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Anna’s Perfect Party Salad

Yesterday was a big family day for the Izzie’s Kitchen team!  We celebrated a wonderful Golden Wedding Anniversary for my better half’s parents and it was great to get everybody together to celebrate.

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The weather held and in fact it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon, warm and sunny and perfect to enjoy alfresco activities!  My sister in-law Anna had worked very hard to cater for all the guests and the food was really really good, including a whole dressed poached salmon (amazing), a red onion quiche along with lots of different salads.  The one I loved the most was a roasted butternut squash and red onion salad that she said she’s made very successfully before and is a real winner every time.  It’s colorful and substantial and has a tahini dressing that’s to die for!

Squashes are fantastically good vegetables to eat year round.  Pumpkins and butternut squashes are really popular because they have a soft texture and add a lot of naturally attractive color to a dish.  Butternut squash is crammed full of nutrients.  Here are just a few of them:

  • It has extremely high levels of vitamin-A, constituting about 354% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural antioxidant and is required by the body for maintaining good skin health. It is also an essential vitamin for optimum eyesight.
  • Furthermore, butternut squash has plenty of natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like a and ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin-ß, and lutein. These compounds convert into vitamin A inside the body and deliver same protective functions of vitamin A on the body.
  • It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, riboflavin, niacin & vitamin B-6.

So with that in mind, I try to include the squash vegetables into our regular diet as much as possible.  Here’s the recipe, hope you make and enjoy it too!

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash (2 1/4 lb  in total), cut into 3/4 by 2 1/2-inch wedges

2 red onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch  wedges

3 1/2 tbsp olive oil

3 1/2 tbsp light tahini paste

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp water

1 small clove garlic, crushed

3 1/2 tbsp pine nuts

1 tbsp dried mixed herbs

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

 Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 475 F.
  2. Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tbsp of the oil, 1 tsp salt and some black pepper and toss well. Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. To make the sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.
  4. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts along with the 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.
  5. To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top along with some dried herbs.

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