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Warm squash and fig salad


Eating seasonally is a fairly simple and brilliantly tasty way of maintaining some connection with the natural world when reluctantly living in the city and hopping from the central heating of home to the oppressive heat of public transport to the air con of the artificially lit office. Happy days. No but it’s actually all fine because it’s autumn and the sky is blue and there’s the food: spiced pumpkin-coloured soups, rich one-pot root veg stews and windfall crumbles with custard.

I’m not sure this thing is a salad. I’m calling it a salad though so that makes it one in a way. Here’s this salad I made and enjoyed:

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 medium butternut squash – rinsed, deseeded and cut into slices or chunks
  • A glug of olive oil (around 2 tbsp)
  • 8 fresh figs – quartered
  • 50g cashews
  • 200g quinoa
  • A couple of big fistfuls of chard – rinsed and roughly shredded
  • 2 handfuls of fresh coriander – chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 400°F / gas mark 6. In a bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Tip onto a baking tray and spread out. Pop the tray into the hot oven. The squash will take about 40 minutes to get squidgy and a little caramelised.
  2. After 10 minutes, add the figs to the baking tray and give the whole lot a bit of mix and smoosh.
  3. Towards the end of the roasting time, say about 30 minutes after the figs have gone in, chuck the cashews onto the roasting tray.
  4. When the squash is soft and the figs are just beginning to burst, take the tray out of the oven and set aside.
  5. Cook the quinoa according the packet instructions. Whilst the cooked quinoa is warm, mix in the chard. After a few minutes, add the lemon juice and coriander. Season well with salt and pepper.
  6. Combine the quinoa with the squash, figs and cashews. Serve whilst warm.

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