This salad is flavor-packed and oh, so good for you. It's a must for a vegan menu, but everyone will enjoy this delicious dish. Gather in the kitchen Thanksgiving morning and get lots of hands-on help with this salad. That's what Anne's family will be doing, and it's so worth it!
1 medium butternut squash (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
8 Tbl Rosemary Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Rosemary Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups French green lentils
2 bay leaves
¼ cup Champagne Pear Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 small bunch flat-leaf kale (about 6 ounces), stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1 cup golden raisins
½ cup parsley, rough chopped
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the squash, onion, garlic, 2 Tbl Rosemary Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a big pinch of Rosemary Sea Salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Roast until the vegetables are tender and very caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the lentils and bay leaves in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover the lentils by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaves. Return the lentils to the pan and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Taste and season with more salt as needed.
Next, create the vinaigrette: squeeze the roasted garlic (roasted with the squash) from their papers into a bowl. Mash with a fork and add the remaining 6 Tbl Rosemary Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Champagne Pear Balsamic Vinegar, mustard, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper to the bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the warm lentils to the dressing-it's very important that the lentils be incorporated while still warm. This is where the magic happens and the vinaigrette soaks into the lentils. Add the kale and toss until well coated. Add the roasted vegetables, pecans, and raisins and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Just before serving, toss in the parsley. Transfer the salad to a large platter and serve warm or at room temperature.