pumpkin, lentil & feta salad with merguez

Pumpkin & lentil salad with merguez
Pumpkin & lentil salad with merguez

With Halloween around the corner, I thought I’d come up with a recipe that would give you the chance to show off your pumpkin-carving skills as well as your culinary expertise. Normally, when I cook something that calls for a squash-type vegetable, I’m lured towards the butternut variety, partly, if I’m honest, because of its delicious-sounding name. To my surprise, the spiced roasted pumpkin in this dish, with its more savoury flavour, tasted just as good, if not better. If butternut’s your thing though, feel free to go with that, or indeed any other squash that takes your fancy.

Although pumpkin is one of the main ingredients in this simple salad, the other elements, including nutty Puy lentils, red onion, fresh mint and tangy feta, are strong flavour contenders. The sweet honey dressing perfectly counterbalances the earthier flavours in the dish.

I love lamb with feta and mint, so I sought out some lamb-based merguez sausages to serve alongside the salad. If you don’t manage to find this type of sausage, grilled lamb cutlets or steaks will work just as well. Alternatively, you can leave out the meat altogether and enjoy the salad as a vegetarian dish.

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Pumpkin, lentil & feta salad with merguez
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 6.
  2. Arrange the pumpkin on a baking sheet. Add the oil, paprika, cumin and ginger and season well with salt. Toss with your hands to combine. Place in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.
  3. While the pumpkin is in the oven, arrange the sausages on another baking sheet. Once the pumpkin has been roasting for 10 minutes, add the sausages to the oven and bake with the pumpkin for 15-20 minutes until the sausages have turned brown and the edges of the pumpkin are golden brown. Set the pumpkin aside for at least 5 minutes to cool.
  4. Arrange the spinach on two plates. Add the lentils and pumpkin, and scatter over the onion, feta cheese and mint.
  5. Arrange the sausages on the plates next to the salad.
  6. Mix together all of the dressing ingredients along with a pinch of salt and pour over the salad.
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