Sweet chilli onion squash with quinoa and kale

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Joey O'Hare serves up a warming salad of maple syrup-roasted onion squash with quinoa and kale, finished with a fiery sweet chilli dressing. Scattered toasted almonds provide extra texture to this hearty dish.

First published in 2018

This recipe is a firecracker! The sweet chilli dressing here isn’t shy, so feel free to drop down to one chilli if you prefer. If you can’t find onion squash then small crown prince or butternut will also do very well; either way, choose a meaty, firm squash, rather than something more watery like spaghetti squash. I recommend keeping the skin on, as this contains so much great fibre, and offers more variety of colour and texture in the final dish. You can use olive oil or sesame oil in the dressing, sesame will round off the chilli and ginger very nicely if you have it to hand.

This recipe serves four people as a lunch or supper. It’s a complete dish on its own I feel, but if you want to add some satiating fat I recommend a tablespoon of tahini drizzled over the top – it marries so well with the bold flavours in the dressing and the creamy roasted squash.




For the salad

Ginger and chilli dressing

To serve

  • almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped


To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients (except the oil) in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and add the oil. Allow the flavours to infuse while you make the salad
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6, ensuring there's an oven rack positioned at the top of the oven. Line a baking tray with parchment paper
Wash the squash well but don’t peel. Cut each squash into 8 half moons, or more if they are large. Toss with the olive oil, maple syrup and sea salt
Roast in the preheated oven for 20–30 minutes; check the texture and when suitably soft, turn on the grill for a final 5 minutes to achieve a lovely blistered texture on the skin and some charring on the edges
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the bouillon powder and whisk well to dissolve. Tip in the quinoa, whisk well and cook for 14 minutes, stirring from time to time
Chop or tear the kale leaves into smaller pieces. Place in a large colander or sieve and sit over the sink. Boil the kettle and pour the water over the kale to wilt
Once the quinoa is cooked, pour this over the kale too
Return the quinoa and kale to the dry pan and allow the steam of billow off well to avoid a soggy salad. Season with sea salt
Pour the dressing over the quinoa and kale while still warm and mix very well
In your chosen salad bowl, layer the quinoa and kale mix with the roasted squash. Finish with some toasted and chopped almonds and an extra drizzle of olive oil or sesame oil. Serve warm

Joey has worked as a chef for ten years, both in London restaurants and in private homes across the UK and abroad. Joey’s latest project, Food with Time, explores ideas of sustainability within the food and farming industries, as well as the importance of a seasonal, veg-centric diet for both the environment and the individual.

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