A squash-based salad

What do you do with a pumpkin? Apart from make a little face in the front and then turn the rest into soup?

Hurrah for October, because it means several wonderful things: mulled cider in pubs, dressing like a goth for the entire month, Halloween and PUMPKINS. Not just for carving, we love putting our pumps in a squash-based salad, especially this ‘mega-hearty-and-filling-despite-being-veggie’ one. Taken from Savage Salads by Davide Del Gatto and Kristina Gustafsson (Frances Lincoln, £16.99), this is easy to make and still good cold, so you can take it to work in your lunchbox like a champion.

Serves 4
1 pumpkin, about 1-2kg/2¼ –4½ lb
olive oil, for cooking
a few thyme and rosemary sprigs
2 red onions
500g/1lb 2oz/3 cups bulgur wheat
juice of 1 lemon
50g/1¾ oz dried dates, stoned and quartered lengthways
200g/7oz spinach
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
250g/9oz soft goat’s cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Cut the pumpkin in half with a large, heavy knife and scoop out all the seeds from the centre using a spoon. Discard the seeds (you can toast these to use in another salad). Remove the skin, then dice the pumpkin flesh roughly into 2.5cm/1in pieces and toss in a baking tray with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper and half of the fresh herbs. Roast on the top shelf of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Use a sharp knife to check when the chunks are soft in the centre.

Meanwhile, peel the onions, making sure to leave the root intact (this will help keep the wedges together). Halve each one lengthways, then cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges lengthways again, through the root.

Place the onion wedges in a baking tray and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and the remaining fresh herbs, then roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes. If the onions finish roasting before the pumpkin, put the tray at the bottom of the oven to keep them warm.

Put the bulgur wheat into a heatproof bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.

When the onions and pumpkin pieces are ready, leave to cool for a few minutes. Separate the bulgur wheat grains with a fork, then dress with a drizzle of olive oil. Season and mix in all the remaining ingredients, except the cheese. Crumble the goat’s cheese over the top before serving.