Thanksgiving Salad with Butternut Squash and Lentils



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Why I love this vegetarian Thanksgiving salad recipe

This salad brings a little brightness to your life in the form of a VERY delicious Thanksgiving salad that’s zippy, sweet, savory and full of texture. Meet the very easy to make roasted butternut squash salad with French lentils salad with juicy raisins, spinach, toasted pecans and a tasty red wine vinaigrette dressing. This is a vegetarian salad dream!

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RELATED: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

To make this hearty salad you’ll need

  • Frozen butternut squash 
  • Olive oil nonstick cooking spray 
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste 
  • Cooked French lentils (aka Puy lentils, du Puy lentils, lentilles du Puy, or French green lentils.)
  • Chopped fresh spinach
  • Red onion
  • Golden raisins
  • Chopped toasted pecans

For the dressing: 

  • Olive oil 
  • Red wine vinegar 
  • Dijon mustard 
  • Minced garlic 
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste 

For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

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How to make this Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2: Arrange the butternut squash on the baking sheet. Spritz with nonstick cooking spray and season with salt and black pepper.

Step 3: Bake butternut squash in the oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove and set aside.

Step 4: While butternut squash is baking, cook the lentils.

Step 5: In a serving dish, layer the cooked lentils, spinach, squash, onion, raisins, and pecans. 

Step 6: Mix the ingredients together for the dressing.

Step 7: Prior to serving, pour the dressing over the salad. Toss and serve.

Make this Salad for Thanksgiving , then check out my Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Apple and Wild Rice Salad, and Classic Waldorf Salad and more of my easy Fall salads.  

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TIPS AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Read on for tips and substitution ideas on how to make this recipe, and how to avoid making it a disaster.

How to cook frozen Butternut Squash

Because frozen squash is already peeled and cut for you, all you have to do is toss it in olive oil, season it with salt and throw it into the oven. This eliminates at least 20 minutes of work cutting up the squash. To get the tasty caramelized sear on the squash, you’ll want to roast it in the hottest part of the oven, which is on the lowest rack.

Can I use Green Lentils?

You could… but French green lentils hold their shape better and pack more of a flavorful punch than green lentils do. French lentils will work better in this salad. Green lentils tend to work better in various soups and spreads.

French lentils are packaged under the names Puy lentils, du Puy lentils, lentilles du Puy, or French green lentils. (Don’t confuse that with just “green lentils,” which are entirely different!)

Do you need to soak French lentils?

Unlike other dried beans, there’s no need to presoak these lentils, which makes them perfect for this Thanksgiving salad.

How do I cook French Lentils?

  • Add the lentils and liquid to a saucepan. Use the ratio of 3 parts liquid to 1 part lentils (4.5 cups liquid to 1 1/2 cups lentils). You can use vegetable broth, water or a mix of the two.
  • Bring to a simmer, then simmer 15 to 20 minutes until tender. At around 15 minutes, taste and assess doneness. Keep cooking until the lentils are tender.
  • Drain. Drain the excess liquid. 

How to store the leftovers

The leftover salad will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Other fall salad recipes to try

  • Apple and Wild Rice Fall Salad – This is an easy and scrumptious make ahead fall side dish that tastes like Thanksgiving. Apples, pecans, wild rice, celery, onion and peas are combined and covered with a delicious dressing for a tasty autumn salad your whole family will love.
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Fall Salad – s the perfect fall salad for holidays and parties. Full of flavor and beautiful colors! Drizzled with the most incredible apple cider vinaigrette dressing, and topped with toasted walnuts and cranberries, your friends and family will love this vegetarian fall salad.

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