Well, fall hasn’t quite hit LA with its full force. The temperatures are back in the 80s for this week, so I guess it’ll be a while still before I start wearing cool-weather clothes. However, for those of you who live in places with real weather, this recipe is for you! A warm lentil salad with butternut squash, sweet caramelized onions, and a fall-flavored tahini-maple dressing, is just the thing to hit the spot on a chilly autumn night.
I used the slow cooker for this recipe, which made the prep much easier! I just threw the lentils and butternut squash in, left it for a few hours, then later made the caramelized onions and the dressing and placed it on a bed of fresh spinach. Super easy! Caramelized onions only take 10-15 minutes to make, and are definitely worth the extra time. Finishing it off with the maple tahini dressing really gave it a fall flavor, and a touch of nutty sweetness as well. I preferred this salad served warm over fresh spinach, but I also tried it cold and the flavors were still good. Here’s the recipe!
Slow Cooker Fall Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions and Tahini Maple Dressing
Makes 6 servings
1 1/2 cups lentils (I used a mixture of green and split red lentils)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1 inch chunks
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet onions, sliced
6 cups salad greens (I used baby spinach)
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
Water, as needed for consistency (I used about 3 tbsp)
Pour the lentils in the slow cooker, then pour the vegetable broth and water over them, and stir together. Place the diced butternut squash over the lentils. Turn the slow cooker on to high, then cook for 4-6 hours, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
In the meantime, make the caramelized onions. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and stir to coat with oil. Cook the onions until caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low if the onions start to burn.
Once the lentils are cooked through and the butternut squash is soft, add the caramelized onions and mix until evenly distributed. Set aside to cool while you make the dressing.
To make the dressing, place all ingredients except water in a blender or food processor and run until smooth. Add warm water and blend until the desired consistency is reached.
Place a bed of greens on a plate, about 1 cup per serving. Spoon the lentil mixture over the greens, the drizzle dressing over the top. This can be served warm or cold. Enjoy!