One thing that I love about holidays is how they bookend a year. The marking of time brings memories into sharper relief. I was reminded of a Thanksgiving at my dad’s house many years ago, perhaps the first Thanksgiving where we had friends join, along with my boyfriend at the time. There was something really delightful in having these people with us because prior to that, the holiday had always been a small one, with just immediate family. Everyone brought a dish. My dad made a wild rice stuffing that he always makes, my boyfriend brought homemade samosas, and I made a vegan stuffing.
Sure, it wasn’t technically a stuffing if not stuffed into a bird, but it has such a cozy ring to it, whereas dressing sounds a little austere. Anyway, this stuffing blew my mind and became an annual tradition. And so, too, did an openness to a table of not-exactly-traditional dishes for the holiday. Perhaps that is my tradition now.
Like the last time that I cooked with yellow peas, I find inspiration in Indian cookery traditions that open my eyes to using these little legumes in ways that are new to me. Crispy yellow split peas are an amazingly delicious protein-packed snack all on their own. And they are a wonderful addition to a salad – they offer crunch in a similarly satisfying way as toasted nuts might.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Crispy Yellow Peas
If you’re a fan of crispy chickpeas, you’ll love these crispy yellow split peas too. In nosing around for creative uses for yellow peas, I found some inspiring recipes, like this Sweet Potato and Yellow Pea Latke. Learn more about yellow split peas and creative new ways to incorporate pulses (aka legumes) into your weekly meals at Half-Cup Habit.
1/2 cup split yellow peas
1 medium acorn squash, rinsed
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Sea salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 packed cups arugula
1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Yields 2 large or 4 small servings
Do ahead: Soak the split peas in water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Using a sharp knife, slice the squash lengthwise into crescents about 1/2-inch thick. Toss with 1 tablespoon warmed coconut oil, along with 1/4 teaspoon chili powder. (Or less if you’re sensitive.) Season with sea salt and black pepper and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until tender and golden, about 25 minutes.
Have a plate with paper towels ready. In a large skillet, warm 2 teaspoons of coconut oil over a low flame. Add the cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 of the split peas, and raise the heat to medium. Stir often, and cook until they have crisped and browned, about 7-9 minutes. Spread the crispy yellow peas on the paper towel. Repeat with the remaining batch of yellow peas. Season to taste with sea salt.
In a large bowl, toss the arugula, mint, and cilantro together with the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Add in 3/4 of the crispy yellow peas and toss.
To serve, divide the arugula mix evenly in the center of 2 or 4 plates, depending on portion. Divide the squash among the plates, and top with the remaining crispy peas. Best served immediately, so the crispy peas remain crisp!
This post is sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada. Pulses are the delicious, protein-packed, sustainable foods known as dry peas, chickpeas, lentils and beans. All thoughts and content are my own. Partnerships like these sustain me as a small business!