All the elements of this recipe are cooked separately, allowing each to be seasoned distinctly; this allows each individual vegetable to be cooked and spiced to perfection, before combining everything at the end. I recommend using a heavy-based cast iron casserole pan for this recipe, and serving in the same vessel, allowing the salad to stay warm. Alternatively, a shallow non-stick pan/wok with a lid would do perfectly well.
1 Butternut Squash (approx. 800g-1kg in weight)
200g Pearl Barley (dry weight)
800ml Vegetable Stock
200g Purple Sprouting broccoli, chopped in to 2cm pieces, leaves included
150g Curly Kale, chopped
Ground black pepper
50g sunflower/pumpkin seeds
1 medium/large Red Onion, chopped into strips
50g Pecan nuts
80g Pomegranate seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
Goats cheese to serve (optional)
For the dressing:
100g Parsley leaves (tender stems included)
Approx. 30-40 Mint leaves
25g Parmesan cheese
2 large Garlic cloves
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp Pine nuts
½ tsp Salt
1) Preheat the oven to 180C. Peel, de-seed, and slice the butternut squash in to 1cm x 1cm cubes (roughly) and put in a roasting tin. Drizzle with 2tbsp olive oil, and season with ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp ground black pepper and ½ tsp of cayenne pepper, to taste. Toss in the tin to coat evenly, and roast in the oven for 45 minutes until just tender.
2) Meanwhile, combine the pearl barley and vegetable stock in a pan, and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down slightly, and simmer for 45 minutes-1 hour, until the stock has been absorbed and the pearl barley retains a little bite.
3) Prepare the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and blitzing until smooth. Set aside.
4) Once the butternut squash and pearl barley are ready, heat a splash of water in a shallow, lidded pan, until simmering. Add the chopped kale and purple sprouting broccoli, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to steam for 2-3 minutes with the lid on, until just cooked and bright green, still retaining some crunch. Remove from the pan and set aside.
5) Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in the pan on a low heat, and add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds to sizzle lightly in the oil, releasing their flavours. Tip in the cooked pearl barley, butternut squash, broccoli and kale, and stir gently to combine.
6) Take off the heat, and stir in the chopped red onion. Sprinkle over the pecan nuts, pomegranate seeds, and squeeze fresh lemon juice generously all over. Dollop the pesto throughout, and add slices of goats cheese if desired. Serve in the pan to keep warm, and enjoy.
This recipe is wonderful on its own, or great served as an accompaniment to a homemade soup, with some warm, wholegrain bread.
Follow Dr Sheena Patel on Instagram at @doctorsheenacooks for more recipe inspiration and step by step methods.