The truth is I don't even like turkey. And I can tell you the last time I ate turkey was 11 months ago when I had deep fried turkey for the first time at Luna Park in Los Angeles. It was the best turkey I've ever had in my life but since then I have not found myself in the same opportunity (politely declining Jennie O's proposition to promote their Turkey Burger Pop Up Stand and receiving $70 worth of turkey products).
I didn't even eat turkey last Thanksgivings. I stuffed myself with stuffing and a quinoa pumpkin salad instead. I've never loved the flavorless, dry fowl but that doesn't mean I don't love Thanksgivings and "pre-medicating" with Aunt Edna with martinis before so-and-so Aunt shows up.
So before pumpkin goes completely out of style (it never should). I'm sharing a recent composed salad I've created with pumpkin, lentils, bulgur, and a tahini dressing. I was inspired to make this tahini dressing from one my favorite commenters, Helen, who I've sworn is my Greek sister from another mister. This combination is a winner. It's hearty, seasonal, and down right delicious. If I had it my way, I would nix the turkey and eat this instead.
Lentils are sexy!
Pumpkin and Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing
For the Salad (makes 8):
- 1 cup dried lentils (mixed red and brown)
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups water
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 dried chilies (optional)
- 2 table spoons olive oil
- 1 small pumpkin or autumn squash (about 1 lb)
- 1 bunch of parseley, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cup prepared bulgur wheat
For the dressing:
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 juice of a lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- salt to taste
- In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, chili peppers and diced celery, saute until soft. Add the lentils then add the wine and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender but not mushy, around 25-30 minutes. Season at the end with a little salt.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. De-seed and chop squash into small pieces, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast on a baking sheet for about 25 minutes.
- Make tahini dressing: Combine ingredients in a min food processor and whirl until smooth, or chop finely by hand and mix in a bowl.
- Prepare bulgur as directed. Usually the ratio is 2 parts water to 1 part bulgur.
- When everything is completed, combined all ingredients in a bowl, tossing to coat everything. This salad is fantastic warm and also fabulous cold. The more time it has to sit, the more the flavors will evolve. You can add roasted pumpkin seeds or feta/goat cheese on top before serving.