Wood-Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Freekeh and Lentils


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Remember when we were a republic with no president?

Not anymore. Orange is literally the new black. After more than two years with no president finally the Lebanese parties (most of them at least, the ones who got a share of the cake) have agreed to vote for a candidate. Two hours of labor in the parliament proved that we still have a wicked sense of humor despite all, and that keeping the child in you alive is super important even if you’re a member of the parliament. Nothing feels good like re-living classroom fights between the bullies in the back, the nerds in the front, the teacher on the platform by the blackboard, and the supervisor pretending to be monitoring that everything is going as planned. All on live TV

Politics aside, it is purely coincidental that I am posting an orange pumpkin on such a day. This recipe was supposed to go last week as part of Pumpkin Week with the EatTheLebaneseSeason squad, our initiative to give recipes on how to cook and use local seasonal produce. But here it is: a super flavorful salad that can sub for a main meal with all the goodness it is packed with.

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It is on one of our performance days with Clown Me In in the Bekaa that I bought a bunch of pumpkins. The shacks on the sides of the road are a show-stopper. Piles over piles of different pumpkin varieties. I had to buy at least one of each.

In this recipe, I took a butternut squash with me to a relative’s house in the mountains, where we were spending the day, with all the ingredients I needed and made the whole recipe up there, out on a ledge with the wood-fired stove in front of me. The seasoned and wrapped squash halves are roasting in that fire. I got back home smelling like wood. Not a bad thing at all

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tiny-wood-roasted-butternut-squash-salad-with-freekeh-and-lentils-recipes-cookin5m2-pinWood-Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Freekeh and Lentils

Serves 5 persons

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash or half a large one (roast it all and save the rest for other recipes)
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Few basil and mint leaves
  • Salt
  • Pumpkin Seeds (optional)

Procedure

  • Cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise, scoop the insides, seeds and stringy bits, and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap in aluminium foil. Throw into a wood-fire and let it cook until it’s fork tender, around an hour, rotating if needed. Alternatively, pre-heat an oven to 200ºc and roast until tender, around 1 to 1 and a half hours
  • Once cooked through and slightly cool, cut the squash, or use your hands to break it apart into cubes and bite-sized pieces and set aside in a large mixing bowl
  • Soak the lentils in water. You can do it the night before by soaking in water for a couple of hours then draining and leaving the lentils to sprout. Boil the dry lentils in salted water until soft but still holding their shape, 15-20 min, while boil the sprouted lentils for 5 minutes and drain
  • Boil to cups of water with salt and add the freekeh. Bring to a boil, then reduce and let it cook, covered, until all the water is absorbed, around 20 min. Leave covered for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork
  • Prepare the dressing by mixing the honey, dijon and wholegrain mustard, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Mix well until incorporated then in a thin stream add the olive oil whisking well to emulsify the dressing
  • Mix the lentils and freekeh with the squash. Dress ad mix topping with basil and mint ribbons and some pumpkin seeds

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