My winter go-to has been a combination of garlicky labneh (or yogurt), lentils, and some sort of starchy vegetable, whether it’s butternut squash, kabocha squash, or sweet potatoes. It’s nourishing, flavorful, and an ideal vegetarian meal. Here, squash is tossed with lots of warming spices and roasted until caramelized, then laid on top of lemony, herby lentils, and a creamy bed of labneh.
How do I make spiced squash with labneh, lentils, and herbs?
First, mix labneh and garlic together, and season with salt and pepper. Let that sit and marinate, as you prepare the other items.
Next, you’ll prep the squash, cutting it into 1/2-inch rings and tossing with a mixture of oil, garam masala, chili powder, cinnamon, garlic, maple syrup, and salt. The squash bakes in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, flipped halfway through, until browned on both sides and cooked through.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils, then drain them and toss with lemon juice, seasoning, and herbs.
Finally, you’ll put it all together. I like to swoop the creamy labneh onto a platter, then top with squash, lentils, and more fresh herbs.
What ingredients are in this spiced squash with labneh, lentils, and herbs?
Squash: I like to use whatever squash is in season at the moment. Any sweet squash, like butternut squash, delicata, or kabocha is wonderful. I’ve also made this with roasted sweet potatoes (you can cut them into rings, too, or even roast them whole and stuff them with labneh and lentils). If using sweet potatoes, roast 2 medium sweet potatoes in place of 1 large squash. In the summer, you could swap the roasted squash for grilled zucchini or summer squash!
Lentils: Here, I use French green lentils. I like that French lentils retain a little bit of a bite, which offers a nice textural contrast to the softer squash. Black beluga lentils would also work (just make sure to take them off the heat before they soften too much).
Herbs: Cilantro, parsley, and mint would all work well here.
Do I have to peel the skin of butternut squash? Or kabocha squash?
You don’t need to peel butternut squash (or kabocha); the skin is edible, and roasted in this manner, it softens significantly. That being said, you can definitely peel it if you don’t love the skin!
What can I serve this dish with?
This dish can definitely serve 2 on its own, but for something more substantial, you could eat with a side of warm pita or even a bowl of farro. You can also serve as a side, to accompany a pasta dish or a big salad.
Spiced Squash with Labneh, Lentils, and Herbs Recipe
- 1 cup labneh (or Skyr or Greek Yogurt)
- 1 small clove garlic (finely grated or minced)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium butternut squash, about 2 pounds (or kabocha squash, 2 small delicata squash, or 2 medium sweet potatoes)
- Olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 cup French green lentils (rinsed and drained to remove any debris)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 lemon
- A generous handful of herbs (cilantro, mint, and/or parsley, roughly chopped)
- Set a rack in the bottom-third of the oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix labneh and garlic, and season with salt and pepper (err on the side of less garlic to start and add more as needed). Keep, covered, in the fridge while you prepare the other items.
- If using squash, cut the ends off the squash, slice lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds and any fibrous bits. Cut squash into 1/2-inch rings and toss with spices and olive oil (for sweet potato, simply cut into 1/2-inch rings). I leave the skin on, but you can peel it if you'd like. Place squash into a bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, garam masala, chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or as desired). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (it may take less time for smaller squash), flipping halfway, until browned on both sides and cooked through. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- While you’re roasting the squash, cook the lentils. In a medium pot, heat lentils and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer, covered, until lentils are just barely tender and still have a slight bite, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Then, season the lentils with salt, lemon juice, and herbs to taste. Reserve some chopped herbs for garnish.
- To assemble, dollop labneh on plate, then arrange squash, and garnish with lentils and more herbs.