In Monday’s winter squash soup article I referenced the fact that I enjoy eating vegetarian dishes. So, when I was presented a weeknight on my own and an acorn squash in my pantry, it should have been obvious that I’d be crafting a meatless meal. Although my husband is glad to dabble in the vegetarian world, he prefers to skip legume dishes. Exit husband (for the evening), enter lentils.
I love working with orange lentils because they cook so quickly. Whether I’m using them as the stuffing for an acorn squash or the base ingredient in a meatless loaf, they are ready to go in under 15 minutes. So many other dried legumes need hours to be prepped for cooking. That’s great when I plan ahead but much less so for last minute inspiration.
The one drawback to orange lentils is that they can turn to mush in the blink of an eye. One moment you have a pan of formed lentils; the next you have lentils that have lost their structure. Of course, I’m not always opposed to mushy lentils, they do serve their purpose. It’s just good to keep their texture in mind so that you don’t end up with a dish that has only one note- mushy.
Knowing that both the squash and lentils would be of a similar consistency, I wanted to add other ingredients that would give some texture. For that reason I chose to add sautéed mushrooms and onion. They gave a nice bite to the filling, as well as adding some extra earthiness to the dish. I found this dish was absolutely delicious topped with extra grated parmesan. Don’t skimp; you’ll thank me.
- 1 acorn squash, cut in half & seeds removed
- 1/2 cup orange lentils
- 1/2 Tb. olive oil
- 4 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 cup diced sweet onion
- 1 tsp. sage
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Place acorn halves in a baking pan with a small amount of water and cover with foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
- While squash bakes, combine 1 cup water and 1/2 cup lentils in a small pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for approximately 8 minutes or until tender.
- Remove from heat.
- In a frying pan, heat olive oil; add onions and mushroom.
- Cook for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
- Season with sage, salt, and pepper.
- Add onions and mushrooms to cooked lentils; stir to combine.
- When squash is cooked, transfer to baking sheet, cut side up.
- Fill each with half of lentil mixture, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Top with more parmesan before serving.