When the weather gets warmer, I always start craving salads. Warm salads, cooked salads, raw salads, it doesn’t matter what kind of salad, I just have to make them. Putting a salad together is so therapeutic for me, you have to taste the ingredients in your head and with your eyes as you assemble the dish. If it looks good, it will no doubt taste good too.
Preparing a summer salad is an excuse to combine tons of ingredients and incorporate them all onto one dish. As the longer evenings appear, I naturally want to eat outside in the garden, and a generous portion of an exciting salad is just the ticket for Alfresco dining.
This dish combines the sweet flavour of the butternut squash with tart goats cheese mixed in a beautiful spice infusion.
1 small butternut squash or ½ of a large one
100g soft goats cheese
250g chickpeas, cooked
4-5 cherry tomatoes
a handful coriander
½ a lemon, juice of
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp caraway seeds
½ tsp ground chicory
½ tsp aniseed
½ tsp all spice
½ tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
Peel and chop the butternut squash, and place in a baking tray with a little olive oil, mix well to coat all the squash in oil, then bake for 25-30 min.
Meanwhile make the spice mixture. On a dry frying pan, toast the seeds and spices together with the pumpkin seed and sesame. Keep stirring the mixture for a few min until it becomes fragrant. Add the salt and take off the heat.
In a large serving dish, combine all the remaining salad ingredients. Add the lemon juice, followed by the spice mix and combine using your hands.
Serve still warm, with some fresh pitta.