Poppy Seed-Crusted Squash with a Sweet Tahini Dressing

For me salad is one of those meals that can either be totally divine and totally hunger sating, or unbelievably boring and hungry making. This salad is definitely the first. The combination of flavours is so wonderful. Between the sweet squash coated with poppy seeds, juicy tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts, courgettes and beans every tastebud is hit. The sweet, creamy dressing with a hint of chilli, however, really brings the whole thing together.

Serves 2

– 1 butternut squash

– 1/2 a bowl of rocket (35g)

– 1/2 a bowl of spinach (35g)

– a dozen cherry tomatoes

– 2 large handfuls of green beans (240g)

– 1 courgette

– 1/2 a cup of pine nuts (70g)

– 1/3 of a cup of poppy seeds (60g)

– 1 teaspoon of paprika

For the dressing

– 4 tablespoons of olive oil

– 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

– 1 tablespoon of tahini

– 1 tablespoon of manuka honey or maple syrup

– 1 teaspoon of paprika

– 1/2 a teaspoon of chilli flakes

– salt

Slice the squash into pieces, then cut of the skin and chop the flesh into cubes and place them in a baking tray – discard the seed-filled centre part. Cover the cubes with olive oil, a teaspoon of paprika and the poppy seeds, mixing well to ensure that they are totally covered. Then bake for 30-40 minutes in a 200C oven, until they are nicely tender and can easily be pierced with a fork.

While the squash cooks prepare the rest of the salad. For the dressing place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth, once this is done keep this to one side.

Next, steam the beans for 5 minutes, allowing them to cool before mixing them into the salad. Slice the courgettes into thin half moon shapes and then tomatoes into quarters before adding to a salad bowl with the spinach and rocket.

Once the squash is almost ready add the pine nuts and allow them to bake for the remaining 2 or three minutes. Then remove the tray, allow it to cool for a few minutes before adding it to the salad bowl. Pour the dressing on, mix well and then serve and enjoy!