When I saw this beautifully photographed blog entry featuring Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad I knew I had to make it. Its ingredients were perfect for the cooling weather and it had a perfect autumnal appearance.
Working with an entire pumpkin intimidated me, even though I've hacked my way through cubing and peeling butternut, acorn and other squashes. My memories of arduous pumpkin carving with my sorority turned out to be greatly exaggerated, at least in the face of my more recent experiences cutting squash. It turns out (sugar) pumpkin is MUCH easier to cut than squash. So don't be afraid to try making this at home.
With the exception of the smoky flavor, which apparently is key and what I bought a brand new special kind of paprika for from Whole Foods, I love this dish. It is creamy, salty, sweet and slightly bitter in one fell swoop, meaning it manages to satisfy every possible craving I can have at once while still being healthy. My only changes were using wild arugula and tossing the pumpkin seeds in the leftover oil, paprika, salt, etc. mixture, roasting them in the oven for the last 10-ish minutes and topping the salad with them for added crunch.
N.b. You can get the special smoked paprika from the Fruit Exchange (cash only) in Chelsea Market for $1.50 in a plastic tub instead of paying around $5.00 for the cute, hot pink tin at Whole Foods. I need to remember that place is the best deal for spice purchases!