- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks, seeds reserved
- 2 red onions, each cut into quarters
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed
- 3½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- handful thyme sprigs, leaves stripped, plus extra to garnish
- 300g pearl barley
- 50g walnut, roughly chopped
Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…
- 1½ tbsp maple syrup
The rising spring sap of a number of varieties of maple tree…
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
True Balsamic vinegar is an artisan product from Modena, in Emilia Romagna, Italy, and is made…
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 100g baby spinach, shredded
- 140g blue cheese, thinly sliced
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the squash, onions and garlic with 2 tbsp of the oil and some seasoning. Roast for 35-45 mins or until the vegetables crisp up in places – turning halfway through cooking and adding the thyme leaves. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, discarding the garlic. Cook the barley, following pack instructions, until al dente. Drain and cool.
Meanwhile, rinse the squash seeds, removing any flesh, and dry thoroughly. Put the walnuts and squash seeds in a frying pan and toast until golden brown. Add ½ tbsp oil, the maple syrup, sugar, chilli flakes and some salt. Let it bubble for a few mins, until the sugar has caramelised. Tip onto a tray, allow to cool, then bash into pieces. Make a dressing by mixing the balsamic, mustard, remaining oil and some seasoning.
Toss the squash and onions through the barley, followed by the spinach and dressing. Scatter over the cheese, nuts and some extra thyme sprigs to serve.
Choose your blue cheeseIf you find blue cheeses a little overpowering, try using Wensleydale Blue. If you love a deeper tangy flavour, go for a Colston Bassett Stilton, Stichelton or Strathdon Blue.