It's freaking cold. Isn't it supposed to be May? I stopped by ACE today to look at some plants they had outside, like most humans do in spring, and my teeth were chattering. Yesterday we had to turn the HEAT on in my apartment because my toes instantly froze solid when they touched the floor. There's only one course of action in conditions like these... pretend it's fall and the weather is much less depressing! Close the blinds, wrap up in a blanket, turn on a movie, and eat something that normally you reserve for a cozy October evening. Roasted acorn squash, perhaps? Bonus points if you have owned your squash since fall. In which case I just earned 10 POINTS FOR GRRRRRYFFINDOR!!! Nah technically I'm a Hufflepuff so SUCK IT Gryffindor how's it feel to get owned by a friendly badger?! (mic drop).
Sorry about that folks I might have taken it a bit too far. Anywaysss... lets talk about food now. This is one of my go-to meals. Whenever I don't have groceries and I'm too busy (lazy) to get them, I boil up a pot of lentils and top it with whatever veggies I have laying around. It just so happens that this particular veggie had been laying around for 9 months. Now you're laughing, "Oh hahahaha Rachel, you jokester!" No.... I'm not joking. I never joke about squash. Never. Because squash is always there for me... literally. Set it on your counter in fall and it will still be there when spring rolls around, ready as ever to be roasted and devoured.
This dinner will create a lot of dirty dishes, but it's worth it because when you're finished you have dinner for the next 3 days. And you WILL keep eating it for that long, it's addicting. When you get that perfect bite, with a little piece of every ingredient, your taste buds will say, "more please!"
A few notes: you can't eat the squash skin, so tear the flesh away from it with your fork. Every time you make a squash (acorn, spaghetti, butternut, etc) you should absolutely always scrape out the seeds, roast them, and top your dish with those crispy salty nuggets. They are the perfect compliment to a soft, buttery squash and it makes so much sense! I would go as far as saying that it physically hurts me to see someone serve squash without the seeds on top. It's that important.
P.S. I'm a freak and ended up crumbling crispy bacon on top of this because, I had bacon. For some, this is totally unnecessary and overly-salted. But for post-run Rasheed, it's just right. So, I'm not recommending that you add bacon, but, ya know, if the mood strikes... please let me know so I feel better about my own life decisions.
Acorn Squash Smiles with Lentils
Total Time: 45 minutes
1 acorn squash
1 cup lentils
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil + a drizzle
as much feta cheese as humanly possible
1. Preheat oven to 450. Rinse lentils and pick out any discolored or shriveled ones. Add to a large pot with 2 1/2 cups of water, 2 smashed garlic cloves, and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cover the pot. Let simmer until lentils are soft but chewy and most of the water is gone. Remove garlic cloves and bay leaves and discard. Season cooked lentils with 1 tbsp olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt to taste.
2. While lentils are cooking, open squash, scoop out the seeds and set them aside. Cut squash into "smile" shapes and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle both sides with remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until squash flesh is soft and the bottom of each slice is golden brown.
3. While squash (and lentils) are cooking, clean squash flesh from the seeds. Toss seeds in a splash of olive oil and salt. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and add to the oven with the squash smiles. Seeds are ready a couple minutes after they start popping like popcorn :)
(everything should be just finishing up cooking at about the same time!)
4. Spoon lentils on plate. Top with 3-4 squash smiles, crumbled feta cheese, and a sprinkle of crispy squash seeds. Enjoy!