Sunday, October 15, 2023

Butternut Squash, Lentils and Red Onions

Butternut squash season is upon us, and there are many delicious ways to enjoy this vegetable. I frequently just roast it, make risotto with it, or use it in a lasagna. When I feel like veering from Italian recipes, I reach for one of my Ottolenghi cookbooks. His food is always a refreshing change from the typical fare I normally eat. The last time I was in London I ate this dish at one of his restaurants, and was eager to try it at home. I found the recipe in his book "Simple" and made it as printed. It calls for dolcelatte or a gorgonzola cheese, which I love. However, to me the dish would be even better with feta cheese, or some dabs of burrata instead, so that the cheese flavor doesn't overpower the squash. If you're not a cheese lover, you could leave it out entirely.

This dish is good served warm, or at room temperature. It's perfect for parties when you want to get all the work done ahead of time and just leave a finished dish on the table for people to help themselves. 

Roasted Butternut Squash with Lentils and Red Onions
From Ottolenghi's cookbook "Simple"

1 large butternut squash, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch thick half-moons or wedges
2 red onions, cut into 1 1/2 innch wide wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to serve
1/2 cut sage leaves
salt, black pepper
1/2 cup lentils
1 large lemon, finely zested to get 2 teaspoons, then juiced to get 2 tablespoons
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
3 1/2 oz. dolcelatte or gorgonzola cheese, torn into 3/4 inch pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the squash and onions in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons oil, the sage leaves, 3/4 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper. 
Mix well, then spread out on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. 
Roast for 25-30 minutes, until cooked and golden brown. 
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
While the squash is in the oven, fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and place over high heat. Once boiling, add the lentils, decrease the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, until cooked. Drain, set aside to cool slightly, then place in a large bowl. 
Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, mint, tarragon, remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Add the squash and onion to the lentils and stir gently. Transfer to a serving bowl, dot with dolcelattte, drizzle with oil, and serve.


  1. I typically make something like this at Thanksgiving because I have a pescatarian daughter. So I have to serve some kind of legume. This is a great combination!

  2. This sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner side dish! I also like Ottolenghi's innovative recipes