October’s Salad: Feta, Beetroot, Fig, Butternut Squash & Pearl Barley

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I’m feeling pretty smug as this post goes live, because for once I’ve managed to get a seasonal salad recipe up on the first of the month. Perhaps its because this time of year is my all-time favourite, and so I’m more inclined to make the salads earlier than half way into the month- or maybe it’s because I know my uni workload is going to rapidly swell in the next few days, so my time will be limited.

Autumn produce means squash, and figs, and apple, beetroot, brambles, cabbage, sprouts, leeks, parsnips, plums- and, of course, pumpkins. Now, I already have quite a few pumpkin recipes up here, and I plan on adding some more. Which means that today I passed over my beloved pumpkin, and gave the spotlight to the butternut squash, figs, and beets. I promise that this is just as delicious (perhaps more so) than any pumpkin recipe. But if you feel you’re missing out- there are links to all my pumpkin recipes so far at the bottom of the page!

Butternut squash roasts beautifully, it’s cheap, and although it’s sweet it takes on flavour really well. Figs are earthy, juicy, and colourful- and we all know how much I love beetroot. The pearl barley is a cheap store-cupboard staple, and the feta can be bought all year around. If you’re vegan, allergic to cheese, or simply don’t like it, then feel free to omit this ingredient, and sub in whatever you feel would work for you…

Ingredients (serves 2- or you can eat it again the next day!)

  • 1 medium butternut squash, seeds removed, chopped into small chunks and the skin left on
  • 80g pearl barley (weight when dried)
  • 2 medium cooked beetroot, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 large figs, sliced into thickย wedges
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 60g feta cheese (or “Greek-style” in most supermarkets)

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200*c, and throw the butternut squash onto a non-stick tray. Season with black pepper and smoked paprika to taste. Cover with foil and place into the oven for 25 minutes.
  • Place the pearl barley into a small pan, and cover with freshly boiled water. Bring back to the boil, and then turn down to medium. Cook for 35 minutes, adding more water if needed. Once cooked place to one side.
  • When the butternut squash has finished cooking, remove the foil and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes more, until tender and just beginning to catch at the edges. With 5 minutes left on the squash, you can add the figs to warm through.
  • Throw the spinach, pearl barley, figs, and butternut squash into a large bowl and toss together, along with the beetroot.
  • Plate up, and crumble over the feta, sharing it between the two plates. Finish off with a little black pepper, if desired.ย Enjoy!

 

And the promised pumpkin recipes…

 

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