Harvest Butternut Squash Lentil Salad is full of fall ingredients! Tossed in a sweet cider vinaigrette, it’s a healthy and delicious salad that works as a side dish or meatless main dish.
I’ve been loving fall salads this season and this Harvest Butternut Squash Lentil Salad is no exception. If you’ve tried any of my salad recipes you know that I’m all about tons of texture in them. I want plenty of crunch and chew, no one note blah salads for me.
This particular salad not only has tons of texture, but a delightful combination of sweet and savory flavors. It’s also a hearty salad that works well for lunch or a meatless main dish. The heartiness comes from both the lentils, which have lots of plant-based protein and fiber and the butternut squash which is also a good source of fiber and carbs.
What Do I Need to Make the Butternut Squash Lentil Salad?
- Lentils. You can use any variety, but my preference is to use French lentils or lentilles du Puy because they retain their shape and don’t get mushy. Brown, red and green lentils tend to break down more when cooked and work better in soups.
- Butternut Squash
- An apple
- Baby arugula or baby kale
- Dried cranberries
- Apple cider
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Maple syrup
This salad uses one of my favorite vinaigrettes to make in the fall, cider vinaigrette. I first used it in this Roasted Butternut Squash Salad four years ago and have been making it ever since. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, which makes it a great pairing for a bitter green such as arugula or baby kale.
The vinaigrette is what you’ll want to make first when you make the salad. It’s cooked on the stove for about 8 minutes until it’s reduced. The cooking intensifies the apple cider flavor and takes out the pungent raw flavor from the shallot. While the vinaigrette cools you can make the rest of the salad.
Do Lentils Have to be Soaked Before Cooking?
Nope. This is one of the reasons I love cooking with lentils. You will want to give them a rinse and search for any debris that needs to be removed before adding them to the pot to cook.
While the lentils cook, roast the butternut squash. I peel and cut it into about one inch cubes, then toss the cubes in olive oil, salt and pepper. By the time the lentils are cooked the squash should be almost done roasting. Let the lentils and squash cool to room temperature while you assemble the rest of the salad.
If you plan to eat the salad right away go ahead and add the vinaigrette to it, otherwise wait so that the arugula doesn’t wilt. This salad is best when eaten the first day, but if you don’t mind the wilted arugula (I didn’t mind) the leftovers are fantastic as well!
More Fall Salads
- 1 cup apple cider
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked French lentils
- 2 cups cubed and roasted butternut squash
- 1 apple, diced
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons pepitas
- In a small saucepan add the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Let it cook for about 8 minutes or until it has reduced to a 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat and pour into a jar or glass measuring cup. Whisk or shake in the remaining vinaigrette ingredients.
- Cook the lentils according to package instructions. While the lentils cook roast the butternut squash. Let both cool to room temperature.
- In a large serving bowl combine the lentils, butternut squash, apple, arugula, dried cranberries and pepitas. If serving immediately toss together with the vinaigrette, otherwise wait to add the vinaigrette until right before serving. Taste for seasoning before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 122mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 14gSugar: 26gProtein: 12g