I can’t really get enough of winter squash. The farmer’s markets in our area have just one weekend left before closing up shop for the winter, and I’ve been quite busy the last couple of weeks amassing an impressive stockpile of squash from weekend market runs and generous green-thumbed friends.
But, umm, what to do with all this squash? I’ve been stirring it into soups and pastas, stuffing it into ravioli, but I have to admit that I have a huge soft spot for it’s simplest preparation: halved, roasted, and stuffed. This particular preparation is a recent favorite around here, it’s earthy and simple, an easily thrown together weeknight meal made with some of my favorite pantry staples. Lentils, quinoa, feta and kale are tossed with jewel-toned dried fruit and a zippy balsamic vinaigrette and served stuffed into roasted squash halves to yield a delicious and nutritionally complete meal.
french lentil and feta stuffed squash
serves four as a starter or a light main
2 small winter squash, such as kabocha, acorn, or delicata
1/2 c. french “le puy” lentils
1/2 c. quinoa (I used a red variety)
1/2 c. dried fruit (I used a mix of cranberries and chopped figs, but I imagine apricots would be lovely as well)
2 large leaves tuscan kale (or a couple big handfuls of spinach)
4 oz. (or more!) good quality feta, crumbled
1/4 c. finely chopped curly parsley (optional)
one medium shallot, minced
one clove garlic, pressed or minced very fine
1/4 t. salt (or more, to taste)
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper (or more, to taste)
1/2 T. dijon mustard
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 450. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly oil. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds, and arrange on prepared sheet, cut side down. Roast for 30-60 minutes (this will depend on what variety squash you use) until squash is soft but still holding its shape. Meanwhile, prepare salad.
Bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add lentils and quinoa and a pinch of salt. Turn heat down slightly and cook for 15-18 minutes until cooked through but still pleasantly firm and chewy. Drain and toss while still piping hot with dried fruit, kale and parsley. Whisk dressing ingredients together and toss with salad and feta. Taste and adjust for seasonings. When squash is finished roasting, flip halves right-side-up and divide salad evenly among them. Sprinkle with additional feta and parsley, if desired, for garnish and place under the broiler for 5 minutes or so to heat everything through before serving.