve the salad, add the pistachios and dressing to taste and toss to combine. Finish salad by topping with fresh burrata.
Chef’s note: As much as I like the addition of the greens to this dish, I must admit that the lentil mixture is fantastic on its own with just a bit of dressing. It will also hold up much longer this way.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1. Whisk together olive oil, maple syrup, cider vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season dressing with salt and pepper; whisk until the dressing is well blended. The vinaigrette can be prepared ahead and refrigerated, in an airtight container, up to 3 days.
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