I like seasonal veg, mainly because seasonal veg is a little bit cheaper than out of season veg. It also tastes so much better, because obviously, it’s at it’s peak season. So, I realised I was going to a barbecue tomorrow, and so I set about constructing a salad to take, because I am a decent houseguest. (Also because impromptu barbecue wasn’t really included in my food plan and I admit, I panicked a little bit. Especially because my friends’ definition of barbecue is synonymous with heavy drinking and excessive meat consumption, and being only human, I tend to join in with gusto… but not today, Satan.)

So, are you going to a barbecue? Feel like making a fancy and yes, CHEESY, side dish? Want to impress people with your knowledge of seasonal produce? (Asparagus is ‘in’ right now). Want to pretend to be healthyish as you wash down your fourth glass of Chardonnay? Look no further – I have the salad for you.

For the salad

  • 200g Butternut squash, cut into 1cm chunks (innards removed)
  • 200g Asparagus tips
  • 100g Spinach and rocket
  • 100g Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 50g Blue Cheese
  • 50g parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Serves 8 

Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees. Toss your squash (pun intended) in two tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle roughly 30g of the parmesan over the top. Spread evenly over a baking tray, and bake for about 15 minutes – but keep an eye on it, and cook until nice and soft, but slightly al dente.

While that’s doing it’s thing, coat your asparagus tips in the remaining oil and parmesan, spread over a separate baking sheet, and roast for about 10 minutes – same deal as above though. Keep an eye on it – it should remain fairly al dente, but definitely not undercooked.

While it’s all roasting away, pop your tomatoes, rocket and spinach in a salad spinner (YES I mention it again. Do you still not have one? Seriously go buy one. It will change your salad game.), give them a rinse and spin until crispy.

When your squash and asparagus is ready, add to the salad bowl.

Dice your roquefort into roughly 0.5cm chunks, and toss into the bowl and gently combine with other ingredients. Add a squeeze of lemon.

Next up, heat a small frying pan, and add the pine nuts. Stir over a low-medium heat for a few minutes, until lightly toasted. If you’re going to eat right away, add the pine nuts to the salad now. If not, set aside – you can add these just before you eat.

Mix together dressing ingredients in a jug, and as before, if you’re eating now, drizzle over – if not, hold off until you’re ready to eat.

That’s it! It’s really simple but substantial enough to feel like a meal. Plus, packed with more veg, and more importantly, it’s packed with cheese. And anything with cheese is the best. Obviously.

🙂

Parmesan Glazed Salad