On 14th September I sowed rows of hardy greens in our cold frame: rocket, purple mizuna, different kinds of leaf mustard, parsley. This was a week earlier than usual and with late sowings a week can make a big difference. The weather has been pretty mild too, which means that the leaves grew very fast in the still warm soil and on 19th October I was already harvesting the first thinnings.
After that I could pick some leaves for a salad weekly. Usually, I just toss them with the simplest vinaigrette and serve them as a side salad with dinner. But sometimes I want to turn them into a meal – a salad that will be dinner. So I add protein (chickpeas) and another veg (winter squash) plus some spices to liven things up (coriander, cumin, allspice), a splash of lemon juice – and voilà! A meal in one, colorful, lively, interesting and filling.
The idea for the chickpeas came from an Ottolenghi recipe, where the spiced chickpeas were served with a summery tomato-cucumber salad. I had made the recipe several times during the summer, but since the tomato days are over, I now accompany the chickpeas with the more seasonal winter squash and peppery mustard leaves.
Spiced s and roasted squash salad
Inspired by a recipe from Ottolenghi: Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Note on chickpeas: I find that fresh cooked chickpeas have a far better texture than tinned. If you want to cook the chickpeas yourself, for this amount you will need to cook about 250 g dried chickpeas and you will need to soak them overnight before cooking.
Note on winter squash: I’ve made this with both butternut and Hokkaido type squashes, either is good
600 g (1 pound 5 ounces) winter squash, peeled and cut in approximately 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
450 g (3 cups) cooked chickpeas
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 ½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
150 g (5 ounces) winter greens such as mizuna, leaf mustard and rocket(or just rocket)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
juice of ½ lemon
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 F).
Toss the cubed winter squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven until completely tender and beginning to caramelize in places – this will take about 30 minutes. Take the baking sheet out every 10 minutes or so to turn the squash cubes with a spatula.
Meanwhile, toss the cooked chickpeas with the spices, olive oil and salt and spread on another baking sheet. Bake the chickpeas in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let the squash and chickpeas cool to room temperature, then gently mix them.
Whisk the olive oil and sherry vinegar together and gently toss the greens with the dressing.
Arrange the salad leaves on a large plate and spread the chickpeas and squash on top. Squeeze the lemon over the chickpeas and squash. Serve at room temperature.