Lentil, Squash and New Potato Salad with a Maple-Sesame Dressing

lentil-squash-saladThe idea for this recipe and the dressing comes from Denis Cotter’s ‘For The Love of Food’ book. His main ingredients for salad are borlotti beans, pumpkin and brussle sprout tops, so you could try these for a winter salad. The maple-sesame dressing is a real winner – sweet, nutty, spicy and filling.

As it stands, this warm salad recipe below is ideal for the bringing out the delicate flavours of summer squashes, tiny new potatoes and fresh spinach.

Ingredients (Serves 2 as a main meal)

For the dressing

3 tbsp tahini (remember to stir the jar first!)
3 tbsp maple syrup, or a mix with honey
1 lemon, juice of
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 large fresh garlic clove, finely grated
Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

- Put everything in a small food processor bowl, and whizz until smoothish. Add enough water to get a runny consistency, and then add salt to taste (a good pinch!).

For the salad

150g green or puy lentils
Large bunch of fresh spinach leaves, roughly cut into strips
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Punnet of small new potatoes
1 large summer squash (or butternut squash), peeled, deseeded and chopped into cubes
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and quartered

1) Toss the squash in the oil and place in a baking tray. Lay out the onion quarters on another and drizzle on a little more oil. Cook at 200 degrees C for 20 – 30 minutes until soft and browning.

2) Cook the new potatoes whole in boiling water, until just tender enough to insert a sharp knife.  Drain and set aside.

3) Cook the lentils in a separate pan of water for around 30 minutes until just tender. Drain and mix gently with the roasted vegetables, and 2 tablespoons of the dressing.

3) When you are nearly ready to serve, heat the rapeseed or olive oil in a large frying pan and add the chilli. Cook for around 3 minutes, then add the spinach leaves and keep moving for around a minute until fully wilted. Arrange the half the spinach around each plate, then the lentil/veg mix in the middle. Top with some potatoes, then drizzle on the dressing. Serve!

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