This is my new favourite salad. As we’re coming in to the warmer (marginally warmer in Ireland) months, we tend to gravitate towards lighter meals, but salads don’t need to be the boring lettuce and tomato variety! This one is packed with flavour and texture, and can be eaten as a main with some crusty bread.
I made a home made mayonnaise laced with smoked paprika, roasted peppers and a little bit of chilli and it really gave tonnes of flavour to the roasted squash. I added roasted peppers to the salad itself also and used some of the fruity oil they come preserved in to dress the leaves. I also toasted a little pan of pumpkin seeds which added a little crunch.
This is a really good, tasty salad. I made it for a party recently and it went down a treat! You really must make your own mayonnaise though, there is no comparison between the home made kind and the jellyish shop bought kind, and it is surprisingly easy to make. You can make twice the amount you need and keep a little jar in the fridge for sandwiches. Two jobs done in one go!
1 large butternut squash
1 jar of roasted red peppers
1 bag of mixed salad leaves (I used rocket, baby spinach and watercress)
1 large handful of pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper
Smoked Paprika Mayo:
1 egg yolk
150ml to 200ml oil (you can use the oil from the jar of roasted peppers, nut oil or sunflower oil… avoid olive or other strong tasting oils)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
3 roasted red peppers blended into a paste
1. Put your oven on 180C and allow to preheat. Peel and chop your squash into equal sizes to allow it to cook evenly. Throw into a roasting tin, add a little mild tasting oil and salt and pepper and allow to roast away (around 45 to 55 minutes)
2. For the mayo add the egg yolk to a bowl and whisk in the mustard. Very slowly and little bit by little bit whisk in the oil. This is so easy to make, but if you add all the oil at once it will never come together, so add the oil very slowly. When it all has been added in and you have a nice smooth texture, then whisk in the paprika, chilli and blended peppers. Add more paprika or chilli to taste.
3. Take your pumpkin seeds and dry fry them on pan for less then a minute. Make sure to stir them constantly as they burn very quickly. Once they start popping and become nice and crispy then set aside.
4. When the squash is cooked (and make sure it is soft all the way through, nothing worse than undercooked squash), stir in enough mayo to coat all the squash. Add the rest of the jar of the roasted red peppers, the salad leaves and most of the pumpkin seeds. Stir together and add more of the oil from the roasted red peppers to coat the salad leaves if needed. Sprinkle the remaining seeds on top and serve with crusty bread.