This is the meal from a recent dinner party I promised to share with you last week that uses the toasted pumpkin seed salsa, the creamy base you see underneath the lentils and sweet potatoes. I like to serve this meal platter-style, which is one of my go-to solutions for easy dinner parties. The components are spread out on a large platter (preferably oval or rectangular in shape) and layered up. The layers of colors and ingredients look impressive, but require little effort. And with the main course all on one plate, I can focus on fun toppings and accompaniments served on the side so everyone can customize their own plate to taste. This makes for a fun, interactive dinner and is also a way to serve people with various food sensitivities.
I've served this platter with the pumpkin seed salsa both as the bottom layer and as a side sauce to accompany other favorite toppings like chopped avocado, feta, massaged red cabbage, and flatbread (all included in the recipe below). Either way the salsa is a nice complement to the orange-roasted sweet potatoes. The caramelized orange wedges add a welcome burst of juicy brightness to every bite while the red onion and whole garlic cloves roasting with the sweet potatoes get soft and sweet. The black lentils are simply dressed with harissa sauce and lemon - a nice contrast to the sweet potatoes.
Bottom line, if you're looking for an easy, tasty solution for serving veg and meat eaters alike, this meal will surely please. It's big on flavor, hearty, and there is enough variety for everyone to find something they like. And if you don't want to serve it platter-style, it makes a great bowl meal too.
P.S. Photos are of an individual plate but the components can be layered on a large platter (or in a bowl) all the same. I haven't managed to snap photos of the platter spread since I'm always serving it at night (poor lighting) when company is over (poor social skills). Maybe I should have a lunch party instead?!
For other platter meal ideas check out my archives.
Orange-Roasted Sweet Potato with Black Lentils
Notes: I like the peppery bite of black lentils and the visual contrast of black on orange (although sometimes the black color fades after cooking). You can also use green lentils. You're looking for a lentil that holds it shape and doesn't turn to mush. The pumpkin seed salsa and massaged red cabbage can be made up to 2 days in advance.
Orange-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Generous knob of ghee (or coconut oil if vegan)
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 2 red onions
- 1 large orange
- 6 fat cloves garlic (keep the skin on!)
- 1 heaped tsp. smoked paprika
- Salt + pepper to taste
Harissa Black Lentils
- 1 1/2 cups (300 gr) black lentils (preferably soaked)
- 1-2 heaped Tbsp. harissa sauce (in a jar, not a tube)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt + pepper to taste
- Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salsa (not optional ;-)
- Avocado, fresh cilantro, massaged red cabbage, feta, flatbread
- Preheat oven to 220 C/425 F. Place ghee on a large roasting tray or baking dish and pop in the oven while preheating until ghee melts.
- Prepare the orange-roasted sweet potatoes. Cut sweet potatoes in half around the middle. Slice each half into wedges (you'll get approximately 12-16 wedges per sweet potato). Slice onion into wedges and oranges into thick half-moon shapes. Add everything to melted ghee in baking dish. Throw in garlic cloves (keep the skin on!), smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands or a large spoon. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until sweet potatoes and onions are meltingly soft, a little golden brown on the edges, and the orange has caramelized.
- In the meantime, rinse and drain lentils and cook in boiling water until al-dente (this takes 10 minutes if lentils were soaked). Drain lentils and add to a large mixing bowl with harissa, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well, taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Plate it up! On a large serving platter layer pumpkin seed salsa (or serve it on the side), lentils, sweet potato mixture (don't forget to peel the garlic before serving), and massaged red cabbage, if using. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with toppings/sides of choice.