Harissa Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

This weather lately has got me thinking about the Mediterranean lately. Specifically how I wish I was out of the cold, DC sadness.

This weather is just a roller coaster of emotions. It is cold one day, then hot the next day, then a freaking blizzard two days later. I have been feeling so stir crazy lately, which might explain all of these crazy dreams I have been having lately. I think my unconscious is definitely playing into my desire to travel this year. Except why does my brain think it is totally normal for me to roll out of bed, onto a horse, to a flight to Japan?

I really need to get some more sleep

One of my favorite flavor combinations, time and time again, are Mediterranean flavors. I love lemon and olive oil and all of those bright colorful vegetables. They just really make your heart sing, you know? That is definitely my version of soul food. I think anytime I am traveling and am feeling a little homesick, I always end up craving Mediterranean. And, with it being ridiculously cold and snowy and icy the past couple of days, we all need a bit of soul food, ya know?

This coming from a 20-something Jewish woman. I am pretty sure I have hummus running through my veins.

I mean, how fun and pretty are these? The perfect Monday meal!! Healthy, light and fairly simple to make (don’t let the ingredient list freak you out!!). Let me run you through it all. K? Cool. So here we go!

First, we roast up some butternut squash halves until they are soft and golden. Squash is so creamy dreamy this time of year, so how could you not think this is the perfect base of a meal. I’m down for eating squash always, so making squash the star? It is a winner for me!

Second, while the squash is roasting, you make up the harissa lentils. I love using little french lentils because they are big on FLAVOR and the texture is on point. Trader Joe’s has some really good cooked lentils, so if you are in a rush, those will work in a pinch. I mix them with garlic, spices, and, the real kicker, harissa paste, to bring some spice into your life. I love Trader Joe’s harissa, but this spread also works really well too. Harissa is one of those ingredients that just makes a HUGE difference, ya feel?

Then, and here is the kicker, you take those harissa lentils, stuff them in the creamy squash, and top them with all of the goods. We’re talking herbs, pomegranate seeds, and this killer tahini yogurt sauce. Y’all, you know I am all about the sweet and spicy and this is just such a winner. You can serve these alongside a protein for a fun side dish or serve them with a salad and make these squash boats the main star. Because, I hope you can see, the flavors are these squash are so bright, ya need shades.

Yields 4

Harissa Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

20 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

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stuff

    roasted squash
  • 2 small or 1 medium butternut squashes, cut in half lengthwise and scored into triangles
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • salt + pepper
  • harissa lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry, french lentils (or 2.5 cups cooked lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt + pepper
  • to serve
  • 3 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon tahini
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt + pepper
  • chopped parsley/mint/cilantro, for serving
  • pomegranate seeds, for serving

meanderings

roast squash

preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub cut side of squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork

make harissa lentils

while the squash is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium sized pot. Add garlic and saute until golden, approximately 1-2 minutes.

If using uncooked lentils, add dry lentils, harissa, and paprika, along with 3 cups of water to pot. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook for 35-45 minutes until lentils are tender. Drain if there is excess water. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If using cooked lentils, add harissa paste and stir until combined with garlic. Add cooked lentils and paprika and mix until combined. Cook until lentils are warmed through, approximately 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

to assemble

to make the yogurt sauce, whisk together yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, salt and pepper. To serve, place squash cut side up on a plate or platter. Fill "cavity" with harissa lentils. Spoon yogurt sauce over the top. Top with pomegranate seeds and herbs, if desired. EAT.

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