Roasted Vegetable Feta Walnut Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
A few years ago we spent two beautiful months in Sydney. Of all the experiences, sights and delights, one that has left its mark was this unbelievably tasty salad. I can’t eat it without dreaming myself back to Manly. For me, this is the taste of Australia.
There’s something about the warm day feeling of Sun Dried Tomatoes; the intensity of the Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar in the Pesto; the sweetness of the Butternut Squash and the crunch of the Walnuts. Nothing less than sensational.
What I love about this recipe is the variety of ways you can adapt the vegetables. Whatever you’ve got in the fridge, throw it on in there. There’s no need for a major shopping excursion.
Roasted Vegetable, Feta Walnut Salad
1 Butternut squash
250g Creamy feta cheese
100g Walnuts – crushed
Vegetable oil (other than olive oil* for roasting)
Olive oil for flavouring
1) Chop all the vegetables into approximately 1,5cm (1/2 inch) cubes & spread them out on an oven tray. They should be in a single layer, no problem at all if they’re tightly packed. If you need to, take a second oven tray rather than piling them up on one.
2) Drizzle the vegetable oil over the vegetables, and toss them around a little bit to cover evenly. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Roast at 200C/400F for 30-35 minutes until the vegetables are soft and starting to get some colour.
3) Roughly cut or crumble the feta cheese ready for serving.
(In the meanwhile you have time to prepare the pesto)
4) Once out of the oven, drizzle olive oil over the roasted vegetables. Serve with the feta cheese, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and a handfull of crushed walnuts.
100g (3.5oz) ground cashew nuts
30g (1oz) grated parmesan
5 Sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Grind the cashew nuts (it works just as well with a coffee grinder as a hand mixer), add the grated parmesan, the sun dried tomatoes and all the other ingredients. Add more olive oil if you’d like a thinner consistency. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
*Why not to use olive oil to roast the vegetables
Olive oil ’burns’ at some point between 185-200C/ 365-400F. This not only means that the vegetables, and your oven may retain a smell of burnt oil, it also means that you don’t get to keep any of the great flavour of the olive oil. So instead of roasting with it and then not tasting it, try roasting with a different vegetable oil – rapeseed/canola for example – and then adding the olive oil at the end. I guarantee you’ll notice the difference!
Wow! We’re on a road trip in California right now, without an oven… I can’t wait to be able to roast vegetables again!
The other fantastic thing about this salad is that it makes equally fantastic leftovers.
Roasted Vegetable, Feta & Walnut Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, a taste of Sydney.