Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Anti Thanksgiving Dish: Pumpkin and Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing

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. 


Ivy said...

What a wonderful recipe. I must try it.

JustinM said...

Tomorrow will be the first Thanksgiving in 7 years that I haven't deep fried a turkey.

Esi said...

I'm soo not a Thanksgiving person. This salad is perfect for me!

Maria said...

I thought the salad from your POM party sounded exquisite, but this one looks just as good!

Helen said...

Sister from another mister here...thanks for the shout out! Not a huge turkey fan either although I do love lentils and pumpkin and bulgur (delicious sounding combo) and this tahini dressing is killah - if I say so myself. Glad to hear you enjoyed it :)

Mary said...

I love this! It looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Blessings...Mary

Anna A. said...

Ivy - Thanks, I hope you do! I can't wait to make it again myself.

JustinM - I would like turkey if I were you, but maybe not so much today.

Esi - Hello fellow Thanksgiving commiserator, a toast to lentil salad!

Maria - Thanks, I guess it depends if you're going for a hearty salad or not, but in general, pumpkin is amazing in salads.

Helen - Love the tahini dressing and thanks for encouraging me to make it! I can't wait to try it on other dishes now.

Mary - Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

my husband has a real problem with turkey, which is why we never cook it, even though a lot of people raise turkeys in crete - he says it gives of a smell that he doesnt like; i've cooked it before very successfully so i miss it myself

at least you've proved that you dont need to have your turkey if you want stuffing!

ps - thanks for the wonderful story about the kinezo in your midst!

Indie.Tea said...

Your 'salad' sounds delicious and hearty, much hearty than the typical salad. Even though I'm not a fan of lentils, I might make an exception for this.

Anonymous said...

Hello there!!! Happy Thanksgiving! . :) :) :)
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and each yr I like to get into the mood-extend the holiday, when it were-by reading "Thanksgiving novels." Unsurprisingly, those stories are mostly about friends and family, about coming together to heal old hurts and showing thanks for the gift of love. ... . *
You Are Far better Off Today Than You Had been eight Yrs Ago?

Matthew Carpenter said...

I bet this was money in the bank, good work here, I'm into this action.

elra said...

Your salad with tahini dressing really tempting. Sounds really super.

Anna A. said...

Med Kiwi - I would eat your turkey any day!

Indie.Tea - You don't like lentils?! Well maybe this salad could help ease you into them.

Matthew - Thanks :) The lentil action is where it's at.

Elra - Tahini is my new favorite dressing recipe! It's like liquid hummus :)