Quick low cal dressing with chicken, butternut squash and lentils

I always remember being told that McDonald’s salads are as bad for you as a Quarter Pounder with cheese because the dressing is so calorific. Whether that’s true or not (obviously I don’t go to McD’s for  a salad!), it inspired me to think about creating a dressing which tastes fab but doesn’t count as a meal in itself, and this yoghurt-based dollop of goodness does exactly that.

Last night I whipped up this chicken, butternut and lentil supper for a couple of friends, but really this dressing can be plonked on top of chicken, root vegetables,  white fish and can be used as a dip for crudite.

For four people you need:

  • 6 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash
  • 2 packs of Merchant Gourmet puy lentils, I never bother cooking them from scratch as time is of the essence
  • 1 onion
  • clove of garlic
  • ground cinnamon
  • sumac
  • hot sauce, I think Cholula Hot Sauce is particularly scrum
  • 4 tablespoons of natural probiotic yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • juice of half a lemon
  • corriander
  • pumpkin seeds
  • olive oil

First thing to do is whack your oven onto 200ºC and let her heat up. Meanwhile chop up your butternut squash into nice strips or half moons and give them a rub in a good sprinkling of cinnamon and olive oil. Bung them in the oven to roast for 40 mins or until the skins have caramalised.


While the butternut is roasting, marinate the chicken thighs in some olive oil, a good glug of hot sauce and a pinch of sumac. Slice up an onion and fry on a gentle heat in some olive oil until soft, transluscent and sweet and then add your chopped garlic clove and cook until you can smell the delicious garlicy goodness. Throw in your lentils and a couple of tablespoons of boiling water and gently warm your lentils up.


Take out your butternut squash and turn on your grill. When hot, grill the chicken thighs for 12 minutes so that the tops are nicely brown and the meat is cooked through. Rest it for 10 minutes before slicing. To make the dressing, combine the yoghurt, tahini and lemon juice in a bowl with a decent pinch of salt and peper. If it’s looking too thick add a splash of cold water and Bob’s your Uncle…it really is that simple.


Finally, in a dry pan toast off some pumpkin seeds until you hear them popping, cracking and begin to see them split.  You are now ready to assemble, start with lentils, butternut, chicken, dressing, fresh corriander and a smattering of pumpkin seeds. Healthy, moreish and in my book, YummaNumma.


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