Autumn is officially here, and after a cycle ride home through the brisk chill where I’m definitely justifying those natty leather gloves I spied in the winter sports shop (I mean, I’ll use them for cycling as well as snowboarding…totally worth it!), I’m also feeling the need for a hearty warm salad.
This is quite heavily influenced by the wonderful Yotam Ottolenghi, who’s thoughts behind seasonal ingredients and saving meat eating for special occasions I greatly admire. So with the chilly weather still in mind, think of the following as an off piste Ottolenghi dish.
1 large butternut squash - skin on, cut into wedges
2 red onions - cut into quarters
2 ample handfuls of curly leaf kale - roughly shredded
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp raw nuts - I went with peanuts
2 pinches of dried herbs - I went with rosemary & oregano
Sea salt & black pepper - approx 1/4 tsp each
A few basil leaves to garnish
Get your oven to 220°C. While that’s heating up, toss your butternut squash and onions in a bowl with the olive oil, dried herbs, salt and pepper. When evenly coated, put onto an oven tray lined with some foil or parchment and whack it into the oven. Cook for 30-40 mins, the onions may cook a bit faster so keep an eye on them. Take this time to toast your nuts in a bit of olive oil and salt until nicely brown – set them aside. The kale will only take around 5 minutes to cook so make your dressing beforehand.
Yogurt & tahini dressing:
2-3 tbsp Greek yogurt
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon
1 clove garlic crushed
Salt to taste
Water for preferred consistency
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and tahini. I only had Chinese sesame paste, which let’s face it is basically tahini…only more toasted tasting. Add the lemon juice and crushed garlic. I was fresh out of garlic so opted for garlic salt instead so I omitted the ‘salt to taste’ bit. Keep whisking and add your water a little at a time until you get the right dribbly consistency for dressing. You only need a couple of tablespoons of this, keep the rest in the fridge for later.
In the last few minutes: get your kale cooked in some boiling water. Once done strain and shake out the excess water. In a bowl gently toss the kale, squash and onion with half of your toasted peanuts. Now dress on a plate and drizzle some of that creamy yogurt sesame goodness. Finish with the rest of the toasted nuts and basil leaves. I gobbled the lot, but as a side dish I’d imagine this would feed two.