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Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad Recipe

Embrace the delicious flavors of autumn with this hearty Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad. It is a perfect blend of tender roasted butternut squash, nutty lentils, and fragrant spices, offering complex flavors and textures. This dish is not only scrumptious but also packed with nutrients, making it a healthy choice for a comforting fall meal.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad Recipe
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Photos of Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad Recipe

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While most of the ingredients are commonly available, there are a few you might want to double-check before heading to the supermarket. Cumin seeds and ground cardamom may not be in every kitchen but are worth the trip for their unique flavors. Green lentils are also a specific type of lentil that holds its shape well during cooking, essential for a salad. Lastly, don't forget the butternut squash, a fall favorite that gives this salad its hearty texture and sweet flavor.

Ingredients for Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

Cumin seeds: These add a warm, earthy flavor to the dish. Butternut squash: The star ingredient, it lends a sweet, nutty flavor to the salad. Parsnip: Similar to carrot but with a spicier, slightly tangy profile. Onions: They provide a savory depth to the dish. Ground cardamom: Offers a sweet, spicy flavor. Fresh ginger: Brings a spicy and slightly sweet flavor. Nutmeg: Adds warmth and sweetness. Extra virgin olive oil: Used for roasting and in the dressing. Green lentils: They have a peppery flavor and maintain their shape after cooking. Shallot: Adds a mild, sweet flavor. Bay leaf: Provides subtle bitterness and a slightly floral fragrance. Walnuts: Offer a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. Cilantro: Gives a fresh, citrusy note. Fresh lemon juice: It brightens up the flavors.

One reader, Gardener Jackman says:

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This roasted butternut squash and lentil salad recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are a delightful blend of earthy and aromatic, and the textures are perfectly balanced. It's a hearty and satisfying dish that's become a regular in my meal rotation. Highly recommend trying it out!

Gardener Jackman

Techniques Required for Making Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F: This is the first step in the recipe and involves setting the oven to the specified temperature to ensure it's ready for roasting.

Toast the cumin seeds: Involves toasting the cumin seeds in a small skillet over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Grind the cumin seeds: After toasting, the cumin seeds need to be ground finely using a spice grinder.

Toss the butternut squash with the parsnip, onions, and spices: This step involves combining the butternut squash, parsnip, onions, ground cumin, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and olive oil on a baking sheet.

Roast the vegetables: The butternut squash, parsnip, and onions are roasted in the oven for about 35 minutes, stirring once, until they are tender and lightly browned.

Cook the lentils: Involves simmering the lentils with water, shallot, and bay leaf until tender, about 25 minutes, then draining off any liquid and discarding the bay leaf and shallot.

Toast the walnuts: The walnuts need to be toasted in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes until fragrant, then cooled and coarsely chopped.

Prepare the cilantro dressing: Mixing the cilantro with lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl, then seasoning with salt and pepper.

How To Make Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

Savor nutty-sweet flavors and hearty spices in this tasty lentil salad, served with roasted butternut squash, for a delectably light and flavorful meal!

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 57 minutes
Total: 1 hour 7 minutes



  • tspcumin seeds
  • 1butternut squash
  • 1parsnips,peeled
  • 2medium onions
  • tspground cardamom
  • 1tspfresh ginger,grated
  • 1cupnutmeg,freshly grated
  • ¼cupextra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ¼cupgreen lentils
  • 1cupwater
  • 1small shallot
  • 1bay leaf
  • ¾cupwalnuts
  • ½cupcilantro,coarsely chopped
  • 2tbsplemon juice,fresh


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. In a small skillet, toast the cumin seeds over moderate heat for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

  3. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool, then finely grind.

  4. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with the parsnip, onions, ground cumin, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Roast for about 35 minutes, stirring once, or until the squash and parsnip are tender and lightly browned. Leave the oven on.

  6. In a small saucepan, combine the lentils with the water, shallot and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes until tender.

  7. Drain off any liquid, then discard the bay leaf and shallot. Season the lentils with salt and pepper.

  8. In a pie plate, toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

  9. In a small bowl, mix the cilantro with the lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  10. In a large bowl, toss the roasted vegetables with the lentils, walnuts and dressing and serve. Enjoy!


  • Calories: 434.79kcal
  • Fat: 24.88g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.30g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 11.03g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.06g
  • Carbohydrates: 51.25g
  • Fiber: 13.23g
  • Sugar: 8.81g
  • Protein: 7.63g
  • Sodium: 813.01mg
  • Calcium: 165.14mg
  • Potassium: 918.75mg
  • Iron: 3.88mg
  • Vitamin A: 674.64µg
  • Vitamin C: 41.97mg

Helpful Technique Tip for Preparing Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

When roasting the butternut squash and parsnip, ensure they are cut into even pieces. This promotes even cooking and prevents smaller pieces from burning while larger pieces are still undercooked. Additionally, stirring the vegetables once during the roasting process ensures they cook evenly on all sides. This will give your roasted butternut squash and lentil salad a perfect texture and enhanced flavor.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Salad Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop and prepare the vegetables and spices the night before to streamline the cooking process.

Use pre-cut squash: Save time by purchasing pre-cut butternut squash to skip the peeling and chopping steps.

Multi-task: While the squash and parsnips are roasting, prepare the lentils and dressing to maximize efficiency in the kitchen.

Invest in a good knife: A sharp, quality knife can make chopping and prepping ingredients quicker and more efficient.

Organize your workspace: Keep your kitchen organized and clean as you cook to avoid wasting time searching for utensils and ingredients.

Substitute Ingredients For Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad Recipe

  • cumin seeds - Substitute with ground cumin: Ground cumin can be used as a substitute for cumin seeds. It provides the same earthy and nutty flavor but in a powdered form.

  • butternut squash - Substitute with acorn squash: Acorn squash can be used as a substitute for butternut squash as it has a similar sweet and nutty flavor and a firm texture when roasted.

  • parsnips - Substitute with carrots: Carrots can be used as a substitute for parsnips, providing a slightly sweeter flavor and a similar texture when roasted.

  • onions - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can be used as a substitute for onions, providing a milder and sweeter flavor when roasted.

  • ground cardamom - Substitute with ground cinnamon: Ground cinnamon can be used as a substitute for ground cardamom, providing a warm and slightly sweet flavor to the dish.

  • fresh ginger - Substitute with ground ginger: Ground ginger can be used as a substitute for fresh ginger, providing a similar warm and spicy flavor to the dish.

  • nutmeg - Substitute with cinnamon: Cinnamon can be used as a substitute for nutmeg, providing a warm and slightly sweet flavor to the dish.

  • extra virgin olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil can be used as a substitute for extra virgin olive oil, providing a mild and buttery flavor to the dish.

  • green lentils - Substitute with brown lentils: Brown lentils can be used as a substitute for green lentils, providing a similar earthy flavor and texture when cooked.

  • walnuts - Substitute with pecans: Pecans can be used as a substitute for walnuts, providing a similar rich and nutty flavor to the dish.

  • cilantro - Substitute with flat-leaf parsley: Flat-leaf parsley can be used as a substitute for cilantro, providing a fresh and slightly peppery flavor to the dish.

  • fresh lemon juice - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar can be used as a substitute for fresh lemon juice, providing a tangy and acidic flavor to the dish.

Best Ways to Present a Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the roasted butternut squash and lentil salad, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing presentation. Use edible flowers and microgreens to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  2. Incorporate texture: Introduce a variety of textures to the plate to enhance the dining experience. Consider adding a crispy element such as toasted pumpkin seeds or pomegranate arils for a burst of juiciness.

  3. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate to allow the vibrant colors of the ingredients to stand out. This will create a visually striking presentation that showcases the beauty of the dish.

  4. Balance flavors: Ensure that the flavors are well-balanced by incorporating a drizzle of balsamic reduction or honey-lime vinaigrette to add a touch of sweetness and acidity to complement the earthy flavors of the butternut squash and lentils.

  5. Attention to detail: Pay close attention to the placement of each component on the plate. Arrange the roasted butternut squash and parsnips meticulously, and sprinkle the toasted walnuts and cilantro with precision to create a polished and professional presentation.

  6. Garnish with finesse: Finish the dish with a delicate dusting of smoked paprika or lemon zest to add a subtle yet impactful layer of flavor and visual appeal to the salad.

  7. Use high-quality serving ware: Select elegant and refined serving ware to elevate the overall presentation of the roasted butternut squash and lentil salad. Opt for ceramic plates or artisanal platters to showcase the dish beautifully.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making This Salad Recipe

  • Small skillet: A small, shallow pan used for toasting spices or nuts over moderate heat.
  • Spice grinder: A kitchen tool used to grind whole spices into a fine powder.
  • Large rimmed baking sheet: A flat, rectangular metal pan with raised edges, used for roasting vegetables or baking.
  • Small saucepan: A small, deep cooking pot with a long handle and a lid, used for boiling or simmering liquids.
  • Pie plate: A shallow, round dish with sloping sides, used for baking pies or toasting nuts in the oven.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for This Salad Recipe

  • To store the roasted butternut squash and lentil salad, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. The flavors will meld together and intensify over time, making it even more delicious.

  • If you want to freeze the salad, it's best to store the roasted vegetables and cooked lentils separately. Allow them to cool completely before transferring to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Label and date the containers, and freeze for up to 2-3 months.

  • When ready to serve, thaw the vegetables and lentils in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat the vegetables in the oven or microwave until warmed through, and warm the lentils in a saucepan with a splash of water or broth.

  • Prepare the cilantro dressing fresh when you're ready to serve the salad, as the herbs will lose their vibrant color and flavor if frozen. Toast the walnuts just before serving for the best texture and taste.

  • Assemble the salad by combining the warmed vegetables, lentils, fresh cilantro dressing, and toasted walnuts. Toss gently to combine and serve immediately for the best results.

How to Reheat Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the leftover roasted butternut squash and lentil salad evenly on a baking sheet. Cover the sheet with aluminum foil to prevent the salad from drying out. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and reheat for 10-15 minutes, or until the salad is heated through.

  • For a quicker reheating method, use your microwave. Transfer the desired portion of the roasted butternut squash and lentil salad to a microwave-safe dish. Cover the dish with a damp paper towel to maintain moisture. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the salad is heated to your liking.

  • If you prefer a crispy texture, reheat the roasted butternut squash and lentil salad in a skillet. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leftover salad to the skillet and stir occasionally, allowing the ingredients to crisp up slightly. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the salad is thoroughly heated and the desired texture is achieved.

  • For a cold salad option, allow the roasted butternut squash and lentil salad to come to room temperature. Drizzle with a touch of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to refresh the flavors. Toss the salad gently to combine the ingredients and serve.

  • If you have leftover roasted butternut squash and lentils separately, reheat them individually using any of the above methods. Once heated, combine them in a bowl and toss with a little extra olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Add a handful of fresh cilantro for a burst of flavor before serving.

Interesting Fact About Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

The butternut squash and lentil salad is a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Butternut squash is high in vitamin A, which is essential for good vision and a healthy immune system. Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and are rich in iron, which is important for energy production and metabolism. This salad is a nutritious and delicious way to incorporate these healthy ingredients into your diet.

Is Making This Salad Recipe at Home Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this roasted butternut squash and lentil salad recipe is quite high. The main ingredients, such as butternut squash, lentils, and onions, are affordable and readily available. The addition of cumin seeds, cardamom, and walnuts may slightly increase the cost, but these are versatile ingredients that can be used in various dishes. Overall, this recipe offers a nutritious and flavorful meal at a reasonable cost. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate it an 8 for its balance of affordability and quality. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15-$20.

Is This Salad Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The roasted butternut squash and lentil salad recipe is a nutritious and well-balanced dish. It contains several healthy ingredients such as butternut squash, parsnips, onions, lentils, and walnuts. These ingredients provide a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The use of spices like cumin, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg adds flavor without relying on excessive salt or unhealthy additives.

However, there is one glaring issue with this recipe: the excessive amount of nutmeg. One cup of nutmeg is far too much and can be potentially dangerous in large doses. Nutmeg contains myristicin, a compound that can cause hallucinations, drowsiness, and other adverse effects when consumed in large amounts.

To make this recipe healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of nutmeg to a more reasonable level, such as 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, depending on personal taste preferences
  • Consider adding more vegetables to increase the fiber and nutrient content, such as roasted bell peppers, carrots, or kale
  • Opt for low-sodium vegetable broth instead of water when cooking the lentils to add more flavor without increasing the sodium content significantly
  • Use a mix of fresh herbs, such as parsley and mint, in addition to the cilantro to boost the dish's antioxidant profile and provide a more complex flavor profile
  • Experiment with different types of lentils, such as red or black lentils, to vary the texture and nutritional composition of the dish

Editor's Opinion on This Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

The combination of roasted butternut squash, parsnip, and lentils in this recipe creates a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The use of cumin, cardamom, and nutmeg adds a warm and aromatic element to the dish, while the toasted walnuts provide a satisfying crunch. The cilantro and lemon juice dressing brings a refreshing and zesty finish. Overall, this recipe offers a harmonious balance of earthy, sweet, and savory notes, making it a delightful and nutritious salad option.

Enhance Your Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy garlic mashed potatoes with a hint of truffle oil
Grilled Asparagus: Tender grilled asparagus spears drizzled with balsamic glaze and topped with shaved parmesan
Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Crispy roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in a tangy honey mustard glaze

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love This Salad

Spicy Chickpea and Vegetable Stew: This hearty stew is packed with chickpeas, carrots, and spinach, all simmered in a flavorful and spicy broth. It's the perfect dish for a cozy night in.
Mango Avocado Salsa: This refreshing salsa is a perfect combination of sweet and savory, with ripe mango, creamy avocado, and a hint of spice from jalapeno. It's great as a topping for grilled fish or as a dip with tortilla chips.
Balsamic Glazed Salmon: This elegant dish features tender, flaky salmon fillets coated in a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze. It's a simple yet impressive recipe that's perfect for a special dinner at home.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your guests with these savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. They're the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal.
Caprese Skewers: Impress your guests with these elegant Caprese skewers, featuring fresh mozzarella, juicy cherry tomatoes, and fragrant basil, drizzled with a balsamic glaze. These colorful skewers are a refreshing and light start to any gathering.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder for an elegant and decadent dessert experience.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of baked apples, cinnamon, and a crunchy oat topping in this classic apple crisp. Pair with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Why trust this Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, showcasing the natural sweetness of butternut squash and the earthy richness of green lentils. The use of aromatic spices like cumin seeds and cardamom adds depth to the dish, while the toasting of walnuts brings a satisfying crunch. The inclusion of fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil ensures a bright and zesty finish, enhancing the overall appeal of this wholesome and nutritious salad.

Want to share your experience making this Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad or discuss the recipe further? Join the conversation in our Recipe Sharing forum!
What is the best way to prepare the butternut squash and lentil salad?
The best way to prepare the butternut squash and lentil salad is to follow the recipe instructions step by step. Make sure to roast the butternut squash, parsnips, and onions until they are tender and lightly browned, and simmer the lentils until they are tender. Also, don't forget to toast the cumin seeds and walnuts for added flavor and aroma.
Can I substitute any ingredients in the recipe?
Yes, you can definitely substitute ingredients based on your preferences or dietary restrictions. For example, if you don't have parsnips, you can use carrots instead. You can also swap the green lentils for brown or red lentils. Feel free to get creative and make the recipe your own.
How can I adjust the seasoning to my taste?
You can adjust the seasoning of the butternut squash and lentil salad to your taste by adding more or less of the spices, salt, and pepper. Taste the salad as you go and adjust the seasonings accordingly. You can also add a bit more lemon juice or olive oil at the end to brighten up the flavors.
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this salad ahead of time. You can roast the vegetables and cook the lentils in advance, then assemble the salad when you're ready to serve. The flavors actually develop more if the salad sits for a while, making it a great make-ahead dish for gatherings or meal prep.
What can I serve with the butternut squash and lentil salad?
The butternut squash and lentil salad can be served as a main dish for a vegetarian meal, or as a side dish alongside grilled chicken, roasted fish, or even a hearty stew. It's versatile and pairs well with a variety of proteins, making it a great addition to any meal.

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