How have you all been?
How was summer for ya’ll?
I know, it is been a while since I made a recipe post here.Summer this year for me was pretty hectic with a ton of weekend trips and touristy outings with visiting parents which continued into a 4 week long India trip. Yes, I went to Kolkata for Durga Pujo this year (which you must have guessed from my last post about Pujo) and also stayed at my friend’s place for a week while visiting Delhi-NCR after 4-freaking-years!! Phew! What a trip it was … will try to write a post on all that I ate during my trip sometime. India trips are all about meeting people and eating food, isn’t it? Well, Indians connect over food and use it as the language of conveying their affection. Hence everyone wants to meet you over either breakfast/lunch/dinner/tea-coffee with snacks. Food is that invisible cord that brings people together and unknowingly binds them into a relationship.
Finally all that excitement is over and I am back to my good ol’ life. Although I am a little sad that summer is over before I could relish it much but hey, it is Fall, so who’s complaining? Excited to see all the trees in our neighborhood turn from green to yellow to orange, we drove to upstate New York craving for more. We drove all the way up to a small village called Stamford in Catskills and hiked a mile up on top of the peak of Mt. Utsayantha. Even though we were a week or two late for the peak fall colors on the mountain peak, the unrestricted panoramic view from the top, the drive through the ‘Instagram-worthy’ fall colors on the scenic byways and the highways were absolutely breathtaking! We stayed at a small bed and breakfast in the Stamford Village and visited the neighboring villages of Hobart, Hunter and Tannersville. Something that impressed us the most were the warmth of the people up there – be it for the made-to-order hearty breakfast made by our B&B owner herself, or the lunch or dinner or even coffee that we ate/drank at different villages and met with the people there. And their food echoed the similar warmth too – every meal at every restaurant or cafe was delicious!
Well, so now that we are in full-fledged Fall with falling leaves, falling rain and it’s Halloween, allow me to share one of my favorite Fall recipes dressed up in a Halloween costume! Fall or not, Halloween or not, party or not, this super easy salad will provide just the right dose of warmth to your hearts on a chilly autumn day. I specifically call it ‘fall salad’ as it uses The Most used fall vegetable – Pumpkin. But please feel free to make it any day of the year to treat yourself or your families to a healthy and tasty salad if you can get hold of the ingredients, really.
I have used only pumpkin in this salad, but feel free to either totally replace it or add butternut squash/other summer squashes along with pumpkin when making it during the non-pumpkin season. Do that also if you detest pumpkins. Trust me, I know people who do. In fact, I myself cannot tolerate pumpkin flavored drinks and desserts. Not to disappoint anyone, but no idea why, I can never appreciate a Pumpkin Pie or a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, no matter how amazing they taste to everyone else! But I love pumpkin as a vegetable and enjoy all the savory dishes made with it. I will try to share a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes over Fall as well. Till then, stay warm and enjoy the Fall colors everywhere!
Roasted Pumpkin and Lentil Salad
- Sugar Pumpkin – 2 cups, peeled and diced into small pieces
- Black Lentils – 1/2 of a can
- Baby Arugula – as per taste
- Crumbled Goat Cheese – 1/2 cup (I have used herb and garlic flavored)
- Colorful Peppers – 2 or 3 (optional)
- Cumin seeds or roasted cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
- Chilli Flakes – 1 teaspoon or as per taste
- Cajun Spice Mix – 1/4 teaspoon
- Lime Juice – 2 tablespoons
- Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – as per taste
Roasting the pumpkin:
In this recipe, the roasting of the pumpkin can be done both in the oven and on stove-top in a pan.
Roasting in the oven-
Preheat the oven to 425F
Arrange the pumpkins on a baking sheet
Drizzle olive oil and season the pumpkin cubes with salt
Add the roasted cumin powder and mix well
Sprinkle half of the chillies flakes
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or till its cooked
Roasting on the stove –
Take a pan and heat olive oil in it
Temper the hot oil with cumin seeds
Add the pumpkin cubes and stir well
Add the chilli flakes and season the pumpkin with salt
Cover and cook till the pumpkins are cooked
Cooking the lentils:
I have used a cooked can of black lentils, alternatively, you cook them at home with some salt.
Arranging the salad:
Mix the cooked pumpkin, lentils with arugula.
Since I stuffed the salad into my jack-o-lantern peppers, I added some chopped peppers to my bowl.
Add some crumbled goat cheese.
Sprinkle the rest of the chilli flakes.
The only dressing I have used is plain lime juice. I don’t think this salad needs any fancy dressing.
Stuff them into the peppers if you are using them, else jump into the bowl and chomp it down while it’s still warm.
Stuffing salad into Jack-o-lanterns are a good way of stuffing salad into your kid’s tummy too!