So many people are asking me for great vegetable recipes these days, so this one is for you… a very different and hearty salad from the Pasolivo Olive Oil Company in Paso Robles, California. Add a piece of sautéed chicken or meat and your dinner is done!
Paso Robles (in San Luis Obispo County) is an interesting area in itself… a wine region that is less known than Napa or Sonoma, but rapidly becoming a popular destination wine and resort area. Wine Enthusiast Magazine named it “Wine Region of the Year” in 2013… Obviously because it is the up and coming place to go for some interesting wines. Having been there a number of times, I can tell you that it can boast of being a quiet little western town with GREAT restaurants and places to stay. The hills are alive with up and coming wineries and darling start-ups, like the Pasolivo Olive Oil Company, which was the product of the original owner’s wife’s hobby. I love their oils, but especially the flavored ones… lemon and lime. They told me they crush the skins of the fruit with the oil to get these lovely tastes. In my opinion, they are the best citrus flavored oils out there and worth ordering on the Internet. I use them to flavor vegetables and to make vinaigrette to flavor salads. (Remember… fruit acids and salt spike up the flavor of everything else in the dish!) So here’s the EASY recipe!
WINTER SQUASH SALAD
1 medium butternut squash, roasted until you can just get a fork easily through it and cut into cubes
2 sweet potatoes, roasted al dente and cut into cubes
1 T ground cumin; 2 tsp. salt; Pinch of paprika
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup blonde-green lentils, cooked (1 cup to 4 cups of water. Simmer 30 minutes.)
¼ cup + ½ T fresh lemon juice; ½ cup olive oil (Passolivo suggests its California Blend)
½ cup green onions, finely chopped
2 tsp salt (I left this out because there was enough salt in the salad, but taste yours and decide. Conditions can vary.)
Pinch of paprika
½ cup feta cheese
Chopped nuts and/or bacon (Optional. I used turkey bacon and no nuts.)
METHOD: Mix the salad ingredients together. Then mix the dressing ingredients together. Combine them just before serving.