It’s more than a month into the semester and now I can safely say that I miss home. What do I miss, you might ask. Family? Friends? Pets? No… I miss the food. And whilst you may, again, think that I miss my Dad’s Sunday roast (I do but…) or my mum’s chicken pie (oh yeah… I do…), I mostly miss the convenience of my favourite local cafés and their specialties.
This recipe is a recreation of one of my favourite salads from a London café, Gail’s Bakery. Their butternut squash, goat’s cheese and spinach salad was a regular weekend pick up that has been sorely missed. So, I finally caved and made my own version.
This salad is easy, inexpensive and completely customisable, it’s also full of protein and vegetables, so it’s even healthy too. This recipe will make two or three portions, so it will last you throughout the week as well. Additionally, I find making salads like this in bulk helps keep that extra bit of money in your pocke. Ultimately, this is a win-win recipe. Want to learn how to make it? Read on…
1 or 2 sweet potatoes depending on size
120g puy/green lentils
Half a punnet of cherry tomatoes
2 handfuls of spinach
One packet of goat’s cheese
Splash of olive oil
Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 6/400F/200°c.
Start off by chopping up your sweet potatoes into small chunks and place them on a foil lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put into the oven and leave to cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until soft.
While they cook, prepare the lentils. Place them in a saucepan and, to your one part lentils, add 5 parts water (if unsure, there will be instructions on the back of your packet). Boil them for 10 minutes and then simmer for a further 35.
Here you have half an hour to tidy your kitchen, do some tutorial work, or, like me, relax and watch some Netflix. Or you can prepare the rest of the salad.
In a big mixing bowl, mix together the spinach, sliced tomatoes and goat’s cheese.
When the lentils are ready – they’ll have absorbed all of the water and be soft and easily mushed – add them to your salad. I added mine straight from the saucepan meaning that the goat’s cheese melted to create, effectively, a creamy cheese sauce. Next time, to allow the cheese to keep its shape and texture, I’ll let the lentils cool before adding them.
Finally, when your sweet potato chunks are solid but, like the lentils, easily mushed, add them to the bowl and mix!
Eat it cold or warm, in or out the house (perfect for a lunch at the library) or otherwise. What you’ll end up with is a nice big bowl of filling, nutritious goodness that will last you throughout the week. Enjoy!