Seasonal salad It’s sticky, sweet, and the perfect recipe for all occasions Writing | Ellen Hoggard As the days get darker, the harder I find it becomes to choose fresh, colourful foods for mealtimes. When there’s a chill in the air, I tend to lean towards one-pot, warming meals such as stews and soups. But this year I’m wanting something different. While summer seems a distant memory, I want to cling on to the fruits and vegetables, eating the rainbow in abundance. That said, the change in season brings with it a whole host of in-season and local produce. Shopping seasonally and experimenting with new recipes can be incredibly enjoyable, as well as beneficial for the environment. So as we say goodbye to the sweet strawberries and beautifully ripe citrus fruits, we can turn to the equally as delicious, autumn vegetables: butternut squash and parsnips. This month, you'll find a recipe for a sticky and sweet winter salad, featuring two of my favourite root vegetables, with a special summer twist. Put away the gravy – this recipe is light, but filling. It’s sweet, yet savoury, and is perfect for lunch or dinner. STICKY WINTER SALAD Serves 4 • 1 butternut squash • 2 red onions • 4 parsnips • 3 tbsp olive oil • 1–2 tbsp honey or agave syrup • 1 small ciabatta • 225g spinach • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar • 1 tsp Dijon mustard Optional: crumble feta cheese over the top to serve. If you want to make the salad more substantial, add chicken or tofu. Method • Preheat the oven to 220 degrees, gas mark 7. • Slice the butternut squash into thin wedges, and add to a large roasting tin. Slice the onions and parsnips, and add to the tin. Drizzle with half the olive oil, and season. • Roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with honey. Tear the ciabatta and add to the tin. Roast for a further 5–10 minutes until toasted. • In a large bowl prepare the spinach. Remove the vegetables and add to the bowl. In a small jug, whisk the vinegar, mustard and remaining oil. Season to taste. Add to the salad and toss. Serve warm with a crumbling of feta cheese.
Find a nutritionist near you at nutritionistresource.org.uk OUR EXPERT SAYS… This wonderful seasonal salad will offer you many vitamins and minerals, alongside a number of antiinflammatory properties. Due to the variety of vegetables, this salad is high in fibre and has a rich nutritional profile. The combination of fibrous vegetables with olive oil promotes gut motility, and aids digestion, thus improving bowel movements, while also supporting the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. The butternut squash, parsnips and spinach are all rich in potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure. Plus, the high vitamin C content in both squash and parsnips will not only help your skin glow, but will also boost your immune system. The salad boasts a number of superb anti-inflammatory foods, such as red onions – which contain twice as many antioxidants as any other onion. They help the body produce cysteine, which can aid detoxification and improve fat metabolism. The spinach, which contains an abundance of vitamin K, helps to protect our nerves, and contributes to proper brain function. A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has a high polyphenol content, making it another significant anti-inflammatory ingredient. Josephine (Beanie) Robinson is a nutritional therapist, yoga and meditation teacher and co-founder of The Health Space, helping individuals find the time to take their health and wellbeing seriously. Find out more at thehealth-space.com