Superfood Salads: Black rice salad with cumin and roasted butternut squash

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An explosion of colour and plenty of fresh ingredients with this little Persian inspired number.

Wonderful exotic aromas of cumin, a touch of sweetness with the dried cranberries, zingy, taste-tingling flavours with the orange and pomegranate molasses dressing. You’re guaranteed to get your daily dose of fresh veg, fruit and fibre with this salad.

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Serves:          6-8

Prep time:     30 minutes

Cook time:     35 minutes

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ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, un-peeled, cubed into 2cm chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 250g black wild rice
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • 100g blanched hazelnuts, toasted and halved
  • 30g flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 220 g cherry tomatoes
  • 200g feta, to serve (optional)

For the dressing

  • zest and juice of one large unwaxed orange
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 4-5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

 

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200C fan and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Blanche the hazelnuts in boiling water for five minutes and drain. Put the squash on the baking tray, drizzle over the olive oil, scatter over the cumin seeds and generously season, toss with a spoon to ensure the chunks are evenly coated with oil and seasoning. Roast for 30-35 minutes until the edges are caramalised, gently stir halfway through to allow all sides of the squash to brown. Five minutes before the end pop the drained almonds on a small oven tray to toast. Remove squash and hazelnuts from the oven and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Cook the rice according to instructions, then strain and rinse well with cold water until all the starch is washed off and the rice is cold. Allow to drain well.
  3. De-seed the pomegranate and mix them in a large bowl or platter, with the cranberries, chopped peppers, tomatoes, herbs, onion and rice. Skin the cooled hazelnuts and break in half, adding them to the platter.
  4. Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl with a generous amount of seasoning to taste. Once the squash is completely cool, gently mix it with the other ingredients. Pour over the dressing, mix well and serve with the feta crumbled on top, if using.

 

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