Pumpkin And Lentil Salad

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This is a delicious pumpkin and lentil salad recipe with, celery, and cranberries. I make my own honey mustard dressing to go with it. It’s a very healthy salad that is a whole meal all on its own but can also be served as a side dish.


Every fall, we visit a pumpkin patch. Even though we have our own farm now we still keep the tradition because visiting other farms in our area is always so much fun and because those farms have a bunch of fun games for the kids.

It’s a fall activity to look forward to and talk about.

OK, let’s also admit that I am not the best at growing pumpkins…

I haven’t found a fool-proof way to grow organic pumpkins in central NC (yet)… Unless I am willing to sleep by the plants so I can catch the bugs as they appear by the thousands.

I love camping out but there are other things to do around the homestead during the summer so camping in the garden is out.

Pumpkin And Lentil Salad…

A healthy and filling pumpkin salad with celery, lentils, dry cranberries, and nuts. It can be a great addition to any meal or be a whole meal by itself! #pumpkinsalad #pumpkinandlentilsalad #pumpkinrecipes #pumpkinsaladrecipes

I did try diatomaceous earth and neem oil and also essential oils and all of them work great. The problem is that I have to spray them constantly after every rain and we have a lot of rain here during the growing season. I find it hard to keep up with the task.

So this year I planted many plants; probably around 25 pumpkin plants. I got two nice pumpkins. It’s not a lot, but really, 2 pumpkins plus the bazillion butternut squash we harvested is more than enough for us.

And of course, there are the pumpkins we pick at the pumpkin patch…

Kids in the pumpkin patch.

After a few hours of playing games, when mama was about to drop dead, we picked our pumpkins and headed home. My kids always chose relatively small pumpkins which I am totally okay with because they are much easier to handle.

The only downside with the small pumpkins is that they don’t have many seeds and I love roasting the seeds with cumin and garlic. So I make sure we have at least one large pumpkin as well.

The kids usually play with their pumpkins for a few days and when they get tired of them I cook them.

This time I was looking for a new recipe that I had never made before and is a bit different from the traditional American recipes that I know and love. So I texted my mother (in Israel) and asked her for a pumpkin recipe.

My mother is a foodie. She spends 85% of her time in the kitchen. She has two kitchens actually, two ovens, two refrigerators, and three freezers. She bakes, cooks and feeds people all. the. time.

So within minutes, I was showered with 17 pumpkin recipes. After sifting and sorting I decided to go with this pumpkin salad I am about to share with you. Actually, it’s a pumpkin and lentil salad which piqued my interest right away so I had to give it a try…

It was a good choice. A really good choice.

I love salads that are a meal. You can’t get your tummy full and satisfied by eating lettuce and tomato salad. It just doesn’t do it. But put lentils or beans, pumpkin or avocado in a salad and it’s a different story.

Ok, first things first…

Kitchen Tools We are Going to Need…

Before we start making this delicious salad, let’s go over the kitchen tools that we need for the job…

Kitchen knife – whichever knife you prefer for cutting vegetables.

Cutting board – I love to use wooden cutting boards when cutting vegetables.

Baking sheet – we are going to roast the pumpkin so we’ll need a baking sheet.

Oil spray bottle – we are going to coat the pumpkin that we roast with olive oil. I still don’t have this spray bottle but I can imagine it will be so much easier to spray the oil instead of brushing it on the pumpkin.

Kitchen oil brush – since I don’t have the spray bottle that I linked to above I’m brushing on my olive oil with a kitchen brush.

Measuring cups – to measure our ingredients. Keep in mind that this is a salad and nothing has to be super exact!

A small pot – to cook our lentils in.

A strainer – to strain the lentils.

A large mixing bowl – so we have enough room to mix all the ingredients together.

Smaller serving bowl – this salad serves two. If you are by yourself, don’t drizzle the dressing on the whole thing. Just add to a smaller serving bowl whatever portion you’d like and dress that. I’ll show you below.

Half-pint jar – for mixing the ingredients for the dressing.

A tablespoon measuring spoon – to measure the ingredients for the dressing.

All right friends, gather those tools and let’s get started! We are going to start by roasting the pumpkin.

Roasting the Pumpkin for the Pumpkin Salad…

Pumpkin cut in half and cleaned.

I start by cutting the pumpkin in half so I can clean the center. I save the seeds for roasting or for my goats (I’ve heard that pumpkin seeds are a good dewormer) or I just give the whole center mess to the chickens, they love it.

It’s important to note that you can use any kind of pumpkin for this pumpkin salad. It can be the large carving pumpkin or the small pie pumpkin like the one I use here. I like them both and it really doesn’t matter which one you use in my opinion.

Pumpkin is ready to go in the oven.

Next, I drizzle the pumpkin with olive oil and season it with garlic powder, and salt and black pepper to taste.

I preheat the oven to 375F and roast the pumpkin for about 30 minutes. The roasting time will depend on the size of your pumpkin, of course. You can check if it’s ready by poking it with a fork.

Cooking the Lentils…

Dry lentils.

While the pumpkin is roasting, I place 3/4 cup of lentils in a strainer and wash it. Then I add the lentils to a small pot…

Lentils in water.

Cover them with 3 (or so) cups of water, place the pot on the stovetop, and bring it to boil. Once the water is boiling, I lower the heat a bit. I still want the water to boil but just an easy, rolling boil.

Cooked lentils.

Once in awhile, fish a couple of lentils out of the pot to check if the lentils are soft. Once the lentils are soft (this took about 30 minutes or so) I transfer them into a colander to drain and set aside to cool.

How to Make Pumpkin And Lentil Salad…

Pumpkin is soft and ready for salad.

The pumpkin is usually ready by this time so take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool as well. 

We are not going to need the whole pumpkin for the salad, just about 2 cups of cubed pumpkin. If you are looking for other ideas for recipes that you can make with fresh pumpkin, make sure to check my post 47 Fresh Pumpkin Recipes

You can also can your pumpkin, or make this delicious pumpkin soup. Or, if you prefer using the rest of your pumpkin to make sweet stuff like this low sugar pumpkin bread or this pumpkin cheesecake, make sure you don’t season the other half of the pumpkin. 

And if you prefer, you can also freeze pumpkin puree to use later.

Center of the celery.

Once the lentils and pumpkin cooled it’s time to assemble this pumpkin salad.

One thing we use a lot in Middle Eastern cuisine that I don’t see in the U.S. is celery leaves. For some reason, you can’t find celery in the grocery store that still has its leaves on… Why? I can’t figure this out.

There are so many wonderful dishes with celery leaves and they are so healthy for us. I guess it’s a good reason to grow it yourself.

Anyway, I didn’t have any celery from the garden so I took the large stalks off of the grocery store celery and used the center part that has some leaves on it.

Chopping celery.

I chop the celery…

Adding lentils and celery to salad bowl.

And add it to a salad bowl with the cooled lentils.

Cutting the pumpkin.

Next, I make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in my pumpkin, trying not to cut through the peel, and use a spoon to take the little pieces out.

I tried to keep the pumpkin cubed and for the most part, I was successful but not completely. However, it didn’t matter much anyway. Sometimes, I do this part a little differently. I cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces and then remove the skin and cut it into cubes. You can see how I do this in my pumpkin and feta salad recipe or in my pumpkin and beetroot salad recipe (which are two other amazing pumpkin salad recipes by the way!).

Adding cubed pumpkin.

I add the pumpkin pieces to the salad bowl…

Adding cranberries.

And then I add some dried cranberries. Another great addition here will be roasted pecans or peanuts. I didn’t have any on hand so I went without but I am sure they’ll add great flavor so add them if you have them.

How to Make Honey Mustard Salad Dressing…

Dressing for pumpkin salad with lentils.

For the dressing, I mix two tablespoons of honey, one teaspoon of mustard, one minced garlic clove, juice of one large lemon, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Serving Pumpkin And Lentil Salad…

Pumpkin salad in a spoon.

Before I’m ready to serve, I drizzle the dressing over the pumpkin and lentil salad and give it a gentle toss. The flavors are just an amazing combination!

The sweetness of the dried cranberries and honey with the earthiness of the pumpkin, the freshness of the celery and lemon juice, the sharpness of the garlic, and the taste of the lentils… It fits together so well!  

Pumpkin salad with lentils.

This is definitely going to become a staple fall salad around here.

I also love that it’s not only tasty but this pumpkin and lentil salad is very healthy and very filling. It’s just a great healthy fall meal.

This pumpkin and lentil salad can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days if you keep the dressing separated which makes it a great make-ahead salad for a holiday dinner or for any busy mom who needs to make dinner while the kids take their nap.

I just add all the vegetables to the bowl and prepare the dressing. Then I keep it in the fridge covered with a plastic wrap. When we are ready to enjoy it, I add the cranberries (and you can add nuts too), I give the dressing a good shake (I usually make it in a half-pint mason jar) and drizzle it over the pumpkin and lentil salad. Then, we are ready to dive in!


Another great thing about this pumpkin and lentil salad is that it can be a make-ahead meal for just you for a few meals. It serves 4 so if you want to make it but it’s just you enjoying it, keep it in the fridge.

When you are ready for a meal, scoop as much as you’d like into a separate bowl, add some cranberries and nuts and enjoy. The rest can stay in the fridge and wait for your next meal.  

I hope you liked this pumpkin salad recipe! You can find all of my homestead pumpkin recipes here

Pumpkin and Lentil Salad

Pumpkin and Lentil Salad

Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A delicious, healthy, and filling pumpkin salad with lentils, celery, and dry cranberries.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cubed roasted pumpkin (instructions on how to roast below)
  • 3/4 cup cooked lentils (instructions on how to cook below)
  • 2 cups diced celery (use the center of the celery and try to get as many leaves as you can)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup roasted and chopped pecans or peanuts

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • Juice of one large lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375F
  2. Halve the pumpkin and clean out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast until soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. While the pumpkin is roasting, wash the lentils and add to a pot. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat a bit to keep a rolling boil and cook until the lentils are soft (should also take around 30 minutes).
  4. Transfer the lentils into a strainer and set aside to cool.
  5. Remove the pumpkin from the oven when soft and set it aside to cool as well.
  6. Add the chopped celery into a large salad bowl.
  7. Add the cool lentils to the bowl with the celery.
  8. Make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in your pumpkin trying not to cut through the skin and use a spoon to take the little pumpkin cubes out. Add them to the salad bowl as well.
  9. Add cranberries and nuts.
  10. Mix the dressing ingredients until combined and drizzle over the salad.
  11. Enjoy!

Notes

This pumpkin and lentil salad can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days if you keep the dressing separated which makes it a great make-ahead salad for a holiday dinner or for any busy mom who needs to make dinner while the kids take their nap.

I just add all the vegetables to the bowl and prepare the dressing. Then I keep it in the fridge covered with a plastic wrap. When we are ready to enjoy it, I add the cranberries (and you can add nuts too), the dressing a good shake (I usually make it in a half-pint mason jar) and drizzle it over the pumpkin and lentil salad. Then, we are ready to dive in!

Another great thing about this pumpkin and lentil salad is that it can be a make-ahead meal for just you for a few meals. It serves 4 so if you want to make it but it's just you enjoying it, keep it in the fridge. When you are ready for a meal, scoop as much as you'd like into a separate bowl, add some cranberries and nuts and enjoy. The rest can stay in the fridge and wait for your next meal.  

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 554Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 329mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 9gSugar: 37gProtein: 8g

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3 thoughts on “Pumpkin And Lentil Salad”

  1. That looks wonderful! I also love to cook with celery leaves and struggle finding market celery with leaves left on. I think the growers are producing a 2nd & 3rd crop to their farming by providing celery leaves for the spice market along with celery seed. It’s also sold to pre-made meal companies for boxed stuffing’s. One thing I learned years ago, celery and the celery leaves add “natural celery salt” to food. My husband & I gave up eating meals with table salt but love to sprinkle celery leaves on and also add it to soups, stews and beans that call for salt, most likely used in low-sodium canned soups to enhance flavor.

    1. That is true, it is kinda salty… I didn’t think about drying it though, I don’t think I’ve ever had dry celery leaves before.

      1. I made something close to this using what I had, it was wonderful! and today I did a hot salad with mustard greens with the pumpkin & lentils. Yum!

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