Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Balsamic Glazed Butternut Squash with Lentils and Kale

Hey folks.  This is a pretty simple dish that still-seems-fancy, covers all of your nutritional bases, and can be quite versatile.  It's comforting and hearty as a mid-winter meal, making use of winter squash and cold weather greens.   It would make a nice centrepiece for a party of 4 to 6, especially if accompanied by fresh (corn)bread and a light soup. It travels well to a potluck and most importantly - it makes great left overs.  I just made this big old batch so that Philippe and I will have something to eat for lunch for the next few days.  If you're single, or don't have the Herculean appetite of my husband, you could cut the amount of lentils in half and scale back slightly on the vegetables, or you could surprise another friend with a meal.

As it stands, if you divide this recipe into six servings, each one has 17 grams of protein, 35% of your daily iron, 154% of your daily C, 16% of your calcium, a whopping 389% of your daily recommendation for vitamin A, 19 grams of fiber, 340 calories, and about 8 grams of fat.  Not too shabby. 

If you have a miniature oven, as we do, your baking pans may fit in a little wonky, but it'll still work :)  

Total Prep time:  About 1 hour  Serves:  6-8


1.5 cups green or beluga lentils
3 cups water or vegetable stock (I use a tsp of powered stock)

1 medium butternut squash - peeled, large dice
2 carrots, beets, parsnips, or other root vegetable - large dice
3 small yellow or red onions - cut into strips with the core in tact (see photo)

1 T brown sugar - packed
4 T balsamic vinegar 
2 T Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, or other high heat oil (no olive oil!)

1 medium bunch kale
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds - toasted

  • Rinse the lentils and place in a medium sauce pan with the stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until lentils are soft.
  • In the mean time, preheat the oven to 375 and line two baking sheets with foil.  Chop vegetables and whisk together the sugar, vinegar, and buttery spread in a large bowl.  Toss vegetables with the vinegar mixture to coat evenly, pour onto baking sheets (along with any extra glaze) and place in the oven.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes, checking at 20 to stir and rotate pans.
  • While the vegetables roast and the lentils cook, wash and thinly slice the kale.  Place in a large bowl with a fat pinch of sea salt and the juice of one lemon.  Massage the kale with the lemon and salt and set aside to wilt.  
  • When the lentils are done, drain them well and toss them in with the kale.
  • When the vegetables are done to your liking, toss them in with the lentils and kale, squeeze another lemon over the top of everything, spoon into your favourite serving bowl and garnish with the toasted pumpkin seeds.
Do yourself a favour and use some of the left overs to make burritos.

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