Halloween might be over, but squash and pumpkin season is still in full swing! This autumnal warm salad really does bring out the best of this versatile vegetable, and it’s so delicious if I do say so myself! I think I could eat this salad every day, it’s warm, satisfying, so good, and of course, healthy. A great combination of iron rich cooked kale, sweet squash, bitter chicory (or endive in the US), salty feta cheese, and crunchy dukkah. YUM.
If you haven’t caught onto this trendy aromatic Egyptian nut/seed/spice mix yet, you definitely should. You’ll realise you’ve been missing out all this time! It’s a wonderful combination of hazelnuts (healthy fats anyone?), sesame seeds (really high in calcium- and so necessary in pregnancy!), cumin and coriander seeds (great digestive seeds and warming during the cold months). I’ve added dukkah to this salad, but you can also use it to spice up lots of other dishes such as meat, fish, steamed veggies or even just add some olive oil to make a dip. You can buy dukkah pre-made in certain shops, but I really would recommend you make it yourself at home. Not only will it be a lot tastier, but the oils in nuts and seeds become rancid very quickly when ground, and therefore it’s much healthier if you grind it yourself in a spice grinder or food processor. Not to mention, super easy.
High in Iron & Calcium
Together with the dukkah, the kale in this salad, being rich in iron, is an important addition to your pregnancy diet, as anaemia is so common during this time. Add some sesame seeds and feta cheese and you’ve got a fair share of calcium; another very important mineral so crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Lets not forget the chicory; which is nutritionally rich in vitamin A, K, and B vitamins. Chicory has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and is therefore perfect for those of you with gestational diabetes. It is more often found in pale yellow colours rather than the red as pictured, but they are roughly all nutritionally equivalent (and the red is so beautiful!)
You can’t ask for more as this salad really is a quick fix up for when you don’t feel like cooking or don’t have much time. It also makes a great on-the-go lunch, but keep the dukkah & dressing separately until you’re just about to eat it as otherwise you’ll loose some of the crunch!
RECIPE Serves: 2 Total time: 30 minutes
1 medium butternut squash
2 cups packed kale
1 garlic clove (crushed)
200g feta cheese
3 red chicory or endives (yellow will do too)
Olive oil & apple cider vinegar
For the Dukkah:
1 handful toasted hazelnuts
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp salt
Set your oven to 180C degrees. Chop the butternut squash into small cubes (you can leave the skin on for more fibre), and place on a baking tray with a little bit of olive oil. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until soft and cooked through. Meanwhile, chop the kale and place into a saucepan with the crushed garlic clove, and a little bit of olive oil. Turn on the heat to medium and allow to sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Wash and chop the chicory and place into a large bowl. Add the kale and butternut squash once cooked, along with a little bit of olive oil and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Chop or crumble the feta cheese into the same bowl. In a food processor, finely grind all the ingredients for the dukkah, and add these to the salad bowl once done. Season and serve!