Hey everyone and wonderful Monday to you all!
I am spending mine on the sofa under a blanket, surrounded by tissues, hot tea with honey and lemon and my Kindle – just a bit of a cold, although it has made me slow down and rest and take care of myself a little better. The last few weeks have been very busy, too busy, always running and doing more and more and not really getting enough sleep even though I could feel I needed to slow down. I find that that’s what happens when you don’t listen to your body, it will give you plenty of subtle hints and if you don’t listen… bam! A metaphorical brick in the head and you’re forced to listen… (It is also what happens when you can’t keep from kissing your best friends’ adorable baby with a cold and snotty nose 🙂 – and the fact that we got soaked by the rain in the mountains over the weekend might also be a slight contributing factor).
Anyhow… Stuffing myself with vitamins is the best possible strategy and plenty of studies show that the artificial kind (multivitamins and pills) just isn’t as effective as the vitamins in their natural form of fruits and veggies. So this wonderful Baked Butternut Squash Salad is just what the doctor ordered. Plenty of greens, cucumber, tomato and avocado form the raw base. We then add baked butternut squash which is sweet, creamy and comforting and pairs so well with avocado. We finish it off with a sprinkle of hemp seeds (or any other seeds you like – sunflower, pumpkin etc.) and pomegranate seeds if you like.
I like to serve it with some lemon-coriander couscous, which is incredibly easy and quick to make and wonderful zingy avocado and coriander dressing, which is made in a few seconds by whizzing everything in a blender. You could, of course, accompany it with quinoa or rice or just eat the salad on its own with the dressing. Delicious every which way! And a bonus, it looks so beautiful 🙂
Back to my Kindle now to rest and re-charge my batteries. And talking about Kindle, one of the books I absolutely loved and have read and re-read several times since (yes, I read books I love several times :)) is Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. A fantastic psychological thriller portraying an abusive relationship with domestic violence, and then dealing with the consequences including OCD and the toll it takes. As the critics have described it, stunning and unputdownable – it is exactly that and I really recommend it!
- 2 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
- a splash of extra virgin olive oil
- a sprinkle of black pepper, sea salt & fennelseed powder
- 2 cups leafy greens (I used lamb's lettuce)
- 1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, peeled and cubed
- hemp seeds to garnish
- pomegranate seeds to garnish (optional)
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup dry couscous
- coriander, finely chopped
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cup coriander
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fennelseed powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup water (use more or less according to how thick you like your dressing)
- Turn your oven on to 200ºC. Peel and cube your butternut squash, then put in a metal or glass dish, and coat with olive oil, pepper, sea salt & fennelseed powder. Shake to distribute evenly and bake for approx. 45 min.
- In the meantime, prepare your dressing by throwing all the ingredients into your blender and whizzing until smooth and uniform. Adjust the quantity of the water according to how thick you like your dressings.
- Just before the squash is done, pour the boiling water into a bowl with a lid, add the dry couscous and let stand, covered, until all the liquid has been soaked in and the couscous is done (about 5 min.) Fluff with a fork, add the lemon juice and coriander and mix.
- Finally, prepare your salad base by layering leafy greens, sliced cucumber, halved tomates and cubed avocado. Add the baked squash when ready and sprinkle with hemp seeds and pomegranate seeds if using.
- Serve the salad with the couscous and a generous amount of the dressing drizzled over the top.
- You can substitute the couscous with quinoa or rice or just eat the salad on its own with the dressing. Delicious every which way!