This recipe is an homage to the many times we’ve all been to our local deli/cafe and found ourselves astounded by the hastily thrown together salads, which are soon found to be perfectly balanced and down-right delicious. Usually, my recipes feign a sense of deep-thought and consideration; the Green Bean and Butternut Squash Salad you see before you is the product of nothing more than a swift glance around my fridge. Hastily thrown together, it is nonetheless perfectly balanced and downright delicious.
If all you do with your green beans is boil them, smother them in butter and relegate them to the periphery of your plate, then shame on you. Cooked properly, they are sweet, crunchy even… pleasurable. Braise your beans in butter and over a high heat let them go ever so slightly crispy, tinged with the nutty quality of beurre noisette (the qualities of which I’ve explored before).
Other than that, the flavourings in this salad are very simple – you simply can’t put a foot wrong with extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped parsley. The squash, of course, speaks for itself, offering a temptingly soft, squishy texture to contrast the bite of the beans. Add to the mix some suitably rustic bulgur wheat to hold things together and what you have is a simple salad with a surprising depth of flavour.
Green Bean and Butternut Squash Salad
- 400g butternut squash, cubed
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100g bulgur wheat
- 250g green beans, topped and tailed
- 30g butter
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- a pinch of salt
- a twist of black pepper
- Pop the squash on a roasting tray, drizzle with vegetable oil and roast at 200C/180C(fan) for 20 minutes, or until browning and soft.
- Meanwhile, boil the bulgur wheat in slightly salted water for 10-15 minutes, until soft through. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Heat the butter in a heavy-based pan and fry the trimmed green beans until tender and slightly browned – a slightly crunch should remain.
- To the wheat add the olive oil, parsley and green beans, along with the melted butter. Once the squash is cooked mix through the salad and season liberally.
- Serve alone or as a side, it is delicious in either setting.
Cost: Green beans, squash, wheat – nothing about this recipe is expensive, or excessive; in fact, it more-or-less ensures frugality. As usual, it’s worth spending a little extra on your olive oil – use it sparingly and your food, and wallet, will benefit.
All told, this recipe for Green Bean and Butternut Squash Salad should set you back no more than £2.30. A tempting price for a 4-person side-salad or main for 2!
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