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Couscous Salad with Lentils, Butternut Squash and Grapes

Couscous Salad with Lentils, Butternut Squash and Grapes

The beauty of grain salads is that they can be adjusted to taste. Don't like blue cheese? Try feta or goat! Think red grapes are too sweet? Try green! You get the idea.... I soak the onion because otherwise raw onion really bothers my stomach. Many people who have eaten at my house have thanked me for this little trick.
Course Entree
Cuisine salads
Author TheSpicedLife

Ingredients

  • 2 cups couscous
  • water for couscous (see notes above, I like 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 cup lentils du puy
  • 1 med-large red onion finely chopped, divided
  • 1 small-medium butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2-3 t extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • 3 handfuls pecans chopped
  • 3 large handfuls red grapes-- eyeball the grapes and slice the larger ones in half
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
  • 5 oz crumbled blue cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Place the couscous in a large, heat-proof bowl. Pour 1 1/4 cups (or however much water you prefer--see my notes above) lightly salted boiling water over the couscous (I like to use my Keurig for this). Place plastic wrap over the bowl to force the couscous to absorb water AND steam. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, then uncover to cool.

  3. Finely chop the onion--place 2/3 of it into a small bowl and then cover with cold water. Set aside.
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the lentils and the remaining 1/3 onion. Reduce to simmer and let cook until the lentils are tender. Add a large pinch of salt toward the end of cooking time.
  5. While the lentils are cooking, prep the butternut squash. Toss in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes, until tender and browning.
  6. When the lentils are tender, drain them.
  7. Add the butternut squash and lentils to the couscous. Toss.
  8. Pour the dressing over the couscous while it is still warm. Toss.
  9. Add the pecans and grapes. Toss again.
  10. As long as the mixture is not hot (if it is, let it cool for a few minutes), add the parsley and blue cheese. Toss and taste for salt and pepper. Serve slightly warm or room temperature. Can also be made ahead and served cool.