This salad is the perfect side dish! Its has loads of different textures, big flavours and it’s so healthy. Roasted sweet cubes of butternut squash (which cooks in only 20 minutes by the way), is brought out by salty feta, creamy chickpeas and lots of different mixed herbs, such as mint, basil, cilantro and basil.
I’ve started replacing salad leaves with fresh herbs a lot recently. If you want to make your salads explode with bright and fresh flavours, then do this. You can use any soft herbs that you like. Here are some ideas: mint, cilantro, basil, chervil, fennel tops, dill, parsley and celery leaves. This gives a salad so much more interest and appeal than just plain old lettuce.
Basically you can also read between the lines and see that I pretty much never throw anything away. I am always using every part of a vegetable: stalks in soups/stews/stocks and the leaves in salads, as garnishes/sprinkles. When I went on Masterchef, I rambled on and on in the first interview about all that I wanted to make with fresh herbs. I’m sure that is what got me onto the show!
Herbs add a lot of flavour and freshness to dishes that could otherwise be boring or too heavy. Check out these other herb-tastic dishes of mine: Thai Green Chicken Curry, Kale Spanakopita Pies, and Garlic and Thyme Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Parmesan Mashed Potato and Red Wine Sauce (that last one has a delicious bunch of fresh herbs on the top that add so much to the finished dish!)
Here is your recipe for Herb Salad with Butternut, Chickpeas and Feta:
- ½ butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1inch dice
- squash seeds, rinsed
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained
- 1 pack of feta cheese, cut into cubes
- 1 grated carrot
- large handful mixed soft herbs: mint, cilantro, parsley, dill or any of your choosing
- juice of one lemon
- ½ tsp honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat your oven to 180C/375F. Place the squash onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Rinse the seeds that came with the squash under water to remove the pulp and place into the tray as well. Lightly coat with olive oil, add salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, then prick with a fork to test if done.
- While the squash is roasting, assemble the other salad ingredients. Into a mixing bowl place the chickpeas, feta, carrot. Roughly tear the herbs and mix together with the other ingredients.
- Once out of the oven, allow the squash to cool and then mix with the other ingredients.
- Make a simple dressing out of the lemon juice, honey and olive oil and pour over the salad just before serving. Season to taste.