It is most definitely pumpkin time in New York City and with Halloween around the corner they are more than readily available. I have always found the shift from summer to autumn quite an abrupt one when it comes to food- one week the peaches are perfect, the next they are tasteless mush and you’re back to buying apples again. My policy is to overdose on summer gems like tomatoes and peaches in order to make the transition from summer to autumn a welcome one and this year has been no exception.
The weather, however, has not been complying with my usual autumnal food associations which conjure up images of a warm fire and piping hot roasted squash with a roast chicken or butternut squash and bacon soup. On Monday last week, it was cold and dreary- perfect for sipping soup wrapped in a blanket. Of course, I didn’t have time to make the soup on Monday or Tuesday and by Wednesday it was 70 degrees again, my apartment windows were open wide and soup and blankets were not on my wish list. I was, however determined to use the butternut squash I had bought and my boyfriend reminded me of this salad that I had styled for my portfolio with photographer Jemma Watts in London. This salad is perfect for this lead up for this not quite ready to say goodbye to summer weather and from a health point-of-view I particularly love that it’s delicious even without a salad dressing.
You can roast the squash with any combination of herbs or spices that you like- or even just in oil with salt and pepper. If you like roasted pumpkin seeds then try roasting the squash seeds, seasoned with salt and pepper in a little oil and then sprinkle over the salad to serve.
Roasted butternut squash & mango salad
1 medium Butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed and sliced 1 cm thick
2-3 tbsp olive oil (or a few squirts of olive oil spray), plus extra to serve
¼ tsp chili flakes (crushed red pepper flakes), optional
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, optional
1 mango, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
Box of mixed leaf greens
200g/7 oz feta cheese, cut into chunks, optional
1/ Heat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4. Toss the squash with the oil, chilli, seasoning and herbs and place in a roasting tin in a single layer. Roast in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until tender, beginning to caramelise on the bottom of the pan. Turn squash pieces a couple of times during cooking.
2/ Toss together all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and serve with a drizzle of oil.