Fall Salad with Pita Chips

It’s definitely starting to look autumnal outside now and I couldn’t be happier.  I know some people are feeling sad that summer is over, but autumn is SO much better.  All the colours, flavours, smells, fashion and even the angle of the sunlight make this my favourite time of year.

Fall salad3

Now all the squashes and pumpkins are starting to come into the shops, I like finding as many ways of using them that I can.  I think roasted butternut squash is really good in a salad with greens, tasty cheese and a nice dressing to bring it all together.

Fall salad2

This is a hearty, autumnal themed salad with roasted squash, red chicory, apples, walnuts and a really punchy blue cheese that I picked up – Buxton Blue.  This is a deep russet coloured cheese with blue veining and has a really good kick to it.  I also topped the salad with some Parma ham and a few pita chips for a bit of crunch – these are very quick to make.

I like to serve the dressing on the side, or if I am taking one to work with me, I love those little screw top pots that hold just the right amount.  This one has grain mustard, maple syrup and yoghurt which really works with the bitter red chicory leaves, salty cheese and sweet apples.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash or pumpkin
1tbs olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head of red chicory or radicchio, end removed and leaves separated
1 bag of mixed salad leaves, or any other greens like baby spinach or kale
1 crisp, red dessert apple
Half a lemon
1 handful of walnut halves
Around 100g blue cheese – I used the Staffordshire Cheese Company’s Buxton Blue
1 pack of Parma ham
1 large pita bread

Dressing:
3tbs plain yoghurt
2tsp grain mustard
2tsp lemon juice
1tsp maple syrup
Pinch of salt and black pepper

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/395°F

Peel and chop the butternut squash into bite-sized chunks.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a lined baking sheet.  Roast for around 20-25 minutes, giving them a turn half way through.  The chunks should be tender and the edges just staring to catch.

Squash

Brush the pita bread with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cut into into bite-sized squares, place onto a sheet and roast with the squash for 5-10 minutes – keep an eye on them, they should be crisp and golden.

Pita chips

Set aside while you assemble the rest of the salad.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and check the seasoning.  Add a little more lemon or maple to adjust to preferred taste.

Core and slice the apple and toss in the juice from half a lemon so it doesnt discolour.  Arrange the leaves and red chicory on a platter and scatter over the squash, apple slices and walnuts. Break the cheese into crumbles and scatter those over too.  Gently turn to mix the salad together.

Fall salad1

Take slices of the Parma ham, gather then together, tear and place little ‘heaps’ in and around the rest of the salad.  Finally, top with the crunchy pita chips.  I prefer to serve the dressing on the side.

Fall salad4

The salad can be scaled up or down, depending on how many people you are feeding and of course, it can be plated individually.  I normally serve 1-2 slices of the Parma ham per person and sometimes use pecans instead of walnuts.

Fall salad

I think this colourful, autumnal salad is a great lunch dish and any left overs make a good packed lunch too.

 

Harvest Salad Bowls

I picked up some great seasonal produce this weekend, including some seriously delicious, fresh corn. Rather than simply boil and serve on the cob, I decided to grill it and make a summer salad. The slight charring you get, makes for a really nice, slightly smoky flavour.

Harvest Salad

This salad also has my favourite Cavolo Nero kale, crisp red apples, roasted sweet potato, beets and goats cheese with a balsamic dressing. This makes enough for two large salads with leftovers for a lunchbox the next day.

Harvest salad bowl

Ingredients:
1 sweet potato
2 small beetroots
2 corn on the cobs, husks and silk removed
A small bunch of kale, ribs removed and torn intp pieces – I used Kavolo Nero
Small bunch of mixed salad greens
Goats cheese – I used two small individual cheeses broken into large pieces
1-2 crisp apples
1 lemon, halved

Harvest salad bowl2

Dressing:
3tbs olive oil
2tbs balsamic vinegar
1tsp maple syrup
1tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper

Method:
Start by peeling the sweet potato and chopping into bite sized chunks. Rub with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast at 220°C/425°F for 30-35 minutes, or until tender and the edges are just starting to catch.

Sweet potato

Do the same with the beets, but I like to roast them separately to keep the colours separate. Beets do like to turn everything red!

To grill the corn, heat a griddle pan and rub each cob with a tiny amount of oil and place onto the hot griddle, tuning until cooked all the way around. You can also do this on a barbecue. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off and set aside.

Grilled corn

While the vegetables are roasting and the corn grilling, massage the kale in one half of the lemon juice. This tenderises it a little and helps to bring out the vibrant colour too.

Harvest salad bowl3

Chop the apple into bite sized pieces, leave the skin on, and toss in the rest of the lemon juice to avoid it discolouring.

When the vegetables are cool, assemble the salad by adding the massaged kale to the other salad greens, roasted sweet potato and beets, apples, crumbled goats cheese and the grilled corn. Gently turn the salad to combine everything together.

Harvest salad bowl1

Whisk or shake the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the top.

Harvest salad bowl4

Top with toasted pumpkin seeds or pecans if you like a bit of crunch. This late summer salad is full of flavour and perfect to enjoy on a warm afternoon in the garden.

Minty Cucumber and Tomato Salad

It’s SO hot! I have loads of baking recipes I want to try out, but I think putting on the oven today might actually kill us.

We’ve been having lots of salads in this hot weather and this one is cool cucumber with sweet cherry tomatoes, peppers and cooling mint. I really like to make my chilli and cucumber salad too, but this with the mint is super cooling on yet another hot day.

Minty tomato salad1

When I add cucumber to a salad, I always scoop out the wet seeds. I never peel them either; I think the nice green skin is the best bit.

This is a very colourful salad with red and yellow peppers and sweet cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes tend to be nice and sweet all year round, so this is a good recipe for anytime. Feel free to add in some thinly sliced red onion too, that would work well here – IF you like eating raw onion that is!

This super simple recipe can be made more substantial by adding cubes of cheese, such as feta, or served as a side salad, alongside some grilled fish or chicken. It’s quite portable too, so a very good salad to take on a picnic.

I don’t like to add too much dressing to this, but extra can be served on the side.

Ingredients:
1 cucumber
1 pack of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper

Dressing:
2tbs olive oil
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
10 mint leaves, finely chopped
Tiny pinch of salt and pepper to taste

To serve:
Extra mint
Cubes of eta cheese (optional)

Method:
Halve the cucumber lengthways and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, then slice and add to a large bowl.

Chop the cherry tomatoes into halves, or quarters and add them to the cucumber slices.

Cut the ‘cheeks’ off the peppers, leaving the core and seeds behind and slice and dice, before adding to the bowl.

In another small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Minty tomato salad

Pour over enough dressing to moisten the vegetables and scatter over a little more mint if desired. This is really good with the addition of feta cheese to make a really colourful and cooling summer salad.