Every weekend my mom calls and asks, with all the hope she can muster, “So….did you go out this weekend?”

She’s still holding strong to her belief that bars are the place to meet future husbands.

And I still strongly beg to differ.

We’ve agreed to disagree.

(Well…I’ve agreed to disagree.  She’s agreed to keep calling and arguing with me about it.  Sigh.  Moms.  Can’t live with em, or without em.)


Normally my answer is no.  My crazy first year of med school aside, I actually don’t really like drinking to the point where I have no idea what my middle initial is and I hate waking up the next morning feeling like death epitomized.  And let’s be honest…hangovers only get worse as you get older.

In college, I used to be able to party until I didn’t remember any of my initials.  And then wake up and go get dim sum the next morning.  Who.Was.I?


Anyway.  In the New Year, I’m working on saying yes.  Yes to social outings.  Yes to social drinking.  Yes to letting my guard down just a little.  Yes.

So on Friday, I mentally prepared myself to socialize to the extreme, make vapid conversation with strange men, and dance as if I were in the privacy of my own bedroom.  And went out.

It was one of my friend’s birthdays and he had made reservations at this bar called Milk & Honey that was styled after a London speakeasy.  They only took reservations for a max of five people and so we just split the party up, with my roommate and I on one reservation and the other five guys on another, thinking we’d be able to mix and mingle with each other as we pleased.

So we go.  I’m wearing a silver sparkly tank top that my mom gave me for Christmas (along with the push-up bra she also threw in my stocking.  Leopard print.  Yes, mom.  We get the message.) and the skinniest of skinny jeans, ready to meet and mingle and give out my number to random strangers.

Only to discover that this is possibly the most anti-social bar of all of New York City’s liquor-serving establishments.

There are rules against speaking to each other.  Actual hard and fast rules that you’ll only discover when you try to walk across the bar to your friends’ table and are chastised/basically blockaded by the waitress.  It was worse than trying to get through Customs with real serious Italian focaccia smuggled into your carry-on.  I should know.


If this experience is foretelling of what’s going to happen in the rest of 2012…I think it’s safe to say that this will not be the year I meet my future husband at a bar.  Again.

No matter how many sequins my mother tries to infiltrate my wardrobe with.

It might be the year of really great salads, though, if this salad has any predictive value.

Roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts are tossed with some smoked paprika and cumin and then roasted until they are sweet, smoky and just a bit spicy.   Mix em all up with earthy lentils, bitter arugula, and a really seductive goat cheese.  And there you have a miracle in a very large and filling bowl.

Perfect for just about any meal, but especially if you did happen to forget your middle initials the night before.  You’ll be needing some really great detox food.  And this has most certainly got you covered.


Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils, Brussels Sprouts and Goat Cheese
Serves 4, adapted from Smitten Kitchen


  • 3/4 cup black or green lentils
  • 1 kabocha or butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 7 oz baby arugula
  • 1 cup soft crumbed goat cheese (I used a maple walnut flavor)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash cubes and brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.
  2. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.
  3. Combine lentils, squash, and brussels sprouts with arugula, half of goat cheese, and mint.  Drizzle with vinegar and sprinkle with remaining goat cheese.

I am submitting this to Souper Sundays, hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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74 Responses to Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils, Brussels Sprouts and Goat Cheese

  1. Lora says:

    Is it wrong that I want this for breakfast?

  2. Colleen says:

    Brussels sprouts and butternut squash are two of my fav veggies to enjoy during the winter. This dish overall is totally my kind of meal!

  3. Nicole, RD says:

    If your mom really put a leopard-print bra in your stocking, she would get along with my mom brilliantly! Hilarious! 🙂 And I can confirm that hangovers just get worse as the years go on. I drank like a fish in college and now, anything more than 2 drinks has me regretting my actions the next morning. TWO. I’m old.

    This salad looks FABULOUS. I need more brussels sprouts in my life…so good!

  4. I love your stories! Interesting to hear about someone’s elses life. Love this salad too!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I love squash on raw greens, especially when it’s still warm, mmm.

  6. bellini says:

    This is certainly a healthy way to begin the new year.

  7. Why don’t you try to meet a guy through a running club or marathon group? Or like a food tasting? Someone who shares your interests.

    How’s the running going?

  8. patsy says:

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s weird that a bar in NY would NOT want people to interact and actually meet up? That usually leads to more drinks being bought, etc. etc. etc. 😉

    That being said, you are so right about hangovers being worse as you get older… definitely harder to recover! Your salad would be welcome detox though. yum!

  9. Considering I am obsessed with the combination of squash and goat cheese I am sure I’d love this salad! Oh and I’m pretty sure my mom does the same thing to my sister on a regular basis.

  10. Amy says:

    Your mom put a push up bra in your stocking? No she didn’t! On New Year’s eve, I drank vitamin water and was in bed by 9:30. I woke up the next morning feeling 80…er…rested.

  11. Danielle says:

    This sounds great – I love brussel sprouts and goat cheese!

  12. Foodycat says:

    Why on earth aren’t you allowed to talk to each other? How bizarre! This salad, on the other hand, is not bizarre. I’d much rather sit at home with a bowl of this than head out in a sparkly top.

  13. Allie K says:

    Great post! ….And I shy away from these recipes (like your chowder) because I’ve never cubed & peeled a squash. I’ve only cut it in half and roasted it. Your way sounds difficult. Is it?

  14. yummm im on such a goat cheese kick lately!

  15. Kim says:

    Ha! You’re saying yes and I’m busy saying no. What a pair we would make.

    I would say yes to this salad though. In fact, I bought a butternut the other day with a salad like this in mind. That one didn’t have goat cheese though and now I realize that I must have goat cheese.

  16. Laura says:

    I just bought smoked paprika and goat cheese at the store yesterday so now I know how to put them to good use!

  17. That sounds like a sad bar, appropriately named milk and honey. It should be renamed dessert bar. Many friends always talk about libraries being a good place to meet?

  18. I’m with you. I’d much rather eat my calories than drink them anyways! Perhaps I will start with this salad!

    Nothing wrong with more sequins though.

  19. Your Mom is to much! My Mom kept pressuring me, when are you going to have a baby? Your clock is ticking. Well my clock is getting ready to shut off, and it’s just not going to happen. I think by now she gave up on me! he he The salad looks wonderful, I love all the combination of veggies. I have brussels sprouts in the fridge that I have to use right away, there already looking kind of funny. I think I’ll try roasting them your way and see how it goes! Have a great week oh and you’ll meet your future husband when you least expect it. It will be a kind of day when your walking to the coffee shop in sweats, no makeup and in a crappy mood. Thats when you’ll find him and he will love you for who you are because thats how he met you! 😉

  20. Big Dude says:

    Joanne – I don’t know if you’ve ever grown squash, but it usually doesn’t take many plants to provide all you want, but you are one person, who I think could use up a small garden full :-).

  21. Lyndsey says:

    This looks too healthy! 🙂 Do you always leave the skin on the squash? Does it hold up better in the salad that way? just wondering.

    I didn’t get married until I was 35, and I remember my mom telling me once “you could be married by now if you weren’t so picky” 😉

  22. Beth says:

    I’m so nosy that I had to google this bar that doesn’t let its patrons speak to each other. (Maybe there are a lot of celebrities, and this gives them some privacy?) Sorry about your antisocial evening, but at least it’s a good story!

  23. Mary says:

    It is a shame the evening did not go as planned. I hope your friend was not disappointed. The salad is, as usual, wonderfully well-thought out. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  24. Sofia says:

    what’s so sad is that it’s practically impossible to meet a guy (that’s likely to stick around for more than a night) at a bar. so where are the men? it’s tough, lady. keep putting yourself out there and i think you’ll meet someone when you least expect. and enjoy those speakeasy cocktails with friends and forget the dudes – the cocktails are way more impressive 😉

  25. Jenna says:

    I echo Lora–I’m wanting this for breakfast. Or in the next 5 minutes, which I guess would be more like lunch. The point is: the sooner the better.
    And you rock that leopard print push-up bra! I just happen to have a leopard pring push-up bra from VS, and every time I wear it, I feel like I can do anything.

  26. Megan says:

    Ooh. I made a similar salad from Bon Appetit last year. The brussels sprouts are an awesome addition!

  27. I love your story! You totally made me laugh. & smile. Maybe 2012 can be the year of saying Yes, just not Yes to meeting boys in bars haha :). {Love the salad!}

  28. Mila says:

    Love this post! Made me smile!
    Your pictures are gorgeous…this salad is no exception 🙂

  29. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, I agree with you! I don’t think that a bar is a good place to meet someone. Just think how bad the lighting is!! I think the market is a good place. This way you know the guy likes to eat! Not drink!!
    Anyway, I just love this salad and all that is in it. I would enjoy a big bowl of this. Blessings my dear. Catherine xo

  30. marla says:

    Oh how I wish I had this for lunch today! Love the combo of all of my favorite veggies 🙂

  31. I thought supermarkets were a great place to meet future husbands. Keep your eyes open while you look for ingredients to make your fabulous recipes.

    Camila Faria

  32. You’ve done it again! I seriously think you cannot go wrong with squash and Brussels sprouts. But add lentils and goat cheese and I am totally sold!

  33. Love everything that’s in that dish! What a strange bar.

  34. This looks exacly like my lunch tomorrow 🙂 perfect! Love the lentils addition! Great photos and great story, made me greatfull my mom gave up on me long time ago…just to focus on my sister 😉

  35. Ha ha ha…aaaah mom’s…they try, don’t they? What a crazy sounding bar. Why in world aren’t you allowed to talk to anybody. That’s just weird. This salad however is not weird. It is delicious. In my mind.

  36. There’s something magical about the mix of lentils, mint and goat cheese. So yummy anytime of the day. Add squash and brussel sprouts and it’s a power salad. Really lovely Joanne.

    I’m on your side, you’ll meet your husband running marathons or immersed in one of your other endeavors, not at a bar. That’s just my take. No matter how hot you are in skinny jeans and a sequin tank.

  37. Haha, oh, Joanne, NY bars are definitely a piece of work…

  38. OohLookBel says:

    My worst nightmare would be a) finding a door bitch *inside* the bar, and b) getting a leopard bra from my mother. EEK! Thank goodness you have such a well-balanced outlook. Love the roasted brussels sprouts, too!

  39. You are too funny, Joanne…. although I find bars so dumb because you can’t hear anyone talk. 😉 I made SK’s salad before but didn’t like it… now that I’ve finally found a wonderful tahini, I may have to revisit it with your wonderful modifications. 🙂

    • Joanne says:

      I’ve made the one you’re talking about and I LOVE it…I make it at least once a year. It’s one of the few recipes I ever repeat. I’m thinking the flavor of the tahini is key though!

  40. Oh – wait – this is a different SK recipe! Muahahaa~

  41. Shannon says:

    well, you never know where you’ll meet mr. eatswellwithothers, but… i’m inclined to say not a bar 😉 sounds like one crazy place. I feel as if i’ve made this before. but you have me starving at the looks of that–so delicious.

  42. Candace says:

    Maple Walnut Flavor Goat Cheese? Be still my heart! This looks fantastic, Joanne!

  43. Lori says:

    Sounds like it’s going to be a fun year! 😉 I think going out is a darn good resolution. There are so many good things in this dish I can’t stand it. It looks amazing!

  44. Hilarious, thought hard to believe, Joanne, that momsey would through her beauty out to those wolves. Mine both just got married this year within 4 months of one another: 31 and 33 years old. It was worth the wait, and neither met their man in a bar. (I did, though – haha)
    The gym was the best place for me in my dating days. Huge social circle, healthy fun, too! Then, volunteer work. But, you know all of this. The salad looks good too. Why not get all your single women friends to invite a guy friend they love who is not for them to a dinner party….

  45. I love the combo of squash and brussels sprouts! And I love that your mom got you a push up bra. Haha!

  46. Reeni says:

    Maple flavored goat cheese takes this right over the top for me! I agree on the bar – it’s not the right place – been there, done that and no good can come of it. Fate. I believe in fate and it could happen anywhere…

  47. Dude, this salad looks I’m thinking my husband might even eat it… which would be a big deal considering it involves veggies. 🙂

  48. kellypea says:

    I have to tell you that at my age (shhh…) you’d think the mom issues wouldn’t exist, but they do. Except in our relationship, the leopard bra and sparkly tank would have been on my mother and not moi. She’s beyond incorrigible and always has been. And? She advised my sister to meet the man of her dreams in bars. She did. He’s a keeper.

    Yes please on this FABULOUS dish. We’re in love with Brussels sprouts. Gotta try it.

  49. Health and deliciousness all in one…
    This is is complete meal, Love it.

    I loved reading this post, it reminded me of my mom efforts to make me go out and meet someone before I met my hubby….

  50. Hannah says:

    Aw, but good on you for going out there and trying! Better than I could do at this point… I should really make the same sort of goals for meeting people, etc.

    Until then, hooray for more yummy brussels sprouts, right?

  51. Natalie says:

    oh man, you basically nailed my favorite combination ever for a salad. all of my favorite things in one place. too good.

  52. Sarah says:

    hilarious! my friend’s mom was always trying to get her to go out and meet guys…and then she did and now she’s married. 🙂 oh moms. the salad sounds awesome by the way!

  53. Deborah says:

    I always get a laugh out of your stories! And I love everything about this salad, except the goat cheese, of course. But I’m sure I’d love it with feta!

  54. Dana says:

    I’m here to tell you, hangovers DO get worse as you get older. The key is to drink often so that your body gets accustomed to the alcohol. 🙂 Beautiful salad! Some of my favorite things in there!

  55. I am really glad that I have found this post and I thank you for letting us know about this information….This is a big help for sure!!Thanks!!
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  56. Kristen says:

    I could support you in a year of really great salads. If that one is any indication, you are off to a stellar start!

  57. thank god there is a recipe with olives! I feel like I am the only olive lover sometimes. this looks amazing in the fact that it is healthy but so flavorful

  58. That Girl says:

    A bar where you can’t speak to the other clientele? That sounds like the stupidest business move ever.

  59. uhmmmm did someone say goat cheese?

  60. Nicole says:

    Looks delicious!!
    Yeah for mom’s – i say be glad she doesn’t ask if you are a lesbian! Have a few friends whose moms have just given up that they even like men! 🙂

  61. Doesn’t your mom want you to find some handsome foreign doctor type? 😉

    I’ve gotta get back into eating salads. They really bored me last year when I was in the dorms -.- But yours looks pretty!

  62. I LOVE salads like this one, yum!

  63. Johanna GGG says:

    this salad has all of my favourite things in it – I would marry you for your cooking

  64. This salad looks wonderful! And this post was hysterical – as a fellow med student, I completely sympathize! Definitely not so easy to get yourself out anymore!!

  65. Cara says:

    Well this looks mighty familiar… and I’m so glad you finally got around to making it! Love how you’ve fancied it up too 🙂

  66. Chris says:

    I use smoked paprika in a lot of seasonings for meat but haven’t used it much in veggie dishes. I have to try it out especially since I plan to grill more veggies this year.

  67. This is a seriously gorgeous salad Joanne – you could have the whole world eating lentils and brussels sprouts with these flavourings! 😉

  68. RecipeGirl says:

    I’m loving absolutely EVERYTHING about this salad. It’s totally my kind of dinner. And it’s beautiful to boot. YUM!

  69. Haha, I’ve been to Milk & Honey. Dying over the sequins. I will say, I have friends who have met their husbands in bars, so you never know! 🙂 Love this salad…totally something I would make.

  70. moms… I know what u mean! -_- *shakehead*
    YAY Detox food! XD Defently tasty!

  71. Where do you find the time to socialize? You must have 38 hour days. Where do you find the time to make such terrific salads?

  72. This looks amazing with the lentils, roasted squash and creamy goat cheese. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. 😉

  73. I remember making this and loving the smoked paprika on the squash. I love that you added brussels sprouts too. Good for you for being brave and going out to bars with the intention of meeting people. I could never do it!

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