spicy squash salad with lentils and goat cheese

Odds are, this week is full of sugar for you. Chewy sugar, hard shiny sugar, sugar molded into candy corn, fluffed into marshmallows, coating adorable little popsicles of cake, wound with brown butter around grains of puffed rice and that doesn’t even include the peanut butter cups you’ll pilfer from your kid’s trick-or-treat bucket this weekend followed by the sweet slide from Thanksgiving’s marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes and December’s minty candy canes.

black lentils, soaking

I, for one, could really go for a salad right now. I’ve been roasting a lot of squash and sweet potatoes lately, usually for the half-toothed member of our family and one day, I was looking to turn it into more of a fall salad and I stumbled upon a recipe from Bon Appetit. I nixed the arugula because the stuff I found at the market was spotty, and anyway, (gripe alert!) I like challenging myself to make salads that don’t hinge on leaves that are only in season a very small fraction of the times of the year people insist you should eat them. (End gripe.) I used a butternut squash instead of a pumpkin because they seem to roast up in cubes better, and also because they’re a much easier shape for my little sherpa to hold in his lap (and only occasionally gnaw on) as we head home from the market. I added toasted butternut squash seeds because I love some crunch with my salads and do hope you know they toast up almost as delightfully as pumpkin seeds. Finally, I used black lentils because that’s what I had in my pantry and what’s prettier in the last week of October than a black and orange medley?

butternut peelings


The results are deceptively filling: this is main-course salad material, as it should be. The squash was spicy and smoky, two flavors I love against naturally sweet foods; I realized it had been way too long since we’d eaten lentils, and the goat cheese was a perfect accent and indulgence. More urgently, we’re hoping it staved off the effects of what I’m going to tell you about next time, which can only be summarized as the anti-salad. Oops.

spiced butternut squash, half
squash and lentil salad with goat cheese

One year ago: Silky, Decadent Old-School Chocolate Mousse
Two years ago: Pink Lady Cake and a Cabbage and Mushroom Galette
Three years ago: Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Four years ago: Spinach Quiche and Pumpkin Muffins

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Bon Appetit

If you’d like to toast the seeds, simply clean them off, rinse and pat them dry and toast them in the oven on an oiled baking sheet, sprinkled with salt. But this comes with a warning: they like to pop, seemingly more than regular pumpkin seeds do, or maybe it’s just my bad luck. I suspect if you let them dry out for a day first, they wouldn’t, but who has that kind of patience?

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 3 as a main

3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash or sugar pumpkin (1-inch cubes) (from about a 2-pound squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika*
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 cups baby arugula (I skipped this)
1 cup soft crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional; I used this, but added it after I took a photo)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
Roasted seeds (about 1/2 cup) from your butternut squash (optional; see note above)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash or pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.

Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.

Combine lentils, pumpkin, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet (I didn’t get enough for this to be worth it) with arugula, if using, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired (we felt it needed it). Divide among plates and pass with remaining goat cheese to sprinkle.

* I swapped half with sweet (not hot) smoked paprika to make sure it didn’t get too spicy for a 13 month-old’s tastes. If you don’t have either on hand, there are ways to approximate this smoky/spiciness with what you have in your pantry, such as mixing some regular paprika with a ground chipotle powder or another smoky spice, and then a pinch of cayenne for extra heat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

351 comments on spicy squash salad with lentils and goat cheese

    1. Nisha

      Sweet and Smokey is such a great combination. I added chopped cucumber to add something juicy, swapped mint for scallions and cilantro and used black eyed peas instead of beluga lentils because that is what I had. Great dish to make in bulk for weekday lunches.

  1. Lisa

    I love love love the winter panzanella, and this is going to be another favorite squash salad of mine! Fyi to others–I’ve been subbing in acorn squash (and its seeds) for pumpkin or butternut–whichever I have on hand. Can’t wait for dinner tomorrow night!

  2. I just made a black and orange dish too! Salads are definitely a good idea this time of year…

    By the way, my sister took my niece to a pumpkin patch for photos the other day, and she was a little pumpkin eater, just like Jacob. So cute!

  3. MHL

    I love the way your recipes are a perfect fit with the pile of goodies I’m about to pick up from my CSA. Our first week of the “winter” CSA will include plenty of squash and arugula. And I have beluga lentils in my cupboard. I know what we’re having for dinner tomorrow. Thank you!!

  4. I look forward to trying this, esp with arugula. Here (Tanzania), arugula (known as rocket here) is available year round and dirt cheap – like 30 cents a bunch. I feel as though I missed this green while living in the States – is it expensive there?

  5. I really need to make an effort to eat more vegetarian dishes, but normally they don’t appeal to me…until today. This looks beautiful and I’m pretty sure if you put a crumble of goat cheese on a strip of bark, I’d want a nibble. By the way, I took the applesauce cake to happy hour yesterday, to share with my friends and our regular server (who I am not ashamed to admit is programmed into my speed dial…what?) and it received very enthusiastic thumbs up all around.

  6. Jarrelle Sartwell

    This is definitely on the menu for sometime this week. I have not had lentils in a while!!! I can’t wait to try this! yuuuuum-o. Thanks Smitten kitchen!

  7. Elizabeth

    Twice this week you post recipes I have all the ingredients for!!! Love love.
    I always have a pot of lentils going since lentils and brown rice are my monkey staples like other kids like Mac & Cheese… if only he had a veggie or two to go with it:)

  8. Your version looks delicious.

    I actually made this salad last year for a pot luck and it went over really well. I did add the arugula and thought it did a nice job of breaking up the sweet flavors of the roasted squash and the tangy taste of the cheese. Plus it added a nice color. I guess it isn’t really in season now though, is it?

    Thanks for your beautiful blog!

  9. Pam

    Deb – Does the average vegetable peeler work with squash, or do you own a special peeler for the job? I often opt out of making butternut squash simply because it is too hard to prepare! Thanks

    1. deb

      I use a regular peeler for the butternut squash. A y-peeler makes it a little easier but they all work. The trick: peel it twice. Each spot, run the peeler over twice.

      I have not peeled a sugar pumpkin this way and am now befuddled by how BA expected folks to go about it! I guess then you’d cut off the peel.

  10. Rachel

    I love this recipe and have made it a bunch of times since it came out in Bon Appetit. I like to use lemon goat cheese if I can find it; it goes really well with the mint.

  11. Jennifer B

    So do you peel your sugar pumpkins with a peeler like you show with the butternut squash? How much work is it to get off the peel at the ridges?

    I always seem to have some difficulty getting pumpkins or acorn squashes peeled because of the ridges and would appreciate any hints you may have…

  12. that looks super delicious! And I don’t have kids, so I haven’t been eating more candy than usual. We are Halloween grinches and make an effort to not be home so we don’t have to buy (and therefore eat any leftover) candy.

  13. JanetP

    Jennifer B — For sugar pumpkins or acorn squash, I would cut it in half and roast it, then take it out of its skin. Wouldn’t get those nice little cubes, but much simpler.

  14. This has all of the things I’ve been craving lately – except I would serve it over a bed of spinach. A note about arugula, at least in my west coast garden it has a pretty long season. Arugula just needs cool weather and it grows like a weed. On your side of the country it probably does have a shorter season. Like lettuce, we manage to grow it all winter long in successive plantings.

  15. My friends and I feel the same way about salad. We like to try new and different styled recipes for salads. My favorit salads are roasted on the grill and then tossed togather with my favorite vegetables. This recipe is going to fit right in with our favorite foods.

  16. Yum!

    So I’m testing out your chocolate guinness cake for a dessert contest at work. I’m considering adding beer to the ganache for more beer flavor. Did you try this? The cake is delicious, but I’m looking for more beer flavor.

  17. Connie

    This looks wonderful! Any suggestions on how to cut squash safely? I see you’ve peeled it first. Does that help? I always feel like I’m about to cut a hand off every time I prepare squash or pumpkin, and have a had a few too many close calls for comfort.

  18. So perfect. I am at boarding school with a very tiny fridge and a very tiny dorm kitchen, but just happen to have all these ingredients in my room! Thank you, Deb! Tonight, dinner will NOT be cafeteria food or pretzels and milk.

  19. Wild! I just did a post last night on a spinach salad with roasted sweet potato. Totally agree… all of the candy and sweets coming up has me craving meals with some nutritional value. Great minds think alike right?

  20. Debbie

    This looks awesome! I’m a SK newbie, but quickly addicted! Wish I could make this but… my kitchen is being remodeled, rip out tomorrow:( No roasting for at least 4 weeks! It will be on the top of my list for the first few dishes made in my new kitchen!

  21. Maybe this is a stupid question but would feta cheese work instead of goats? Or is that a bad swap of flavours?
    I recently discovered your blog re Goop – I love it! Made the warm butternut squash & chickpea salad yesterday, wonderful. Thank you.

  22. we know fall is officially here with the squash recipes coming out of the wood works. YUMMMM and excited this post came so quickly! i’ve been missing myself some good ol’ smitten kitchen reading as of late. but i’m a new mom too. i totally get that thing called having a child. and i reckon youre working on a few other things too ;-)

  23. Love this. I think I will have to make this next week – and serve with some brown rice on the side to make sure that the lentils are complemented enough for a proper protein. With the cheese, veggies, lentils, and then rice – this is so healthy and nutritious!!!

  24. Indigo

    This is absolutely my sort of thing, I think you’ve ticked every single box. But the anti-salad? Yeah, I’m already on board with that, too.

  25. NicM

    I’ve been looking for recipes to use up my annual squash buying bonanza (last week for outdoor farmer’s markets here) and this one looks great plus I’ve been trying to do more vegetarian meals. Now I have to figure out how to peel a sugar pumpkin this weekend so I can get some nice cubes like yours for a pumpkin curry.

  26. Mikki

    Hey Deb, I would love to know if you just roast pumpkin seeds just like written above the recipe for the squash? any ideas on spicing/flavouring? I read recently (and I think it was David Lebovitz) that pumpkin seeds go tough when roasted and im a bit hesitant now and wondered if you had heard anything similar or had this problem? I dont want to waste anything from the pumpkin im planning on carving.

    1. deb

      Mikki — I toast them for about 10 minutes or so at 350. You can do so at the higher temperature, too, just watch them. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll brine them first.

      Claire — Feta would be great. It’s sturdier, too, and can hold up better to the other ingredients.

      Connie — When it comes to cutting up butternut squash, I always suggest one thing: BEVEL. Sorry, that was shouty. But it’s full of curves and weird angles and is dying to fly off the cutting board or let you injure yourself … before you make any cut, make sure you’ve got it on a flat side and it will stay in place. Hope that helps.

  27. Alexander

    You read my mind. 2 days ago, I bought a big ol’ squash and a hunk of goat cheese, not really having anything in mind. As usual, you win!

  28. your salad is making me hungry!
    leave out the greens! Who says salads have to have greens? squash, lentils, and goat cheese have got to be 3 of my favorite things, especially together. I really like the idea of including the toasted seeds and using everything you can from that squash.

  29. Angela

    OK, a little off topic…you linked to the Bakerella book and I’ve heard all about those cake pops, but they sounded awfully sweet. Has anyone tried them?

  30. Maria

    So I just brought home butternut squash with plans to make your warm butternut squash and chickpea thingie (delicious by the way), should I scrap that idea and make this instead? I do love goat cheese….

  31. Holy crap this looks so good. I have a mild obsession with lentils and love love love squash…can’t wait to try it out minus the cheese! (any suggestions for a dairy free alternative for that salty flavor?)

  32. Becca

    Does anyone think you could substitute sweet potatoes for the squash? I have a HUGE number of sweet potatoes in my kitchen right now!

  33. This looks amazing. Reading your blog as I’ve begun to challenge myself with cooking new things has been so amazing. I actually just cooked with butternut squash for the first time and posted about my novice attempt. It was so good!

  34. Oh my gosh, I just made the very. same. recipe this week!(But have yet to post it) I made it (mostly) as-written though, and it was amazingly good! I mainly made it out of curiosity, since I had never eaten pumpkin in its solid form. And I agree, suprisingly filling!

  35. I’ve been trying to hold off on the whole squash-eating thing for at least a few more weeks (I have an entire winter to get my fill bleh) but this salad may break me…

    Glad to see someone else who prefers spicy preparations of squash rather than the sweet stuff in most recipes!

  36. amy

    totally making this RIGHT NOW. had a hankerin’ for butternut today and noticed a jar of beluga lentils in the pantry yesterday. thank you for bringing them together for me!

  37. katie

    Looks yummy… Any tips for getting that butternut squash stuff off your hands after peeling? Mine always look like I went crazy with elmer’s glue.

  38. Elizabeth

    Just had to post my finished product with butternut squash and green lentils is not very pretty at all but tastes good! No greens here but I can see why they’d fit in so well!

  39. Jessica

    My husband made this for me last fall and it is delightful both with the arugula and without it :) I’m excited to try your version Deb!

  40. Meagan

    This reminds me of the first thing I made once when I heard/read that squash and legumes were a natural match:

    For two of us, half a butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes, goes into a Tbsp. or two of hot butter in a heavy pan (I use my cast iron). Season with some chili powder (use the good stuff, like ancho), cumin, smoked or sweet paprika (OR BOTH!), cayenne, a whisper of cinnamon if you like, S&P, and garlic powder. Once it’s almost tender, add half a can of drained, rinsed black beans (or the equivalent in dried, pre-cooked until tender). Add a bit of stock if it’s too dry, and fry them while stirring and re-seasoning until both beans and squash are done to your liking. I often garnish with crumbled oregano and toasted squash seeds, or some feta, and serve atop homemade tortillas. If I’m ambitious, I serve some simple lemony sauteed spinach on the side to brighten and further healthen up proceedings. :)

  41. Mmmmm…. we make (and love) a salad much like this, but with black beans in place of the lentils, and loads of cilantro and lime juice and feta, for kicks. The smokiness, I agree, is everything here. Along with the crunch. So, so good.

    Will definitely give this variation a go.

    p.s.: I’m fairly sure squash peelings have never looked so sexy.

  42. This sounds perfect and like something that would freeze reasonably well leaving out the cheese and the seeds and adding them in after reheating. I’m definitely looking for a number of make ahead meals for the next couple of months, so hopefully this will fit the bill!

  43. I made this salad with the arugula and the Le Puy lentils for a yoga retreat. It was INHALED. I couldn’t believe how much flavor the whole salad had with essentially no dressing. It is really a terrific recipe.

  44. I made this last year (also the applesauce cake, coincidently), but yours looks infinitely better. When it was tossed with the arugula and goat cheese it turned into such a mess. If I were going to make this again and use the arugula, I would definitely make it a composed salad.

    Oh, and I used the sugar pumpkin and it was a major b*tch to peel. I definitely want to try your variation.

    1. deb

      AZ — It’s the same spice with some ground chiles for heat. A lot of paprikas don’t taste like much, and are thus just used for color, but the Spanish smoked stuff is a whole other world… if you can find some, it’s a great thing to have around for eggs, potatoes, you name it.

  45. This recipe is awesome – I love butternut squash in a savory preparation rather than sweet. I made this tonight and used ras el hanout instead of the paprika and cumin combo and it was fabulous. I also subbed in ricotta for the goat cheese for my husband’s portion only, as he doesn’t like goat cheese (terrible, I know). My husband and friends were thrilled with the dish and there were definitely no leftovers tonight!

  46. Seriously. These three things are my most recent obsessions (seasonally and forever). I will put goat cheese on just about every single thing I ever cook. I have never tried any of them together, except for the pumpkin black bean lentil burgers I made for a pumpkin feast that were fabulous, but I will be making this dish immediately. Thank you for knowing exactly what my tastebuds crave.

  47. Chelsea

    Just made this– holy crap. So good. The goat cheese is key, and I kept the whole thing warm. Served it with a side of sauteed spinach, and it’s the perfect healthy but filling meal for a cool evening!

  48. Hillary

    I love that you’ve made such an appealing dish with (generally speaking) kitchen staples! Lovely – also, I’ve found that putting the squash seeds on a paper towel and then leaving them on the stove top of my (albeit antiquated) oven while it preheats and cooks the squash helps to dry the seeds out before roasting. Thanks for the recipes!

  49. Juli

    katie: I think that residue on your hands is some sort of contact dermatitis that a percentage of people get after touching raw butternut squash. When I handle a raw squash, my skin gets so tight that it cracks when I move it…I think the best suggestion is to wear gloves, because it doesn’t seem to come off with washing or lotion.

  50. Nancy from PA

    Looks delish! Love butternut squash and can’t get enough of it this time of year. Even the color says “fall.” I wonder if putting a splatter shield over your seeds while toasting would keep them in place?

  51. Hey Bayles Farm

    Loyal follower, first time comment! I’ve just return from a theater/dinning extravaganza in NYC with my 12 year old daughter. Based on your suggestions (and on our way to Momofuku) we found the pickle guys, murray’s cheese, and stumbled upon the candy emporium. But this post, sans the goat cheese, made me think of our first night out at Candle 79, which I am sure you know about. Given I am from Oregon, you’d think I’d eaten lots of good vegan food. NO! But this place was amazing-I had a grilled kale salad with spelt berries that was just luscious. They cram an amazing number of ingredients into each dish and how they make “cream” sauces without dairy is a mystery to me. It was all fabulous. I left a “thank you” to my uncles of treats and a jumble puzzle I made in which “smitten” was one of the answers. Thank you for what you do.

  52. Wow, that is a beautiful salad. And exactly something my husband and I could eat for days. We have been buying butternut squashes by the freakin’ truck-load. I can’t seem to get enough! Great adaptation from the original recipe too. Thanks, girl!

  53. Turner

    I am definitely going to try this, swapping feta for the goat cheese. I also like the suggestion to serve it on a bed of spinach. Mmmmm!

  54. Mmmm sounds absolutely delicious! I love the combination of all these flavors and anything with goat cheese is good in my book. Can’t wait to try this one out, thanks for sharing!

  55. Alethia

    I have been making this recipe for a while and absolutely LOVE it!! I always use whatever greens look best – but have to admit that argula is especially delicious. I’ve never made it with pumpkin (seems to hard), and I agree the butternut squash turns out beautifully. Great addition with the seeds, I’ll be sure to try that next time!

  56. Kelly

    Cook the lentils for 30 min after soaking for 10? Really?? In my experience, lentils turn to mush by that point — even the firmer black lentils/lentilles de puy, which need only 20 minutes, without soaking.

  57. I knew it was meant to be when I selected this recipe yesterday afternoon from Epicurious for dinner – then stopped by your site and saw the new post! I will admit, I thought for a second or two that I might be going crazy. Made this last night using two small sweet dumpling squash plus three small sweet potatoes. Instead of the arugula, we had sauteed mizuna on the side. Very tasty, and the smoked paprika makes the dish!

  58. Mickey

    Wow, that is exactly what I am going to make tonight–orange and black food to spur my San Francisco Giants to another World Series win! Thanks!

  59. Monique

    LOVE IT! Thanks for this Deb. BTW, have you tried roasting the butternut with the skins on? They go soft and gooey and I think add to the flavour.

  60. June123

    I just saw an old post showing your pot rack. Someone asked where you got the rack, I want to ask what the brand of your pots are.

    I am ready to click the button for All Clad….any one here with and opinion that is willing to express it is appreciated

  61. Lea

    Where has this recipe BEEN?!?! I am completely obsessed with Orangette’s warm lentil and farro salad with caramelized onions and feta. I thought it was my favorite thing of all time, but I realize now that my love for lentils and caramelized onions is rivaled only by butternut squash, goat cheese, and hot smoky paprika. THANK YOU for introducing me to my new obsession.

  62. I bought a butternut squash to carve instead of a pumpkin, but this recipe sounded very tasty so used my squash to cook this for my tea instead, and it was delicious, a good choice! I’d roasted squash lots of time before but never with cumin and paprika, very nice indeed.

    And only today did I learn that arugula is rocket (I’m in the UK), oh the joy of google! No need to go to the fancy exotic food shop, I have some growing in my garden :)

  63. Butternut squash are easier to peel if you microwave them for a few minutes first. Just poke it with a fork in a few places and then microwave for 2-3 min. The peel softens.

    Arugula is still in season in my garden here in NH since it’s pretty hardy and I’ve protected it with a cold frame. I think I’ll be making this salad for dinner tonight. Thanks!

  64. Bobbie

    Ok, so I’m weird, but I didn’t want to have to deal with the big warty pink winter squash I bought at the Farmer’s Market, and decided to use the golden and cylindrical beets instead. All else will remain the same, although I might use chopped toasted hazelnuts (oh so Oregonian, where I live) instead of the toasted seeds.

  65. I’ve got a bowl of this next to me as I write this. I roasted the squash and cooked the lentils (which did become a little mushy–I will watch them closer next time), then popped them in the fridge, went to the gym, and when I came back, all I had to do is throw the vinegar in, julienne some mint and toss! It’s a bit mushy, but the flavors are delicious. The mint really adds to it. I do wish everything was a teeny bit crisper, but I guess I’ll have to do some experimenting. Also I bought sweet smoked paprika (which is still amazing–first time I used it), so I threw in crushed red pepper flakes for some heat. I got lucky, ’cause it’s just a little bit tongue tingling! Bravo, Deb! Thanks for my delicious dinner :)

  66. Maria

    I had planned on making the warm butternut squash & chickpea salad but decided to try this instead. I didn’t have lentils, so I just used the canned chickpeas, and I used feta because its what was in the fridge. When I snuck a piece of squash out of the oven I was a little concerned it would be bland, but apparently wonderful happens when you mix it all together with the red wine vinegar, beans and cheese! Once again, thank you so much for sharing!

  67. jay

    Deb, when I first saw this I thought it was from last year’s Gourmet (sigh) cookbook by Ruth Reichl. There is a recipe in there that looks the same, and was delicious, but doesn’t have the cumin/smaoked paprika angle. I was excited to see how you had changed that one, but this is good too, since it’s kind of a winter version of that carrot salad with harissa that I could not stop making, once I found harissa. I may use that here since I can’t seem to find smaoked paprika.

  68. Diana

    Made this last night–I think my cheese must have been saltier than yours, because for me, it turned out wayyyy too salty. Otherwise, definitely delicious. Will have to cut back on the salt with the roasted squash.

    Also, I used a carnival squash instead of butternut which worked great! (Except for the salt…!)

  69. Elisabeth

    I made this last night and it was a huge hit with my meat-loving husband, who couldnt help but enjoy two big servings!! It was very inexpensive, easy, and quick to pull together – an A+ meal that I know we’ll enjoy again and again. Oh, and we thought the toasted seeds were a must! Thanks a million, Deb!

  70. susan

    I was sure you had a spaghetti squash recipe. but no couldnt find. I had some recently in New Orleans and I THINK it was browned butter and garlic. First time I had eaten it that it was good. Any suggestions? Sage leaves with brown butter??

  71. I made this last night, and it was so awesome! I’m planning on making it again for a Thanksgiving party I’m going to in a few weeks. I used the arugula and it was a great touch! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  72. 3 of my favorite categories – roasted veggies, gourds, and lentils! What about mustard greens instead of arugula? You could add it to the salad while everything’s warm so it wilts a bit.

  73. Brilliant… a salad for Halloween. I’m making this on Sunday and taking it to my friends – together (me and the salad), we will stave off the evils of candy binges!

  74. M

    Now I know what to get at the farmers’ market this weekend! It also looks like a promising candidate for my vegetarian contribution to Thanksgiving dinner.

  75. Olga

    Thank you for posting this — it’s like you’ve read my mind (or seen the contents of my pantry:) . I am up to my ears in winter squash (the CSA box has had a few of them every week for the past month or so), so I’ve been looking through your recipe archives to figure out ways to use them up. Tonight, I am making the squash and caramelized onion galette, but this salad is next on the list.

  76. Julie

    Exactly what I wanted for dinner tonight. I didn’t have goat cheese or black/green lentil so I used feta and brown lentils and swapped sherry vinegar for the red wine, but it was absolutely delicious on arugula with a side of braised leeks and some good bread. Thank for posting!

  77. Just made this for dinner. Delightful! Sadly, I only had sweet paprika and no smokey spices at all, but it was still delicious. Also, I used cilantro in place of mint because (a) I had it, and (b) I’m one of those lucky people who love cilantro. Served it over Dumbo CSA red oak leaf lettuce with some leftover sweet potato & goat cheese patties. Thanks for another winner!!

  78. That salad looks really good and I think I’ll be trying it soon. I’m not a fan of goat cheese, so I think I’ll try it with feta or blue cheese. Looks great!

  79. Mine

    You make everything look gorgeous, I would like to know which camera you use to take theese wonderful pictures and do you use any kind of editing program?


  80. I’m all about goat cheese these days! This looks healthy and festive, a great antidote to all the chocolatey, caramely, peanut buttery treats that are abound this weekend. Thanks for the fantastic recipes!

  81. I cannot wait to make this! I’ve made my own version of this many times and made somewhat of a lime/garlic dressing, never with the addition of lentils though, what a well rounded meal! I might have to share this one with others!

  82. This looks really interesting, healthy, and delicious, in addition to being black and orange which is really the key for Halloween! I just wanted to comment so you were aware the I’m tempted to make nearly every thing you post about and have referenced your blog a few times lately on mine, hopefully this is okay! I really enjoy your creative cooking and beautiful photos and you have been an inspiration!

  83. Lynne Muskoff

    Lynne October 31st.

    I just made an Acorn and Butternut Squash soup and have an easy method for peeling the squash which I’ve used for years. I put the squash as they come from the market in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or so depending on the size. Let them cool, cut them in sections and then peel the skin with a thin knife. Easy and less perilous!

  84. I just had very wonderful “Petite French Green Lentils” – I had delivered to my home from Bobs Red Mill – and it was worth the shipment. The lentils smell so wonderful while they cook, and taste magnificent. They are also the prettiest lentils I have ever seen in my life. And I’ve eaten my share of little beans and what have you.

  85. Kristin

    Made this last night with feta and parsley, because when I sent the bf out for mint, he came home with dill. Which is adorable, but I didn’t think the dill would go with the rest… anyway, it was fantastic. I’m going to go finish it off right now, in fact.

    At which point, I will negate all its’ healthfulness by beginning the buckeye-making process. Mmmm!!!

    Thanks Deb!

  86. This looks awesome. This would be a good dinner for a “meatless Monday.” (Or, I could put a chicken breast on it and call it “dinner” any night of the week!!) Thanks for posting this.

  87. We love butternut squash also. I always buy a bunch of it to last the winter at the end of the Farmer’s Mkt. I cut my butternut squash as follows:
    Slice in half vertically. Lay squash cut side down on cutting board. Slice horizontally one inch into half circles. Lay down on half circle side and cut the peel off in sections. Then, cut the peeled squash into cubes.
    This is a little slow going but it: 1) keeps you from getting cut and the squash moving around on your cutting board. and 2.) To me, starting with raw cubed squash and roasting it is so much tastier than roasting it whole and then cubing it. Just thought I would share my method in case someone may want to try it.

  88. Annie

    This was delicious! I got some Penzey’s smoked Spanish paprika for my birthday, and this was a great dish to debut it on. Now I’m going to have to split my butternut squash time between this and your squash salad with chickpeas and tahini dressing…sigh…

  89. heatherc

    Just made this for dinner. Wonderful! I used black beans instead of lentils. My cheese was a bit too soft, and didn’t crumble well (which may for a slightly more mushy dish that I would have liked – I’ll use a firmer goat cheese or feta next time) but the taste was outstanding. Interesting, complex and simple at the same time!

  90. Laura

    I saw this the other day and knew it would be dinner very soon. Made it for dinner tonight. It was very tasty! I traded the mint for some cilantro because I had it on hand, and added some diced red onion. I loved the vinegar against the sweet squash. You were right; very filling indeed!

  91. Alexa

    Wow!!! Having a week off work and just happened to have most these ingredients in. I didn’t have any Goats Cheese but did have Lancashire Cheese, which is sort of like Feta. Otherwise followed the recipe to the letter including the toasted seeds and wow….fantastic! Loved it and will definitely be making again.

  92. Made this last night and it was fantastic. I skipped the arugula as well, opting instead to pile the squash-lentil mixture atop some salad greens.

    By the way, I toasted my seeds fresh out of the squash and did not hear a single pop– you must have had especially ebullient ones. :)

  93. Kate

    I made it last night, and can’t wait for breakfast. The store was out of mint so I used thyme, and I added chopped shallots as well as sauteed mushrooms (I LOVE butternut squash with mushrooms. Can’t get enough). It was so lovely. I ate twice as much as I should have.

  94. Jill

    Loved this recipe so much, I made it two nights in a row! The first night was with 1/2 of an Acorn Squash (already cooked, left over from a previous recipe) and the second night was with a very large sweet potato. Didn’t have any arugula, but threw in a handful of spinach and added in two leaves of finely chopped sage with the mint for one of the nights just to see how the sage altered the taste. Couldn’t have been happier with this recipe!

  95. This was dinner tonight, Deb, and my husband Eli and I loved it. We did use the arugula and, dainty green that it is, I was worried that it would get weird and shrivel-y against the warm squash and lentils. But it was great! I left out the mint and goat cheese since we didn’t have any on hand. Eli took one bite, and said, without irony, “Oooo, so wholesome. So hearty. So fresh.” He doesn’t usually talk like that, so I was a little freaked out, but then I dug in myself and realized that the man had a point. Thanks for a great recipe. I’ll be making it again, soon.

  96. Janelle

    Am loving this. I brought it for lunch (added baby spinach to the arugula as well) and now my coworkers are salivating for the recipe. Delicious! Thank you!

  97. Hayley

    i just made this, and it’s really good even w/o greens! i’m usually a bit afraid of using the full amount of cumin as indicated in recipes because the scent is a little overpowering for me, but it worked great in this one. i swapped half the smoked paprika with cayenne, and the added zing is great too – maybe because i like spicy foods in general :) next time i’ll add some spinach or arugula to turn this into a lovely salad.

  98. Sara

    I made this last night and it was delicious. I made a couple of modifications. I didn’t have black lentils around so instead I used organic canned black beans. I also roasted one chopped onion with the squash. Lastly, I added some chipotle pepper to make up for my non-Spanish paprika. Lastly, instead of the squash seeds I added some chopped and just roasted almonds. I also didn’t add the arugula, mainly because I didn’t have it around. We ate this warm so the goat cheese melted a little. This made it not as pretty as your version but it sure was tasty. Thanks for the great recipe!

  99. Nicole

    For the record, I love it when you post savory recipes! I rarely eat meat, and you have wonderful veggie ideas!

    I just bought all of this from the Union Square Farmer’s market and will make it for dinner tonight! Spicy, savory *and* sweet – YUM!

  100. annamarie

    i made this last night for my husband with the arugula, sans the seeds and mint. he immediately proclaimed that it was one of his new favorite dishes! i also love that it was an all veggie meal :) thanks so much!

  101. carly

    Made this last night and loved it. Used french green lentils, and I guess my squash was on the small side since since it seemed to be a high lentil ratio, but still perfect. The roasted seeds made it– I tossed them in the same bowl I had tossed the squash so they picked up a little bit of the paprika/oil mixture that remained and the crunch they added to the salad was the best part. This is surely going to be a winter regular in our apartment.

  102. Angela

    Made this and liked it a lot! I think feta could definitely be swapped. My butternut seeds didn’t roast up all that well – a little on the chewy side. Did not add the mint.

  103. kookie in London

    Hi thanks for posting this. Am trying for a healthy eating kick and this worked a treat – tho HOW ADDICTIVE IS THAT SQUASH?! wish I’d roasted more, I just used up one I had in the fridge. Added some basil as I didn’t have mint. Good with my lemon baked chicken.

  104. Just made this for dinner using Puy lentils since I couldn’t find black here in the UK. I’m a bit cumin-averse, so only used 1/4 tsp plus 1/2 tsp ground coriander, but I might try more cumin next time since this amount wasn’t bad. I also swapped the mint for cilantro (and left out the arugula) because that’s what I had, and I thought it would go well with the coriander, seeing as how it’s the same plant and all. It was wonderful, but I am curious to try it with the mint next time. Oh, and I agree that the toasted seeds (I used pumpkin seeds since I already had some from Halloween) made the dish – they added a perfect little crunch.

  105. sk

    i’m a grad student and a procrasti-cooker, so instead of doing a ton of reading/writing i made this. what a great recipe! i roasted some slightly sad looking peppers with the squash – fantastic! i also used regular paprika but added crushed chili flakes for heat. thanks for helping me put off my work for another day :)

  106. Erica

    Fantastic base recipe… I can’t comment on the original recipe because I changed it based on what I had in my pantry. I used an acorn squash that needed eating – cooked it in half-moons a la your acorn squash quesadillas. I also used green lentils because that’s what I had. Used toasted pine nuts instead of squash seeds. And I used a sweet balsamic vinaigrette that I had left over from another salad. I included the arugula because I LOVE arugula and had some that needed eating, and I would definitely include it, the slight spice and crunch make a nice contrast to all the soft squash and lentils. This was an AWESOME combination, one that I would never have thought of. Thanks for sharing :-)

  107. Lily

    This is a surprisingly college student-friendly recipe; a few friends and I, who go to school in Maine and cook dinner together regularly, miraculously happened to have all the ingredients in our kitchen one night and made it. Especially serendipitous, considering the fact that we often have two dietary limits to accommodate: vegetarianism and a cow dairy allergy. Of all our communal culinary experiments, this one was far and away the most successful so far. Thanks so much!

  108. Emma

    I have made this twice so far, for our two-adult, one three-year-old household. Big hit both times. Made once without arugula, once with a mix of yummy local arugula and spinach. Good both ways, might wilt the greens next time. Used sweet smoked paprika as that was what I had. Once with roasted pumpkin seeds from jack-o-lanterns, once with toasted (shelled) pepitas. I prefer the texture of the shelled seeds, and they are a lot less work. Reserving half the goat cheese to pass seemed unnecessary. Maybe just a little bit to put on top to serve, but this is a pretty salad with everything mixed in. Mint was a nice flavor. First time, made called-for quantity (without arugula), not quite enough for the three of us as a one-dish meal. Second time, with a three-pound squash, greens, and a bit over a cup of lentils, we had some leftovers (yay!). Thanks so much for the recipe, this will be a regular in our supper rotation.

  109. Paula

    This was fantastic. I made it to take to work for lunch all week, and on Friday I was sad that I had only half a bowl’s worth – a reversal from my usual view of leftovers by Friday. Made it with all the SK variations (omitting arugula, mixing sweet and smoked paprika) and won’t change a thing when I make it again. Tried a new goat cheese called Le Bonne Vie that I thought was very nice – not as dry as many chevres. (Despite the brand name and the appearance of the Eiffel Tower on the label, it’s a U.S. product.)

  110. als

    I made this tonight with the arugula. I didn’t have any mint, but I was a little iffy about adding it anyway so I didn’t bother. I can’t seem to find the right paprika anywhere, just regular old “paprika” so I used 1/2 tsp of that, 1/4 tsp chili powder and 1/4 cayenne pepper. The squash was divine.

    On the other hand, as much as I love goat cheese I only ended up using 3 ounces, and it was very prominent throughout the salad. I can’t imagine where the rest of it would have gone.

    What would one pair this with to keep it light? My husband loved it, but always complains that squash dishes are too heavy. I thought it was more than enough food for the two of us, but I am pretty sure one bowl meals don’t count as a real dinner in his mind.

  111. Finally had a chance to make this perfect little Autumn salad. No problem finding Spanish smoky paprika, or pimenton…that was easy ;)
    I love the spiced, warm, crisp squash, the bright crisp leaves of arugula and the creamy goats cheese, or queso de cabra as it’s called here.

    Thank you from my kitchen in Spain to your in NYC. Happy Autumn!

    gastronomy and everyday life in Spain

  112. Hi Deb,

    I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and have enjoyed a good number of your recipes (shakshuka has become a staple in my fridge). FINALLY had to leave a comment–this salad is delicious. Thanks so much for posting, it was the perfect use for the sad-looking acorn squash on my windowsill. And, as SK said up there, exactly what I needed to put off my thesis for another few hours!

  113. Karla

    I have a butternut squash overload thanks to the last of our CSA deliveries this fall. I am excited to have a new idea for using it all up, and cannot wait to try this recipe out on friends who are coming over this week.

  114. Lisette

    I made it with sweet potatoes and feta the first time, because I had them in the house. It was amazing! I made it this week with the squash and think the sweet potatoes hold up better–they get crispier, I think, and not as mushy. But it’s a delicious recipe either way. Thanks!

  115. Turner

    Made this last night using a Cinderella pumpkin that I roasted whole in the oven. Afterwards I cut the insides into cubes and roasted them as instructed (for less time though, since they were pretty much cooked by then) on a cookie sheet in an effort to get some browning. I subbed feta cheese for the goat and skipped both the arugula (didn’t have any – would probably use it next time) and the pumpkin seeds on top. I used regular paprika b/c we don’t like things too spicy. I stirred some sauteed onions and garlic into the lentils because I was worried they would be too bland without the extra seasoning. Also, for presentation instead of mixing the lentils into the pumpkin I put the pumpkin mixture on top of a bed of lentils. It was delicious! I think it’s the vinegar that pulls everything together. Will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  116. Deidre

    I made this last night with the arugula. Although I found that the recipe was a bit long to make (especially on a weeknight), the end result was more than worth it. I am digging into the lovely leftovers for lunch right now!

  117. AMN

    I hesitated to make this – wasn’t sure I would like it… Goat cheese? Lentils and squash? LOVED it. We used spinach and I missed a few of the spices – but it was hands down awesome and I am already plotting to make again.

  118. Kim

    WOW! Had this for dinner last night. slightly warm, without the mint since freezing temps here have already eliminated it for the season. I was so anxious to try it, I totally forgot the vinegar. It was yummy anyway. Also eliminated the final tablespoon of oil deliberately, which perhaps lessened the need for the vinegar. Leftovers for lunch today served cold over tatsoi greens. Equally yummy! This is definitely a winner.

  119. Tom

    I just made this last night and subbed ricotta salata for the goat cheese and champagne vinegar for the red wine. Delicious! Thanks again, Deb, for the great recipes.

  120. KP

    Loved this- the goat cheese really tied all the flavors together!
    My husband doesn’t really like lentils. Do you know of any other grains/legumes that would be a good substitute in most recipes?
    PS- your food looks so much more delicious than mine!

  121. I just made this last night and it’s fantastic!! Mine was very ugly, yet soooo tasty. I HIGHLY recommend adding in the roasted seeds. The little crunchy pieces really help tie the dish together. Great post, as usual! Thanks!!!!

  122. Liene

    Thank you for all the amazing recipes! This salad was a huge hit at dinner last Friday. I served it room temp with a soup. General consensus was BEST.SALAD.EVER!


  123. Brandi

    I can’t get the hang of french lentils. Either they’re crunchy or they’re mushy. I’ve sourced them from a couple of different places to make sure I wasn’t just buying old lentils. When I ate them at a restaurant one time, they tasted underdone to me, so maybe I just don’t get it? Like maybe they’re supposed to taste kind of underdone? I really want mine to look like yours!

  124. Jen

    Just made it this morning. Quite tasty, even if I did sub a number of things. Only had acorn squash on hand; no smoked paprika, so used half sweet paprika and half chipotle chilies in adobo; no goat cheese, so used feta (no add’l salt needed there!). Thanks for the recipe!

  125. Kim

    You should have warned us to make extra squash! There was so much snacking from the roasted squash that we barely had enough for the salad. Fantastic recipe.

  126. Kayla

    Just made this and it was awesome! Made with the arugula (rocket) and think it was probably better for it. I roasted my butternut in a casserole dish, let it cool, then mixed everything in the same casserole dish so I could pick up all the oil (I noted in your post you didn’t get to scrape enough out). This way, I didn’t need any extra oil after which was a bonus. Also, less dishes to clean. I also used bought toasted pumpkin seeds as my butternut didn’t have hardly any.

    Super delicious and easy. I will so be making this one again.

  127. Sophie

    This sounds yummy! I wanted to let you know, though, that arugula really is still in season. I live in western PA, where temperatures have been down to 20 degrees a number of times already, and the arugula in my garden is looking more gorgeous than it looked all summer!

  128. rache

    I made this twice — Delicious! I used the arugula. I added roasted beets and sunflower seeds on the second time around (I happened to have them on hand…I think they worked out well.) Great recipe thank you!

  129. Kate

    We made this tonight, it was delicious! Surprisingly, we could not get our son to eat the butternut squash, but he ate up every other part of it. Thanks for the recipe, it’s a new favorite.

  130. Laurie

    Finally made this on Sunday and it was delicious. Even my three year-old ate most of his serving before demanding peanut butter and jelly.

  131. Wendy

    This is a silly question – but how do you flip? I get frustrated (especially with baked sweet potato fries recipes) that say to flip. It’s slow going flipping each and every individual one with a fork. I’m just wondering if you really do that or just use a spatula and don’t worry if some don’t get flipped.

    1. deb

      Wendy — Actually, a great question. Here’s the deal, if you want peeeerrrfectly pretty, photo-ready equally caramelized sides on, say, a cubed vegetable, you’ll be flipping each cube five times. Thank goodness none of us are food stylists, but in an earlier version of this recipe, I really wanted the sweet potatoes to BE marshmallow-shaped and cut them into large cubes. It was ridiculous. So, with big fat “steaks” like this, you flip each piece once and it won’t take long at all. The photographed version used a 1 pound sweet potato that was longer than average and there were only 10 pieces to flip (one’s a wayward end).

      Jillian — Does he like smooth horseradish? Lemon juice? Or you can just skip it.

      Donna — I am suggesting that you only oil the pan. Both sides get a little oil on them but the vegetable (any vegetable with this technique) doesn’t get sogged or slick with oil. This isn’t just to save calories; I really don’t like heavy oily vegetables. Here, you add a little olive oil back with the vinaigrette so you especially won’t miss it.

      Nicole — I suggested radishes as an alternative to the celery in the headnotes. I’d skip the nuts if you don’t like nuts. Or, if you like roasted chestnuts, chop a few in there instead.

  132. Ula

    OK, so I have been sick and not eaten a warm meal in days. I also have not been shopping. I only have squash and green lentils at home, and all the spices. I am going to improvise. I will use sunflower seeds instead of squash seeds. No greens. Perhaps some cubed brie for me, no cheese for my vegan husband anyway. Will have it with edamame pate sandwiches.
    Keep your fingers crossed! “God bless the girl – she needs all the help she can get”.

  133. Morag

    I made this last week including the arugula,but subbed in chopped almonds for the pumpkin seeds because all I could get locally was crown pumpkin, and the seeds were huge tough things that I didn’t really fancy trying to eat. I also used brown lentils in place of black, and goat feta. The end result tasted wonderful, but I don’t think I rinsed (or drained) the lentils thouroughly enough, because when I mixed it all together the whole thing went brown and slightly damp, and looked *really* unappealing – nothing like the beautiful photos! Any tips out there for amateur lentil washers? I drained them in the pot because the holes on our colander are too big – next time I might use a sieve!

  134. Diane

    This was fantastic!! I used the arugula and this salad kept for over a week, and didn’t look wilted or anything. I used green french lentils and they were really pretty in this salad. Seriously yummy and good for you too.

  135. Erin S.

    I made this earlier today and absolutely love it! Everything was made according to the directions (seeds and all-woo!) with the exception of using fresh spinach instead of the arugula. It was still delicious… definitely plan to add it to the regular rotation! You post the best recipes, Deb. Thanks for all the kitchen inspiration!

  136. suz

    I have made this spicy squash salad three times (in the last week!) and needless to say, it’s fantastic! I don’t know if my spanish paprika is just particularly hot or what, but after the first time I started using 1/2 “sweet” Spanish Paprika and 1/2 “hot” Spanish Paprika. I really like hot, but man, that stuff was like an incinerator in my mouth the first time!

    Also, for me, the mint totally made the salad.
    This is definitely staying on my rotation for a while! Thanks Deb!

  137. Just made this with farro instead of lentil, for no other reason than having it around, and added a bunch of leftover cherry tomatoes, chopped small. Delicious, thanks for the inspiration.

  138. Tiffany

    I made this salad tonight! and Oh so delicious!! I did end up roasting the seeds and once I heard one pop put some tinfoil over the pan to keep them from going all over the oven (a success). I also used the same bowl I coated the squash with oil and spices in to coat the seeds with oil, as a result they had some of the spices that the squash did on them as well (i think this made them especially delicious and I would highly recommend doing this!).

    Thanks for another great recipe Deb!

  139. jenniegirl

    This was so good-and we overcame so many fears in one night…like that I USED to think I didn’t like lentils (I think I just had some that were really undercooked when I first tried them) and the fear of serving dinner with no meat. This was filling and wonderful. My husband works at a food co-op and brought home some spicy bulk pepitos which were awesome-adding spiciness and crunch.

  140. I made this yummy salad for dinner with a pork loin and it was delicious. I used green lentils instead of black (I found the green first). The flavors of the squash, goat cheese and lentils together is incredible. My house smelled so good while the salad was in the oven. This recipe was actually pretty simple (I cheated an bought already sliced butternut squash and I just had to cube it).. Thanks for the great recipe!

  141. Erin

    This was delicious!!! I changed it up a little bit. I used apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. We have some picky people in our family, so I cut back on the spice quite a bit, but added a bit of cinnamon and fresh nutmeg to the butternut squash. I took out the lentils and seeds, but added some toasted pine nuts! Okay, so I guess it is a very different dish, but we loved it! I got a lot of compliments! Thanks Deb!

  142. Joy in DC

    I made this last evening, substituting acorn squash for butternut (it is what I had) and feta cheese for goat (again, I already had some in the fridge…). While I’m sure I’d love the creaminess of the goat cheese, I think feta works well enough with the cumin and smoked paprika. Since I made this last evening for lunch today, I added the arugula right before I began eating it, as I slightly feared the arugula would get soggy overnight. The contrast of the peppery arugula and sweet squash is a lovely flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  143. Meg

    I was trying to figure out a salad type recipe for butternut squash and this is it! I had some cranberry goat cheese in the fridge and what a great combination it turned out to be! Perfect fall/winter dish.

  144. Dave J.

    This is a great salad. I sprinkled some smokey paprika over the butternut squash when they first came out of the oven, but otherwise stuck to this recipe fairly closely. In my view the mint is what really brings this thing together, so I’d say it’s a must have to really get everything out of this dish. If you’ve got a ton of this and have enough for leftovers, I’d set that portion aside before you add the arugula, and then add the arugula the next night or whenever you have it. Having the fresh leaves in the salad really helps the flavor. Thanks, Deb!

  145. Jannell

    Last time I made this, it was divine. Even better than I expected, what with the sweet and spicy and tart-cheesy flavors. YUM!

    I want to make it again (for my family when they visit this Christmas), but this time I think I’d like to do it as a side/appetizer . Does anyone have any suggestions about what main dish might complement this well? Maybe something soup or stew-ish? Does not have to be vegetarian.


  146. LJ

    Hey! This is an absolutely goregous meal, lovely combination of flavours.

    I’ve been reading your blog since a few months (I’ve also read most of your older posts, as well as the archive collection from 2003 – they’re absoultely hilarious, and being in my 20s, I can sympathise with those early posts even if you’ve grown out of that phase now!). I published my first post today and am so impatient to know that people are reading it, that I almost cry my thanks when someone leaves a comment ’cause it means that they’ve read it. Then I started to think ‘maybe they’re reading, but not commenting’, as I have been doing to your posts. So although you’ve loads of comments, I just wanted to let you know that your writing is much apprechiated…fabulous entertainment, brilliant recipes, and adorable son. Thanks for it all!

  147. João

    Haven’t tried it yet, but will do tomorrow.

    While reading through the different substitutions, it seemed like there are some “core” parts that need to be there, but within each group some variation is admitted. Say, leafy/pepery greens (arucula, spinach, watercress), rich “comfort” vegetables (squash, pumpkin, sweet potato), pulses (lentils, beans, chickpeas), white cheese (goat, feta), acidic juice (vinagre, lime, lemon), pungent/fresh herbs (mint, cilantro), and smoky flavour (paprika, chipotle).

    Well, I just made these up… the point is that surely not every possible combination wil work equally well. Or will they? What are the more specific flavours that function perfectly?

  148. João

    Finally tried it. Great salad!
    Didn’t have any smoked spices, and went with a mixture of mild paprika, cayenne pepper, and extra cumin.
    I thought the arugula was somewhat “distracting”, both in flavour and texture, so I think I’ll try without it next time.
    And I felt everything needs to cool completely before combining…I didn’t wait, so the cheese melted, which together with slightly overcooked squash and lentils, made it all a bit messy.
    Still very tasty and filling nonetheless.

  149. Karlini

    Wanted to try this for months. But, now that I finally had the time, there was no squash to buy. So, I made it with carrots instead, and still used the cumin/paprika seasoning. Tasted good!

  150. Made this recipe last night and loved it. My squash never quite got crisp enough and I let my lentils go a little too long. I also didn’t let it cool which I probably should have done before I tossed it all together. Turned out with a very mushy dish, but it was a very DELICIOUS mushy dish. I made a double batch to have some for lunches this week. Tasted great, but doubt I’ll make it again due to the mush factor. Thanks for the healthy dish.

  151. Akitar

    @Johanna – The first time I made this, I had a similar experience, i.e. delicious mush. I would say definitely try it again, but let things cool a bit. It will not be mushy at all and you can still enjoy this great salad!

  152. Anne

    This is fantastic! I didn’t have enough lentils, so substituted some red quinoa for half the lentils. The flavors are perfection! Thanks so for posting this.

  153. Jordan

    To accommodate the summer season, I used what I had in my kitchen to make a great rendition…yellow summer squash, pepitas (for the roasted seeds), Boursin cheese, and balsamic vinegar. I included the arugula, but not the mint. Tastes great!

  154. Roz

    I’ve made this so many times with some many variations. I’ve made it with pumpkin, butternut squash and sweet potatoes — the sweet potatoes are my favorite base. I’ve swapped the lentils out for black beans. I’ve also swapped the mint for cilantro, and sometimes added some raw shallots or sweet onion. Instead of feta cheese, I’ve used crumbled cotija. Always delicious!

  155. Amy

    I’ve made this twice now and it is as of now my absolute favorite way to eat butternut squash. I love the middle eastern spice flavors, with the creaminess of the goat cheese and chew of lentils… mmm! I did not however, enjoy the mint so much–but I’m interested to see how parsley would taste with it. Anyway, I blogged about it here if you’re interested:
    Thanks for the recipe, as always!

  156. Laura

    My husband made this for lunch today, and it was fabulous! Like you, we didn’t use the arugula, which I really don’t think is necessary. The other change we made was added cilantro and scallions in place of the mint, since we didn’t have any mint on hand. The cilantro played well with the cumin and paprika and the scallions added just a hint of sharpness that I found really appealing.

    All in all, this is a great salad that combines a lot of great flavors. I especially love the way the spicy paprika plays with the sweetness of the butternut squash. It’s a wonderful, interesting fall dish.

  157. Erin

    Hi Deb! I was just wondering if you think sweet potatoes would work here instead of squash? I am in love with butternut squash but have a craving for savory sweet potatoes that nothing else will satisfy. You know how that goes. Also, every time I make lentils they are either undercooked, or mushy-yet-cement-y. Any tips on making sure they come out ok? (PS thanks for your tip on making your Onion Soup for a group. It totally worked!)

    1. deb

      Erin — Fresher lentils might help, but lentils can be tricky in general. I try to buy them (and all grains and beans) only in vacuum sealed or factory sealed bags. A lot of grocery stores (at least here in NYC but I’m sure also elsewhere) like to buy things like lentils in bulk and then sell them off in plastic pint containers that they with tape and those are always the ones I have the least enjoyable outcomes with because they’re not airtight until you open them. Re, sweet potatoes for squash: go for it!

  158. Alyssa

    I made this for a potluck at work, which was great because I could cook the lentils and squash the night before, refrigerate overnight, let it come to room temp the next day at work, then add the olive oil, vinegar, squash seeds, goat cheese, and mint before serving! Worked great!

  159. Amy Gray

    I tried this and it was ok; the goat cheese made it extra special, but without it, I felt it was just ‘ho-hum’. I am in love with your recipe for the butternut squash and chickpea salad!! Maybe that ruined me for this squash recipe? Hmmmmm….

  160. Maura

    I made this last night, minus the mint since I didn’t have it on hand, and it’s yet another excellent Smitten Kitchen recipe. It takes minutes to pull together…once you get the butternut squash peeled and cubed (I guess it would make for an even easier meal if you used sweat potatoes instead).I love anything involving lentils and butternut squash, so I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing, thanks Deb!

  161. I made two of your recipes at once — this one and your roasted cumin cauliflower recipe — and wound up throwing the cauliflower in with the squash and lentils. I skipped the goat cheese, mint and arugula. Delish! My only frustration is that my green lentils fell apart, but not terribly. I have to keep an eye open for black lentils. Do they hold together better?

  162. Anna

    I made this last night and LOVED it (knew I would). I’d like to serve it as a starter to a veggie dinner. What would make a good main to follow? And maybe an idea for an “amuse bouche” to begin??
    ADORE your recipes. Thanks so much.

  163. Laurel

    This is a really great blend of flavors. Made this for an impromptu dinner for a bunch of carnivores, so naturally I added bacon. It really enhanced the smokiness of the paprika and I would highly recommend it.

  164. Alice

    I made this last night for dinner (included the arugula) and we really enjoyed it. The house smelled wonderful from the roasted squash and the lentils and then the vinegar and toasted seeds really just finished it off perfectly. Thank you for sharing this!

  165. Naomi

    I’m going to try this tonight, but with quinoa instead of lentils. Squash+quinoa recipes are becoming a Passover staple for me!

  166. Jen

    I’ve made this so many times since you posted it, figured I should chime in (was searching lentil recipes; have the tomato lentil stew simmering for tomorrow’s meals.) I finally had it with arugula the last time I made it. Good with and without! I always use crumbled or diced feta, though since I don’t like goat cheese.

    I would also say the mint is not optional!! I love how there are so many different flavours in this dish, and every one of them coming through.

    I’ve never been able to make a peeler work for anything but carrots (which, incidentally, I’ve started to just eat with the peel, so I guess my peeler is good for nothing!) so I peel it with a knife. I am amazed you can get your peeler to bite into such a tough skin as a butternut squash. I cut the squash into thick slices and wedges, and then slice the peel off with the same heavy knife. I also started microwaving the slices/wedges for few minutes before slicing off the peel to make it easier. After the peel has all be sliced off, then I cut it into chunks.

  167. Eliza

    I skipped the arugula, but the lentils were so overcooked… I ended up pureeing the whole thing and turning it into the most amazing velvety smooth soup (with a can of coconut milk and some broth).

  168. L from G

    We just had this salad for our lunch – I StumbledUpon your site, found the recipe, realized I had just about everything in the house, and went ahead. I used the most widely available type of pumpkin/squash here in Germany, known here as “Hokkaido”. If Wikipedia is to be believed, its English name is “red kuri”. The best thing about the Hokkaido is that you don’t have to peel it, the peel softens during cooking/ roasting and can be eaten. Great timesaver! I made the salad with green Puy lentils and mint but without arugula and used ordinary hot paprika since I didn’t have the smoked variety. And I had to use balsamic vinegar because I was out of red wine vinegar. We both loved the salad, I’ll definitely make it again – but I’ll make sure I buy smoked paprika first!

  169. Jen

    This is one of my favourite recipes from this site and making it as many times as I have, I’ve found some time savers.

    You can totally get away with not peeling butternut; the skin is pretty thin and soft once cooked.

    You can cut the roasting time by microwaving pieces first. I typically slice the unseeded upper half crosswise and cut the seeded lower half in wedges before microwaving in batches. After microwaving, it’s easier to cut in chunks, too.

  170. Mollie

    We just had this for dinner (with arugula) and it was amazing, especially the squash. I wasn’t sure what the lentils did for it…. maybe it’s because I used the green (only ones I could find) Is there a difference in flavor between the two?

    p.s- My lentils didn’t need the full time, and could even have used less then then 24 minutes they were in for..

  171. Emma

    I am a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve made this 4 times within the last two weeks…. It’s especially easy if you get the pre cooked lentils and pre-cut butternut squash from trader joes. Makes for an amazing lunch. Awesome, thank you!!!!

  172. mizizzle

    Yum yum yum! Made this tonight because I had all the main ingredients on hand (my favorite way to try new recipes!). Added adobo sauce for smoke and heat since my paprika was a bit dull, added additional vinegar and subbed sage for mint. Can’t wait to to pick up Spanish paprika and try with quinoa and feta.

  173. mizizzle

    Yum yum yum! Made this tonight because I had all the main ingredients on hand (my favorite way to try new recipes!). Added adobo sauce for smoke and heat since my paprika was a bit dull, added additional vinegar and subbed sage for mint. Can’t wait to to pick up Spanish paprika and try with quinoa and feta. Lunch is going to be fabulous tomorrow!

  174. Alexa

    so i made this as a side for thanksgiving/ main dish for vegetarian me and we’re still a few hours away from food time and i can’t stop picking at it. though i forgot to let everything cool and mixed in the cheese, needless to say not as pretty but still SO TASTY!!

  175. I am totally making this tonight, but am gonna add in some kale (torn very small and tossed with the squash as soon as it’s out of the oven), and… bacon. Because: why not?

  176. I know this recipe is ancient history in internet terms, but it just inspired the tastiest lunch. I used sweet potato roasted with some chopped garlic (added when I turned them so it wouldn’t burn) and the spices from this recipe instead of butternut squash (so much easier to prep!) and tossed the hot lentils and sweet potato cubes with torn up baby spinach until it wilted and then added a little fresh oregano and balsamic vinegar and skipped the cheese. It was an awesome meal and the first real one I’ve cooked in my new kitchen, so thanks!

  177. I also just found this and made it the other night for a dinner party. It was wonderful. I followed the less hot paprika as I was serving it with a jerk type grilled pork tenderloin and thought I’d have too much too spicy I can’t wait to make again full tilt. It was so nice, I tossed it with lots of babyish greens (more people coming than anticipated) I love finding recipes that suggest combinations you wouldn’t necessarily come up with yourself …the crunch of the seeds, salty creamy of the cheese, sweet of the squash.
    Yum Thanks

  178. Deb, am I crazy for wanting to double the paprika? I made this as written (though with spinach instead of mint) and I liked it, but didn’t really get much of the paprika flavor. Or is this maybe a sign that my paprika isn’t that good?

  179. deb

    Sorry, not even sure why I asked; brands should only matter if you’re not happy with it. Anyway, you can definitely double it. If it doesn’t taste spicy, it’s “sweet,” not “hot.” You can add a little cayenne to bump up the heat.

  180. Made this for dinner – we kept everything hot and ate it warm…total comfort food, so savory and delicious! Thanks for sharing an awesome recipe. :)

  181. Kathy K

    Thanks so much for another delicious recipe! I tried lentils for the first time a few years ago and now search out new ways to use them. This recipe is one of my favorites and really lends itself to ‘tweaking’.

    As for the seeds ‘popping’ while roasting, I set a cooling rack (the same size as the sheet pan) over them; problem solved!

  182. Amy

    Oh my goodness. I know I’m late to the party, but where has butternut squash been all my life? Just made this. Delicious! I agree with your note to plan on adding a little bonus vinegar at the end. I think in the future I’ll cut the squash a little smaller than 1″, but otherwise I love everything about this recipe. It’s going in my regular winter rotation for sure!

  183. Hannah

    I just made this for dinner and everyone loved it. A couple changes: added toasted, chopped walnuts, thinly sliced red onion marinated in balsamic and a bit of honey and used goat feta instead of chevre because that was what I had on hand. Excellent fall salad and will definitely make again :)

  184. Ryn

    What a delicious recipe! I made this, along with your Cannoli cake, and my own Baked Sicilian Anelletti, and everyone loved it! I also toasted the pumpkin seeds (with a bit of salt, pepper and sugar), I used a stilton-cranberry cheese from Trader Joe’s, and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar, caviar black lentils, and plenty of arugula. Next time I plan to buy pre-cubed squash! The only change made in the cannoli cake was to use orange liquor instead of wine. I can’t wait to make this all again!

  185. c

    I used a baby hubbard squash — it was my first time cooking with one, although I saw an article on epicurious saying hubbard is great in pie. The squash seemed dry (maybe because it’s a hubbard?) I used arugula but didn’t get a chance to buy mint, and I used a non-soak method for the lentils just because it’s the only way I’ve cooked them (first simmer covered, then let stand covered.)

    The spice (I used the substitute blend, but with smoked sweet paprika) was a nice change of pace, but I like the squash toast and farro salad recipes better.

    Another great winter squash recipe:

  186. Novia

    It’s fall and while most of America is ga-ga pumpkin spice this and that, I prefer to gobble up all the other fall squashes. This recipe was delicious!! I love that most of what what you give us can be adapted to what we have in our kitchens. I had acorn squash on hand and ran out of cumin (!) earlier this week so used garam masala (which I think added a lovely complexity). It was a hit with the husband and the 9-month old. Thanks, Deb!

  187. Sandy Baik

    I made this today and it was delicious. Followed recipe to the letter. Deb, I wish you’d publish another book. You are so inspiring and I love your cooking.

  188. Suma Setty

    I just made this and it turned out Great! I subbed rice vinegar for the red wine because it was all I had, then used roasted salted sunflower seeds for the crunch since I was short on time. I also used a homemade chili powder instead of paprika. I used more vinegar since rice vinegar is a bit lighter, and did not salt the lentils since the sunflower seeds and squash had enough combined. I will definitely make again and experiment will the spices to see if I can incorporate a chewy fruity element too.

    1. Mindy

      Great recipe! I was dubious about the mint, but the mint is key! We had to broil the squash for a minute to get it firmed up again, since baking at 400 left it mushy.

  189. meltycrayon

    Made this last night for dinner. It was excellent! Added the arugula and used spicy paprika which I think added a nice bit of spice. Wish there had been extra dressing to mop up with a bit of bread, it was so yummy!

  190. Caity

    I only stumbled upon this recipe because I happened to have some lentils and goat cheese I was needing to use… I figured this recipe would be good, but I wasn’t super excited about it. Now I CAN’T STOP MAKING/EATING IT! Turns out this is a combination of flavors I have been missing my entire life so I’ve used the last week and a half (two batches with NO sharing) to make up for lost time.

    I used green lentils, butternut, no seeds or arugula, and a blend of regular Trader Joe’s paprika + dash of chipotle powder, and otherwise followed the recipe as written. First time I added mint, second time I didn’t (only because I didn’t have any on hand). Both batches were delicious, I was having a hard time stopping myself from shoveling it all in my mouth even prior to the creamy goat cheese.

  191. Karla

    This was perfect! I used yellow lentils ’cause it’s what I had, added the arugula, some cayenne pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Followed the rest of the recipe as written. Everything was ready in about 40 minutes and was so yummy.

  192. Jean

    Tried this tonight (sans arugula, sans mint) and we really like it. However my black lentils were very brown at the end of cooking. Anyone else have this happen? First time I bought black lentils and mine were the same colour at the end as if I’d bought green ones. :-(

  193. Nina Terrell

    This was really tasty! Made this as written with arugula and mint, had to swap feta for the goat cheese because my family is completely missing out on the amazingness of a great goat cheese. It was delicious!!

  194. Sam

    I made this yesterday, and the texture was more suitable to making veggie burgers than a salad. Any idea where I could’ve gone wrong? I’m thinking that it may have been that I overcooked the squash, so it just ended up mashed instead of cubed. Hoping to try again soon.

    PS – Even though it wasn’t suitable as a salad, the flavor was great, so I froze it to use in wraps or make veggie burgers later.

    1. Julie

      Sam, I wonder if it was the lentils. I used green, and I checked them after 13 minutes and they were already almost mush. I guess the black ones just take much longer than the ones I always use.

  195. Squash seeds seem to pop no matter how well one dries them out first. Mine usually hang around the kitchen for several days, if not weeks, before I attempt to roast them.
    So it’s easier and faster to dry-fry them in a wide pan and use a cover to catch them as they begin to pop – which is when I turn off the heat and leave them to pop in peace.

  196. Chris Neal

    …so many favorites from your blog, but this is one of my best “side” dishes…make it constantly. Not to suggest anything less than perfection, by I add a 1/2 cup of whole (pearl) barley – soaked in warm water overnight and then drained) for an extra nuttiness. Love your site!

  197. I just made this for lunch (well sort of, I view recipes more as inspiration than rules ;) )–am serving it warm–with homemade Naan bread. Not sure the kids will be into it, but I think it’s pretty incredible!

  198. Fiona

    This has become a family favorite and instead of paprika we use either sumac or tajin (the tang goes so well) and since my mum is vegan, we swap out the goats cheese for vegan chorizo from TJs which adds another lovely (slightly Smokey and salty) dimension!

  199. Theresa C.

    I know, I KNOW, this is meant for and best with fresh squash. Please take pity on this working mom of three kids under the age of 4 – could this possibly be made with frozen pre-cut squash?

  200. ezachos

    Wow, Deb, you make me look so good, my resident taste testers (OK, kids and husband) loved this. As everyone says, the receep is so flexible—I used a little less cumin and smoked paprika and a bit more lentils, otherwise to the letter. And of course, was delicious. Toasted and salted seeds were a fabulous finishing touch on top! Really, just commenting makes me hungry for it all over again. Thank you!!!

  201. Lowri Jones

    I’ve been asked to serve this as a starter next week for a crowd (because they all love it!) and I’m looking for serving ideas as to how I could make it pretty? Not that it isn’t already beautiful, of course, but a pile of veg on a plate can look a little uninspired! Thanks in advance.

  202. Thea

    So good! Made this last night and added some fresh basil and crispy quinoa for a bit of crunch at the end (cooked the quinoa as directed, then popped in the oven for 15 minutes as the squash finished up).

  203. Caitlin Rojas

    You weren’t joking about those popping seeds! :) This was delicious. I subbed in baby kale because I had no arugala and it was fantastic.

  204. KB Catano

    You can use basil or sage leaves if you’re out of mint with this recipe. I’ve also added pomegranate perils n it’s delicious!

  205. Patty

    Deb, I am making my son’s birthday dinner and want to make something nice for my dear DIL, who is in early pregnancy, feeling a tad under the weather and a vegetarian (which I am too, so no big deal.) Can I make this ahead of time? I want it to be delicious, but I’ve got to make a fabuloso meat entree and a birthday cake, too. Thanks for all the wonderful meals I’ve fed my family over the years!

  206. Anita W

    This was beautiful to look at, easy to make, and so tasty. I used what I had on hand, which was spinach instead of arugula, bocconcini instead of goat cheese — and I sprinkled pomegranate seeds on top. Our family is meat-free and this was a filling and healthy dinner for us.