recipe: roasted squash and blue cheese salad

After the excesses of Christmas (and the never ending boxes of chocolates that we are still trying to demolish), I often fancy something a bit lighter; it is still winter though so the salads of summer just aren’t going to cut it.

To many the word ‘salad’ conjures up a plate of insipid lettuce that is as far away from ‘tasty’ as it can be. If you are one of those people, place a little bit of trust in me and give this plate a go and I promise you that you might change your mind.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 butternut squash (any leftovers can be used to pep up stews, soups and other salads)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, optional
  • a small handful of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 75g walnut halves
  • 1 bag of salad, ideally containing some peppery leaves such as watercress or rocket
  • 150g blue cheese (we used Saint Agur)

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp graining mustard
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of dried green herbs (such as oregano or mixed French/Italian herbs)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a pinch of sugar

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Skin the squash with a vegetable peeler, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and cut into rough 1.5 cm cubes.

3. Place the squash in a roasting tin (it should be nicely spaced out so that it all roasts evenly). Add the olive oil, chilli flakes, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper and toss this with the squash so that it is well coated with oil. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until soft and starting to brown at the sides. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes.

4. While the squash is roasting, place the walnuts in a small frying pan. Toast until lightly brown. Remove from the heat.

5. Place all the dressing ingredients into a jam jar. Shake vigorously and check for seasoning (usually salt or sugar may be required).

6. To plate, divide the salad leaves amongst the plates (tearing large leaves if needed), scatter the squash and walnuts and crumble across the blue cheese. Finally drizzle with dressing and enjoy

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