Roasted butternut squash and puy lentil salad

Roasted butternut squash © dan and tuesday

Roasted butternut squash © dan and tuesday

Wow, has it been more than a year since we’ve done anything on this blog?

A quick update since September 2010: we left Cardiff, UK to move to The Hague, Netherlands; bought a house and we’re having a baby this month! Plus, in July this year, I (Tuesday) started eating meat again! Maybe it was the pregnancy or maybe because I just want to re-discover (meat) flavours. I am now a carnivore after being an ovo-lacto vegetarian for nearly 12 years and pescetarian (vegetable and seafood diet) in the last 4 years. This means that we will be sharing more meat-based recipes that we like in this blog.

But not this recipe. Our first blog post this year is a vegetarian recipe. This warm salad recipe is from the Good Food magazine and is high in fibre, iron, protein, folic acid and vitamin C. It’s also low-fat, counts as your 5 of 5-a-day (it’s a British thing, click on the link to find out more), and also very easy to make. Win-win!

Roasted butternut squash and Puy lentil salad © dan and tuesday

Roasted butternut squash and Puy lentil salad © dan and tuesday

You need:

  • butternut squash, regular size of about 1 kg, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • garlic clove, crushed (I love garlic and I probably put in about 6 cloves but you can only put 1 or 2, if you don’t fancy it)
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp of water
  • 2 x 400g tin of Puy lentils, drained and washed in water
  • small red onion, sliced
  • 100g of baby spinach
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • toasted pumpkin seed (what we always have in our cupboard is pumpkin seed, sesame seed and sunflower seed toasted in tamari or soy sauce. It’s great topping for salad, soup or pasta dishes)
  • crumbly cheese like feta or Cheshire or whatever cheese you have leftover

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C.
  2. In a roasting tin, toss the butternut squash, garlic, and thyme in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Roast for about 30 mins until it’s they are tender and slightly charred.
  3. Make the dressing by combining balsamic vinegar, wholegrain mustard, water and the rest of the extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Assemble salad by combining Puy lentils, baby spinach, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Put the dressing and toss.
  5. Top with roasted butternut squash, crumbly cheese, and toasted seeds.
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Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

This is in the oven right now as I start writing this. It’s my first attempt at lasagne. Ever. And the greengrocer seems to have sold me some slightly dodgy spinach, so I can’t really vouch for its quality just yet. Maybe Tuesy can report back after I serve it up.

Here’s what you need to do:

1 Butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper

Peel and halve the squash. De-seed that thing. Chop it into big chunks (1 inch square has to be good enough, I reckon), toss it all in a roasting tin with the olive oil, chopped onion and a tablespoon of water. Season with salt n’ pepper. Roast at about 200 degrees (or considerably less if your oven is a fan-assisted raging furnace like Tuesy’s) for 25 mins. While that’s going on, you can get started on the sauce:

25g butter
25g plain flour
1 pint milk

Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time (you don’t want it to go too lumpy) and then simmer it for about five minutes. It’ll go a bit thick, but not too stodgy.

In the meantime, cook 250g of baby leaf spinach in a few dribbles of water (use a separate pan!). Add salt and pepper.

To finish the sauce, you’ll need:

250g carton of ricotta
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (Tuesy: I did the grating!!)
6 sheets of that
lasagne that doesn’t need pre-cooking (Tuesy: this means, use regular lasagne sheets but you don’t have to pre-cook even if the packet says so. As this is very saucy, the pasta will cook anyway!)
50g of parmesan cheese, grated (we like it cheesy, so we’d go up to 80g for this one. I know, we’re just wild…)

Mix the ricotta into the sauce, add the nutmeg and a bit of salt n’ pepper if you haven’t got enough seasoning already. Here, for atmosphere, is a picture of some nutmeg during the grating process:

Now you get to build your lasagne. In an ovenproof dish, put the squash and onion stuff, nicely roasted by now, in the bottom, add the spinach on top and in between and all over, then about a third of the sauce. Layer the lasagne sheets on top, pour on the rest of the sauce. Finally, sprinkle the cheese on top and still more salt n’ pepper if that’s your thing.

Bake for about half an hour, or until the top part achieves your ideal level of crispy, golden goodness. Mine is nearly ready. Hope it’s good. Tuesy’s getting ready to test out her new food processor with some cup cakes, so there may be a delicious dessert blog to come shortly.

Tuesy: The lasagne Dan made is the best lasagne I have ever had in my flat tee hee… it was the FIRST lasagne I’ve ever had in my flat 🙂 But but but! It was also the best lasagne in the whole world! I absolutely love it!

The picture below is a macro shot of the lasagne. We love a crispy top!

PS. Dan used the Good Housekeeping guide to cookery for this recipe. He got it from his brother for xmas and it has changed his life! And I am grateful, of course 🙂

PPS. Recipe for the delicious dark chocolate cup cake to be published soon!