Gino D'Acampo Salads

Lentil and squash salad with walnuts and cranberries

When Gino visited Umbria he met a farmer named Ettore, who made it his mission to cultivate organic lentils using traditional methods. He showed him the old machine he uses for sorting and cleaning the pulses – the same one he used as a child.

For lunch Gino made this salad from his beautiful lentils, combining them with roasted butternut squash, locally grown walnuts, cranberries and other ingredients – it’s a really exciting mix of contrasting flavours, colours and textures.

Serves 4


– 400g butternut squash, cut into 1cm cubes
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 400g dried green lentils
– Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
– 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
– 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced
– 75g walnut pieces
– 50g dried cranberries, finely chopped
– 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
– Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4. Put the squash in a large roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until soft and slightly golden – then leave to cool.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over a high heat. Add the lentils and cook for about 18-20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain well and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, put the lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly add the extra virgin olive oil, whisking constantly, until combined. Add some sea salt and pepper.

Place the lentils and squash in a large bowl and add the lemon zest, spring onions, cucumber, walnuts, cranberries and parsley. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.

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