Roasted Squash & Red Onion with Wilted Chard & Romesco Sauce

Ingredients

  • One small winter squash – about 400g
  • 400g red onion
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional – or use red wine or sherry vinegar)
  • 200g rainbow chard (or spinach)
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds (optional – or you could use hazelnuts or walnuts)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C and pop in two baking trays or roasting pans

Peel the squash and chop into chunks around 3cm cubed. Put them in a bowl and splash in around 2 tbsp olive oil, a hearty grind of salt and black pepper. Work them with your hands to coat the chunks with oil.  Peel the onions. Leave the bottom of the onions intact so you can cut it into quarters (or six pieces) from the top without them disintegrating. Pop them in bowl and season the same as the squash but also splash in 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar.

Ideally you would roast the squash and onions in separate trays in case they cook at different speeds but you’ll probably get away with it if space is scarce. Whatever you do, add the prepared vegetables to a hot pan and roast for 30-40 minutes. Check every ten minutes to see how they are doing.

While that is happening, toast the slivered almonds in a dry pan over a medium heat, moving them around frequently. You want them to brown slightly and to smell amazing. When they are done remove them from the pan immediately (as they will keep browning in a hot pan) and put to the side.

Chop the garlic and roughly chop the chard. Heat one tbsp of sunflower oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the garlic. Stir until it is golden and quickly (not letting the garlic burn) add the chard. Turn the heat up and stir fry for around a minute until it wilts. Add the roasted veg and mix. Serve topped with the almonds and Romesco sauce (recipe below but add an extra 2 tbsp olive oil to make it more runny).

This makes a great side dish with blue cheese, haloumi, meat or fish and works really well with couscous.

Easy Romesco Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 medium red or yellow peppers, left whole
  • 4 tbsp slivered or flaked almonds (or use hazelnuts or ground almonds)
  • 2 tbsp nice olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or red wine/sherry vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes

Method

Heat an oven to really hot – at least 220 C and line a baking sheet with foil. Prick the peppers so they don’t explode and drizzle with some olive oil. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until nearly blackened on all sides. Then wrap in foil to steam for a few minutes (this will help the skin come off more easily).

Toast almonds over medium-low heat in a dry pan, stirring frequently, being careful not to burn. Toast until light golden brown — about 3-5 minutes. Skip this step if using ground almonds.

Unwrap peppers and carefully remove charred skin, stems, and seeds. Then add to a food processor or blender along with the almonds, olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, garlic, salt, and chilli flakes.

Either blend until creamy and smooth, or pulse / blend for a few seconds for a chunkier texture.