roast squash with lentils and toasted goat's cheese

i know autumn has arrived when squashes and pumpkins appear in the shops and markets. i love trying different types and took full advantage of a recent offer for a mixed selection in my vegetable box.

the gem squash will be boiled and mashed with lots of butter, salt and pepper. i roasted the onion squash for a chorizo, bean and squash salad (similar to this) and the acorn squash was used in a wonderfully simple and very delicious meal of roast squash with lentils and goat’s cheese.

 the acorn squash has a thin skin which means you don’t need to peel it before roasting and eating (this is true for onion and butternut squash as well) and the sweetness contrasts wonderfully with earthy puy lentils and rich tangy goats cheese. i served this with a green salad on the side.

roast squash with lentils and toasted goat's cheese serves 4

500g squash, deseeded, peeled if necessary, and cut into 2cm half-moons or similar chunks

3 red onions, two cut into eighths and one finely chopped

olive oil

½ a teaspoon of chilli flakes

1 sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

a couple of sprigs of thyme

250g puy lentils

750ml vegetable stock

balsamic vinegar

250g goat’s cheese with a rind, cut into four 75g slices

heat the oven to 200c. place the squash and onion eighths into a roasting tin. drizzle with olive oil, season well and sprinkle with the chilli flakes and rosemary. roast until the until the squash and onions are soft – i checked mine after 20 minutes and they were almost done but it will depend which squash you use and how big the slices are.

meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan and gently fry the chopped onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaf and thyme until the onion has softened. add the lentils and stock, bring to the boil, then simmer until the lentils are just soft (c30 minutes). if there is too much liquid turn the heat up and boil most of it away in the final 5 minutes of cooking. remove the bay and thyme sprigs, season and dress with a  glug of balsamic vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.

just before you are ready to serve, heat the grill to high and place the goats cheese on a baking tray covered with a silicon sheet/ grease proof paper. toast the cheese until the top is brown and bubbling.

assemble the dish with roasted pumpkins and onions on top of your lentils. top with the toasted goats cheese (remove from the baking tray using a fish slice) and drizzle with a little extra balsamic vinegar.