We’re big fans of Riverford’s organic vegetable boxes which are always filled to the brim with seasonal veggies of all shapes and sizes, straight from their local farmers to your front door. The ease of delivery means you’ve got extra time to try their yummy recipes. Here’s one of our favourite spring time salads of sweet squash and crisp streaky bacon, tossed with pumpkin seeds and ricotta – easy to rustle up and perfect for a wholesome light lunch.
Prep & cook 35 mins
1 medium butternut squash
100g smoked streaky bacon
50g pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
100g salad pack
1. Pre heat your oven to 200˚C/180˚C fan/gas 6. Peel the butternut squash, split in half lengthways and remove the soft seedy core with a spoon. Chop the flesh into 3cm chunks.
2. Place the squash in the roasting tray, coat well in oil and season generously with salt & pepper. Pop in the oven to roast until tender, about 25-30 mins.
3. In the meantime, peel the shallot and slice it as finely as you possibly can. Place the slices in a small bowl with the vinegar and sugar, mix well and leave to lightly pickle.
4. Place the pumpkin seeds pieces in the frying pan and toast them over a medium heat, moving continuously, until they take a little colour and smell fragrant. Be cautious not to burn them. Add a little oil and season with salt. Keep to one side and give the pan a wipe clean.
5. Next cook the bacon. Start by cutting away any rind from the edge and discarding it. Put the frying pan onto the heat with a very small amount of oil, the bacon will release plenty of fat as it cooks.
6. Cook the bacon over a medium heat until golden and crispy, about 6-8 mins, turning once. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan if choosing to make the alternative dressing in the cook’s notes.
7. While the bacon cools make the dressing, remove 1 tablespoon of vinegar from the pickling shallots and whisk it thoroughly with the mustard and a good pinch of salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoon of olive oil, adding it slowly so that you get a well combined dressing.
8. When the bacon has cooled and become firm break it into small bite size pieces. Wash the watercress, drain it and shake, spin or pat dry.
9. When the squash is cooked let it cool slightly for 10 mins. Place it into a bowl with the watercress, bacon, pumpkin seeds and dressing. Mix well, pile onto plates and scatter over the ricotta.
If you are feeling indulgent you can make your dressing with the warm bacon fat that remains after cooking the bacon. Just keep it on a gentle heat and whisk in the mustard and 1 tbsp vinegar. There should be no need to season with anything more than a little pepper. You’ll need to serve this immediately.