This post was written in partnership with my friends at Mann’s Vegetables. As always, all opinions are my own!
Christmas Eve is probably my favourite night of the year, even now more than ever because of my three kids. The entire day and night are full of anticipation and magic as they await Santa’s arrival. We usually host at our house, and spend the day doing fun wintery activities like tobogganing and skating, and then end the day at our house where we put out a spread of our favourite appetizers and salads for everyone to enjoy (this is the best part – the food!).
As a dietitian, I admit, I do try to balance things out with a few veggie and fruit-focused dishes (to go along with the amazingly delicious, not-so-nutritious ones that we love so much). The holidays are so full of rich, indulgent foods, that I feel better knowing that there are some nutritious options on the table.
This Warm Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad is one of my favourites, because it’s not only beautifully colourful and festive, but it’s also extremely easy to prepare, and loaded full of fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. My star ingredients? Mann’s new Power Blend, which is full of things like Kale, Kohlrabi, Brussel Sprouts and carrots, and Mann’s Butternut Squash Zigzags (my kids love the shape of these!). They’re fresh veggies that are pre-washed and cut, which makes my life SO much easier. This salad makes the perfect addition to our Christmas Eve spread, but it also makes for a great turkey dinner side dish (or, quite honestly, a meal on its own!). I even love it as leftovers, for lunch the next day.
Check out how my kids and I throw it together in less than 10 minutes:
Easy Warm Butternut Squash, Lentil and Cranberry Salad
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup Mann’s Butternut Squash Zigzags (sliced into smaller pieces)
- 1 package Mann’s Power Blend
- 1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup red quinoa, cooked
- 1/3 cup Pecans
- 1/3 cup feta cheese
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup (120ml) olive oil
- ½ cup pasteurized honey
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons lemon or orange juice
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk together all ingredients except for the olive oil. Once whisked well, add olive oil gradually, whisking constantly.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet
- Add Mann’s Butternut Squash Zigzags, Mann’s Power Blend and salt and pepper and saute until tender-crisp (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add cooked quinoa and lentils and sauté for another 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with pecans, feta cheese and cranberries. Drizzle vinaigrette dressing on top and toss lightly before serving!