Spiced Pumpkin and Lentil salad

kolokythi2 copyDuring Halloween, I think it’s more fun cooking my pumpkin instead of carving it. OK, I must admit, my kids hate it when I do that. After all, there is nothing scary about a baked pumpkin. This salad is spicy and sweet and the spicy pumpkin works really well with the lentils and goat cheese. It’s very easy to prepare, not to mention all the goodness in vitamins and nutrients. You need to keep an eye on your pumpkin as it bakes, since cooking times depend on how ripe your pumpkin is.

 For the pumpkin:

  • 800 gr, pumpkin (or squash), diced in one inch cubes
  • ¾ cup green lentils (small)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika, preferably smoked
  • ¼ – ½ tsp chilli powder
  • salt to taste

For the salad

  • 2 cups rocket leaves
  • 2 cups salad leaves
  • 1 cup goat cheese, in one inch pieces
  • 2-3 mint stalks, leaves only
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • a squeeze of lemon (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 190 C ( 375 F). Put the diced pumpkin on a baking tray and mix with 2 Tbs olive oil. Add the cumin, paprica, chilli and salt to taste. Mix well to distribute the spices. Spread in the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Stir gently and bake for 10 minutes more, until pumpkin is soft (not mushy) and cooked through. .Let baked pumpkin cool to room temperature

While pumpkin bakes, boil lentils in plenty of salted water, until tender but still have a bite. Drain and let cool to room temperature.

Mix gently in a large salad bowl the rocket, spinach and mint leaves. Mix the 1 Tbs olive oil with the vinegar and drizzle on the salad leaves. Toss lightly. Add the cooled pumpkin and lentils. Mix gently and add a squeeze of lemon if you like. Salt to taste. Top with the goat cheese and serve.

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