I’ve been going lentil crazy! I made a double batch of these lentils not once, but twice, in the span of a week. The first time was for a girls night. I served roasted cauliflower and blackened eggplant on the side. We ate most of them that night and I just couldn’t get enough. So I went and threw together another double batch. For the second time around I knew I wanted to top them off with a sweet winter squash and I wanted the topping to be crisp as a contrast to the creamy lentils.
Speaking of my girlfriends, we were meeting up for our weekly dinner just a couple nights ago and somebody brought up that they were reading a BuzzFeed article on the pumpkin spice food products that had been taken a step to far. Specifically, they called out pumpkin hummus as being something that was obviously gross and who would possibly want to eat that? I was the sole person that was like “hold on, I think that sounds good!” Why are we totally ok with putting pumpkin, which is a type of winter squash and last time I checked a V-E-G-E-T-A-B-L-E …in our coffee, but have decided that combining it with chickpeas is gross? Well sorry ladies, and sorry to anybody else who thinks that combination is just wrong because I’ve decided it’s not just ok, it’s delicious.
For this recipe I used a squash called Red Kuri, which is a miniature pumpkin with thinner skin and without ridges. It came from our CSA but it’s one of the many varieties of winter squash which is becoming more widely available (I saw it at Whole Foods last week) as people learn that these naturally sweet, delicious vegetables are really good for us. They are high in fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins and minerals. As far as sweetness goes, it falls behind Sugar Pie (most likely to be used in baking or pies) and the very well loved Butternut, but is still pretty sweet and will have a smooth, silky interior and crispy exterior when roasted. Plus it has the added benefit of looking like a cute little pumpkin. Really it’s quite adorable. If you can’t find Red Kuri squash then try a different variety, there are so many good ones out there!
Make sure you use red lentils, as they cook up really creamy and take best to the Asian flavors we have going on here- garlic, ginger, coconut, cumin and lime. I’ve been able to find them at all the different grocery stores I go to, including Trader Joe’s. The chickpeas cooked this way end up very crispy, just don’t skip the step of patting them dry, which is such a nice contrast to the lentils.