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Instant Pot Lentil Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

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Wow you guests Instant Pot Lentil Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash. Learn how to cook the perfect lentils in your electric pressure cooker and make a delicious nutrient rich salad using those lentils. Packed with flavors and easy to make. Everyday meal, potlucks or a special occasion, trust me you are sure to impress! Vegan. Gluten-free. Stove top + Instant Pot directions included.

Anvita

Anvita

Instant Pot Lentil Salad with Roasted Butternut squash recipe

Instant Pot Lentil Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Here is why you will love this Instant Pot Lentil Salad with Butternut Squash. A good salad, needs to be nutritious,  refreshing, a good contrast in shape, colors and textures yet the flavors compliment each other. This lentil salad has it all. Perfectly cooked lentils, roasted onions , garlic and butternut squash, leafy greens, bright red berries and season it with a lipsmackingly delicious lemon, maple syrup and cinnamon dressing. Sounds yum?  

This lentil salad is delicious!!! It's packed with sweet, tangy and savory flavors, all in one. Each bite if a burst of flavors in the mouth.

It's full of textures, crisp greens and roasted onions, firm lentils cooked to perfection, soft berries and smooth roasted butternut squash. 

It has a wide array of nutrients from leafy greens, lentils, fruit and vegetables. 

The dressing is sure to tantalize your tastebuds.

Enjoy it as a meal or serve it at a potluck or special occasion, it's love at first bite.

Make it ahead of time or meal prep it, it's easy to put it together. While you are roasting the butternut squash, onions and garlic , you cook the lentils in you pressure cooker on one side and wash the berries and greens and keep the dressing ready.

perfectly cooked instant pot lentil salad with roasted butternut squash

Benefits of Lentils

We love lentils!!! For lots of reasons. 

  • Great source of plant based protein and fiber, which makes it great for vegans and vegetarians.
  • Just one cup of lentils offer a wide variety of nutrients to nourish our bodies.
  • Lentils are hearty.
  • Keep you full as they are high in fiber.
  • Easier to digest than beans.
  • Help regulate blood sugar levels.

That is why you see us using a lot of lentils in our recipes. We have lot of lentil recipes for you. Try our Italian Lentil SoupLentil SpaghettiLentils and Rice, Mung Lentil Crepes, Lentil Fritters, Indian Yellow Lentil Dal or the Indian Black Lentil Dal. Trust me you will fall in love with Lentils, because they are so versatile.lentils in a bowl

How to make Instant Pot Lentils

It took me a few experiments to master the art of getting cooking the lentils perfectly in my pressure cooker to throw into my salad. Cooking lentils in a soup or a curry is easy, because you can still make do with a recipe if the lentils are slightly overcooked. However when it comes to adding lentils to your salad, the lentils need to be perfectly cooked, stay firm and not become mushy. cooking lentils in instant pot recipe

For this recipe I cooked the lentils in my Instant Pot. It's easy and I don't have to babysit anymore now that I know the right lentil to liquid ratio, time and settings. I flavored the lentils with a bay leaf, fresh rosemery and some salt. You can find the detailed recipe in the recipe card towards the end of the post.

1: 1.5 lentil to liquid ratio

8 minutes high pressure

quick release

Cooking Lentils on Stove Top / How to cook Lentils on Stove Top

If you don't already have an electric pressure cooker yet, we highly recommend you to get one, here is why. Until then here how I cooked the lentils on my stove top before I had my electric pressure cookers.

1 : 2 lentil to liquid ratio

You can flavor the lentils by adding bay leaves, thyme or rosemary and salt. Once you bring the water to boil you add in the lentils and simmer uncovered for about 20-30 minutes until they are tender. Lastly drain the excess liquid if any before you use the lentils in a salad.

lentil salad with butternut squash recipe

Which lentils can I use for this salad

When adding lentils to a salad, always pick lentils that will remain firm after being cooked. We have made this recipe several times using green and brown lentils as the cook times for both the lentils is the same.

However you can use any lentil like, french lentils, beluga lentils, black lentils for this recipe, but then the lentil to liquid ratio and cook times will vary accordingly.

Do I need to soak the lentils before cooking

No. Although soaking lentils is always a good idea as it aids digestion. However during our experiments we realized that soaking lentils when you want to add them to a salad, yields mushy lentils.

lentil salad with roasted butternut squash recipe

Can I make this salad ahead of time or freeze it

Make ahead - Cook the lentils, roast the butternut squash, onions and garlic , prepare the dressing and refrigerate them. Bring them to room temperature before you assemble the salad. 

Refrigerating / Freezing - You can refrigerate the lentils for upto a week or freeze them in freezer safe containers for upto 3 weeks. Don't forget to thaw the lentils the night before.

Pro tip - Pour the dressing just before serving. 

How to assemble Instant Pot Lentil Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash 

Putting this salad together is easy peasy. It involves roasting, cooking lentils and preparing the dressing side. These tasks are pretty hands off when the oven and pressure cooker take care of most of it. Below is just a gist of the steps involved to put this together you can find the detailed recipe along with measurements in the recipe card towards the bottom of the post.

roasting butternutnut squash and onions

Roasting

First you start by roasting the butternut squash, onions and garlic. Preheat the oven at 400° F.

You could either use store bought butternut squash cubes or here is how to cut and peel you own butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. Peel and dice the onions into 1 inch cubes. In a bowl throw in the butternut squash, oil, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt. Mix well and spread it the butternut squash of a sheet pan or foil.

In the same bowl toss in the onions and garlic cloves and coat them with the leftover oil mixture. If you need to add a little more oil, feel free to do so as you need to make sure the onions and garlic are well coated too. 

Roast the butternut squash, onions and garlic at 400° F for about 30 minutes until they start browning on the edges..

perfectly cooked tender lentils

Cooking Lentils

While the squash and onions are roasting, cook the lentils either in the Instant Pot or stove top (instructions in recipe card). For ever 1 cup of lentils, take 1.5 cups of either broth or water and add it to the inner pot. Enhance the flavor of the lentils by adding some salt, a bay leaf, some fresh rosemery or fresh thyme, whatever you have handy. Pressure cook for 8 minutes and then quickly release the pressure manually. Drain away the 1 to 2 teaspoon of liquid left in the pot.

1: 1.5 lentil to broth / water ratio

add seasonings

8 minutes high pressure

quick release

Preparing the Dressing

While the squash and onions are roasting and the lentils are cooking, wash the leafy arugula, berries and prepare the dressing. I have used Johannes berries as they are in season here in Germany. However you can always use raspberries or cranberries too. 

For the dressing, mix together freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon powder, salt and parsley. Sure to tantalize your tastebuds when you add it to the salad. Believe me you!!! 

lentil salad dressing

Assembling the salad

Lastly mix the lentils, roasted butternut squash , onions, berries, greens, crush the roasted garlic cloves and drizzle the dressing just before serving. Mix it well and celebrate. For parties and celebrations, I just toss all ready ingredients in a bowl except for the dressing and pour the dressing just when everyone is ready to serve. 

how to cook lentils for a lentil salad

Pro tips

  • If your batch of lentils is old, the lentils might not cook perfectly tender. If that happens you will have to cook them until they become tender. Sometimes no matter how much your cook them there will be a few lentil grains that might not cook at all. It just simply means the lentils are old. 
  • Pour the dressing just before serving to avoid it from being soggy due to the greens. 
  • This recipe is tested with brown and green lentils as the cooking times are the same. If you use another variety of lentils the cooking times will vary accordingly.
  • You do not require to soak the lentils for this recipe.

WHEN YOU TRY THIS LENTIL SALAD RECIPE

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MORE LENTIL RECIPES

lentil salad with butternut squash recipe

Instant Pot Lentil Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Wow you guests Instant Pot Lentil Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash. Learn how to cook the perfect lentils in your electric pressure cooker and make a delicious nutrient rich salad using those lentils. Packed with flavors and easy to make. Everyday meal, potlucks or a special occasion, trust me you are sure to impress! 

Ingredients

For cooking Lentils

  • 1 cup dried brown or green lentils
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 bay leave (optional)
  • 1 spring of rosemery (optional)
  • 1 spring of thyme (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt

For Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash

  • 1 cup butternut squash cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt

Roasted Onions and Garlic

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves 

For Dressing

  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ cup Johannes Berries or Cranberries
  • 10-12 arugula leaves

Instructions

Roasting

First you start by roasting the butternut squash, onions and garlic. Preheat the oven at 400° F.

You could either use store bought butternut squash cubes or here is how to cut and peel you own butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. Peel and dice the onions into 1 inch cubes. In a bowl throw in the butternut squash, oil, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt. Mix well and spread it the butternut squash of a sheet pan or foil.

In the same bowl toss in the onions and garlic cloves and coat them with the leftover oil mixture. If you need to add a little more oil, feel free to do so as you need to make sure the onions and garlic are well coated too. 

Roast the butternut squash, onions and garlic at 400° F for about 30 minutes until they start browning on the edges..

Instant Pot Lentils

While the squash and onions are roasting, cook the lentils either in the Instant Pot. For ever 1 cup of lentils, take 1.5 cups of either broth or water and add it to the inner pot. Enhance the flavor of the lentils by adding some salt, a bay leaf, some fresh rosemary or fresh thyme, whatever you have handy. Pressure cook for 8 minutes and then quickly release the pressure manually. Drain away the 1 to 2 teaspoon of liquid left in the pot.

1: 1.5 lentil to broth / water ratio

add seasonings (salt, bay leaf, rosemary)

8 minutes high pressure

quick release

Cooking Lentils on Stove Top

1 : 2 lentil to liquid ratio

You can flavor the lentils by adding bay leaves, thyme or rosemery and salt. Once you bring the water to boil in a pot, add in the lentils and simmer uncovered for about 20-30 minutes until they are tender. Lastly drain the excess liquid if any before you use the lentils in a salad.

Preparing the Dressing

While the squash and onions are roasting and the lentils are cooking, wash the leafy arugula, berries and prepare the dressing. I have used Johannes berries as they are in season here in Germany. However you can always use raspberries or cranberries too. 

For the dressing, mix together freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon powder, salt and parsley. Sure to tantalize your taste buds when you add it to the salad. Believe me you!!! 

Assembling the salad

Lastly mix the lentils, roasted butternut squash , onions, berries, greens, crush the roasted garlic cloves and drizzle the dressing just before serving. Mix it well and celebrate. For parties and celebrations, I just toss all ready ingredients in a bowl except for the dressing and pour the dressing just when everyone is ready to serve. 

Notes

  • If your batch of lentils is old, the lentils might not cook perfectly tender. If that happens you will have to cook them until they become tender. Sometimes no matter how much your cook them there will be a few lentil grains that might not cook at all. It just simply means the lentils are old. 
  • Pour the dressing just before serving to avoid it from being soggy due to the greens. 
  • This recipe is tested with brown and green lentils as the cooking times are the same. If you use another variety of lentils the cooking times will vary accordingly.
  • You do not require to soak the lentils for this recipe.

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