Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Roast veg and haloumi salad

A salad?! In Autumn?! Yes, you heard right, I made a salad in this horrible weather- but fear not, it's a tasty, wholesome salad that will warm you right up on these chilly eves.

I wasn't sure when we got fennel in our veg bag, as I'm not a huge fan of that licorice/aniseed taste (except for sambuca, strangely, but the less said about that the better!). But I had heard that fennel loses it's strong aniseed taste when cooked, and I'm always willing to try new things so thought I'd give it a go. And I can now say I'm a fennel convert- the aniseed flavour definitely softens once it's roasted and it gets a slight sweetness to it which is delicious. So if you're dubious about fennel I suggest you give it a try and you may be surprised!

The squash and haloumi make great additions to this dish; the adorably named 'dumpling squash' we got that week is sweet and creamy, and the saltyness of the haloumi offsets it perfectly. Add some farro and a lemony, parsley dressing and you've got the perfect Autumn salad.

I realise I'm quite late to the farro party, but I can't get enough of it! An Italian whole grain from the wheat family, it cooks just like pasta but with a bit more of a chewy texture and nutty taste. It's a great addition to salads and stews, and should be available in most large supermarkets or health food shops.

If you can't get hold of a 'dumpling squash', butternut or any other hard winter squash would work just as well.

P.S. I also want to share the good news that my blog has reached over 1,00 views (probably mostly from my mum...!). I didn't really count on anyone reading this when I started it so this is a bit of a landmark really; thank you to all of you who've taken an interest and shown your love. I've big plans for Live Local Greens so this is the first step on the road to world domination!

Roast veg and haloumi salad
(Makes 4 servings)

1/2 large dumpling squash, peeled, de-seeded and cubed*
1 carrot, roughly chopped into medium sized chunks
1 bulb fennel, tops removed and cut into quarters
3 cloves garlic, peeled
pinch of chilli flakes
glug of olive oil
200g farro
1 pack (250g) haloumi, cut into medium chunks
juice of 1/2 lemon
large handful of parsley, finely chopped
pumpkin & sunflower seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Place all the veg into a large roasting tray. Add the garlic cloves, chilli flakes and olive oil and mix to coat all the veg. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes (remove the tray and shake once or twice during this time).

Meanwhile, cook the farro according to instructions in boiling water with a bit of stock powder and drain well.

Add the haloumi to the vegetables and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and both veg and haloumi are starting to brown at the edges.

Remove the tray from the oven, place the veg and haloumi in a large serving dish and add the cooked farro. Dress with the lemon juice, parsley and another glug of olive oil and mix through.

Top with the seeds if using.

*A tip I've learned recently to make peeling your squash easier (and safer!): pierce the squash once or twice with a knife and stick in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Saves hacking away at it!

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