One of my Easter presents from my parents was a large round terracotta coloured Acorn squash. I adore the flavour and earthy sweetness of squash and this was a much better present for me than an Easter egg which they knew I wouldn’t eat (I’m rather picky about my chocolate). One of my favourite ways to enjoy squash is roasted, and as I’ve been so busy recently I decided to turn my squash into a colourful salad I could take for lunch during the week to save those early morning ‘what I can take to eat for lunch?’ moments.
I paired my squash with some florets of cauliflower, a veg that can be a little bland on its own but transforms into something sweet and nutty after a gentle roasting in the oven. I love the bits where the edges have become slightly charred and smoky.
The deep intense earthy sweetness of the squash can handle some quite bold flavours, so I decided to pair it with a spicy sundried tomato dressing for a bit of kick. I used chipotle chili powder and a few shakes of
Tabasco to add a smoky
chili spiciness. To make it more of a meal I stirred in a tin of mixed beans
and some sweetcorn for colour and crunch.
It was quick and easy to prepare and kept me going for 3 days of work time lunches. I loved the mix of flavours, colours and textures. The deep rich squash was sweet and creamy, the lightly charred cauliflower being nutty and crunchy, the dressing tangy, smoky and with a little kick of chili heat that slowly intensified as I ate it, helping to perk me up ready for the afternoon.
Roasted Cauliflower, Squash & Bean Salad in a Spicy Tomato Dressing
½ Acorn squash or butternut squash
½ large head cauliflower
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Freshly ground pepper
4 tbsp sweetcorn
1 x 400g tin mixed beans
3 spring onions
2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
1½ tbsp olive oil
½ tsp chipotle chili powder
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Remove the seeds from the squash and cut into 2-3cm chunks. You can leave the skin on as its nice to eat once roasted. Cut the cauliflower into florets and then into similar sized chunks to the squash.
Place the squash only (not the cauliflower) onto a large baking tray, drizzle over the 1 tbsp sunflower oil and some freshly ground pepper.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven, add the cauliflower chunks to the squash and mix gently. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes until the squash is softened and the cauliflower lightly roasted.
Tip the roasted veg into a large bowl. Add the sweetcorn and a tin of mixed beans that have been drained and rinsed.
Slice the spring onions and add to the mix.
In a small bowl, combine the sundried tomato paste, olive oil, chili powder and a little
Mix well and then pour over the veg. Mix everything together until all the
beans and veg are lightly coated in the dressing.
Store in the fridge until required. Give everything a quick stir before serving to remix any dressing.
Serves 4 as a main meal or delicious as an accompaniment to other buffet/picnic/BBQ style things