It’s always a sad day when the season of light, simple suppers draws to a close. As much as I love eating hearty comfort food, there’s nothing quite like getting to the end of the day and knowing that you can pull together a wholesome and delicious salad for dinner in the time it takes to watch an episode of Modern Family on Netflix. All summer long we ate salads in varying forms, and so instead of letting them be replaced all together by pies and casseroles and heavy meat dishes, I’m experimenting with new, more autumnally-themed salad recipes. And this one is just the ticket!
The butternut squash, when baked, goes sweet and almost caramelly, and sits so well alongside salty feta cheese. And if you can resist the urge to eat the roasted + salted butternut squash seeds the very second they come out of the oven, they add an amazing popcorn-y crunch which rounds the salad out so very well. I really do find it tricky not to eat the seeds before the salad’s even been assembled though, really I do…
So, to make…I’ve not listed particularly exact amounts, because it’s really more of a ‘judge by eye’ kind of recipe. The quantities listed below make a generous two person salad.
1 medium butternut squash (or any other squash of your choosing)
Seeds from the squash, for roasting and scattering
1/2 pack feta cheese
2/3 large handfuls of spinach
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt, olive oil, + balsamic vinegar
- Cut up the butternut squash (reserving the seeds in a separate bowl) into slices about half an inch to an inch thick, then lay out onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Scatter over a pinch each of flaky sea salt and ground nutmeg, and then place into an oven preheated to 190 degrees to cook for about half an hour.
- Remove any large strands of squash flesh from the seeds, then dress them with a splash of olive oil, salt, and the smoked paprika. Line a small baking tray with parchment paper, spread out the seeds onto the tray in a single layer, and then roast for 10 minutes. When cooked, the seeds should smell faintly popcorny and be slightly puffed up.
- When cooked through, remove the butternut squash from the oven and allow to cool. Take a handful at a time of the spinach, roll it into a rough ball, and then cut it into approx. 1 inch ribbons. Place into serving dishes, and top with the cooled slices of butternut squash.
- Crumble over feta, then add a handful of roasted seeds. Dress with olive oil + balsamic vinegar, and take a few seconds to appreciate how beautiful the contrast is between the orange, white and green, before demolishing in 30 seconds flat.