Roasted squash, beetroot and carrot lentil salad

On a freezing cold November’s day the last thing on your mind for lunch is probably salad. The temperature drops and the mind naturally turns to foods laden with cream and cheese but this salad brings all the soothing flavours of autumn but without all the calories. This salad makes the most of seasonal vegetables and give an extra savoury whack with a tahini dressing. You can serve your the salad warm or at room temperature depending on your preference. The addition of some salty feta is also a welcome addition if you fancy. The added bonus is that the salad will keep covered in the fridge for a couple of days so it’s a perfect make ahead lunch for work too.

Ingredients- serves 4
1 pack of microwave puy lentils
1 butternut squash-peeled and diced
4 small beetroots- peeled and diced
2 large carrots- grated
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp tahini
8 tbsp warm water
Squeeze of lemon juice to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan whilst you place the diced squash on one baking tray and the diced beetroot on another. I tend to find that vegetables roast better on a shallower tray. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to each tray long with some salt and pepper; move the diced vegetables so they get a coating of the oil. Roast for around 20- 30 minutes or until tender.

2. Remove the vegetables from the oven and transfer thr squash and beetroot to separate bowls. This allows them to cool and stops the beetroot running into the squash.

3. Meanwhile microwave the lentils and also allow to cool. While that’s happening you can arm assemble the tahini dressing which is quite literally a case of combining all the ingredients and whisking well together.  Remember to taste as you go!

4. Finally toss the cooled vegetables, squash and lentils together and grate in the carrot for an added crunch. Finish with the dressing and serve.

Roasted squash, beetroot, carrot and lentil salad- a surefire way to brighten up the kitchen on a chilly day!

Spiced delicata squash salad

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At this time of year I become borderline obsessive about squashes in all their beautiful guises and tend to become overexcited when new varieties come into the shops. Through the season I tend to use as many types as I can and come up with new ways to enjoy them and this recipe is no exception. The sweetness of delicate squash lends itself to being paired with the heady aromatic spices of the Middle East and all it needs is a drizzle of a simple dressing to bring it to life. Here is the recipe for the warm squash salad and it can be served either as the main meal or an accompaniment. It is delicious with pan friend lamb cutlets if you fancy.

Ingredients- serves 2-3
For the salad

1 delicate squash
1 large red onion
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
Seasoning
Handful of pine nuts
100g feta
Fresh coriander

For the za’atar mix- makes plenty to use and to keep
5 tsp sesame seeds
5 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
5 tsp dried marjoram
5 tsp ground sumac
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
5 tsp ground cumin

1.Firstly I would make the za’atar mix so then it is ready and on standby for later. Simply take a small dry frying pan and toast the sesame seeds until golden and realising their flavour. Allow to cool and combine with the other ingredients; use a pestle and mortar or food processor to whizz them up and that’s all there is to it!

2. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Prepare the squash by peeling the skin using a speed peeler, cutting it in half lengthways and scooping out the seeds. Cut the squash into crescents and place in a deep baking tray. Peel the red onion and cut into wedges and add to the tray along with the garlic cloves (still in their papery skins).

3. Season the vegetables well. Combine the pomegranate molasses, oil and honey and drizzle over the vegetables; toss well to combine. Roast in the oven for around 15-20 minutes or until tender. While it roasts use a dry frying pan and toast the pine nuts.

4. Remove the squash from the oven and toss through the pine nuts and crumble in the feta. Sprinkle around a tablespoon of the za’atar spice mix and finish off with some freshly chopped coriander if you like. Serve immediately.

Spiced delicate squash salad- bring the soft glow of autumn to the dinner table!