Practically overnight, Winnipeg officially and dramatically entered the winter season. Simultaneously, the city became covered with a thick blanket of snow, the streets turned to skating rinks, the temperatures plummeted and the fire log channel is keeping me toasty. Dare I say, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! So, here is a festive salad just in time for the Holiday season. During a time when cookies act as a fifth food group, we can all use a meal just (almost) as enticing as all those sweet treats. This wholesome dish is not only delicious but also so beautiful that it can double as a centre piece for your table setting.

Forming this gorgeous salad is a combination of black lentils, sweet roasted acorn squash, sautéed kale, juicy pomegranate seeds, and crunchy walnuts drizzled with a tangy miso, maple, tahini dressing. I choose to use dried black lentils, also known as beluga lentils, for this recipe as they do not breakdown while cooking like some varieties do. French lentils (Lentilles du Puy) will also work well. I purchase both of these from my local bulk food store (Scoop N’ Weigh Fine Ingredients). If you want to skip a step or save time, canned lentils can help with that. In addition to lacinato kale, I was able to get my hands on purple kale for this recipe, adding a welcomed pop of colour. However, any variety of kale is perfectly fine to use. I recommend serving this salad at room temperature and making extra for leftovers.

I hope this dish finds it’s way to your table and is enjoyed one delicious bite at a time.

Ciao,

Sarah

Winter lentil salad with a Miso Maple Tahini Dressing

Serves 4
Prep/Cook Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS

Lentil Salad

1 acorn squash, sliced into half round rings
2 cups (500 ml) cooked lentils (preferably beluga lentils or French lentils)
2 bunches lacinato kale, roughly chopped
1 cup (250 ml) pomegranate seeds
1 cup (250 ml) walnuts

Miso Maple Tahini Dressing

2 tbsp (30 ml) miso paste
2 tbsp (30 ml) tahini
1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
1 tsp (5 ml) soy sauce (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) finely grated ginger
Juice of 1 lime

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Toss the squash rings with olive oil to coat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for about 30 minutes.  When soft and slightly brown, remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit.
  2. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F and toast walnuts for 8 – 10 minutes. Roughly chop walnuts and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the Miso Maple Dressing.  Add dressing ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and whisk together. If necessary add a bit of hot water to the mixture to assist with incorporating the miso. Set aside.
  4. Briefly sauté the chopped kale in olive oil until wilted but still somewhat firm.  Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  5. To construct the salad, layer the lentils, squash rings, and kale in a serving dish.  Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts.  Drizzle and toss with miso maple dressing.