Yesterday while taking a little stroll through blogland I found reference to a butternut squash and halloumi salad and thought yum but decided to do a bit more digging via a google search for those same ingredients and very quickly found a butternut squash, beetroot, chickpea, and halloumi salad - oh yum yum yum, all ingredients that I love and a warm salad that moves away from my usual standby of couscous salad. Unfortunately raw beetroot is not the easiest thing to find in the Covent Garden vicinity on a Monday evening, what with the local supermarkets being more geared up to tourists buying packed lunches and workers buying microwave meals, so I had to compromise with buying some cooked beetroot. I know people who have a deep hatred of precooked beetroot (I assume it's a little too close to school dinner beetroot but having never suffered school dinners I manage to avoid these associations) but I like it, granted it isn't the same and granted your salad may be a little less fuschia if you actually roast your own beetroot but it was good with the precooked stuff and if that's all you can find and you want to try this salad (which you should) then go ahead.
The precooked beetroot and my preference for warmed through chickpeas meant that I made a few alterations to the cooking instructions. The fact that two old friends phoned at the exact same time, one for me and one for Chris, meant that everything stayed in the oven slightly longer than necessary but this didn't matter at all, the onions were more caramelised, the squash more softly roasted, the beetroot and chickpeas properly warmed through. If you want your salad a little less enthusiastically pink then maybe try and keep the elements (and by that I mean the beetroot) separate until they reach your plate. I just popped it all into a bowl, dressed it in the oil and spices, added the parsley and served. You can do it your way but if I'm eating at 10pm I tend not to worry too much about pretty, although it's pink and when I was ten everything pretty was pink.
1 butternut squash
4 uncooked beetroot (or precooked and cubed), quartered
1 large red onion
250g halloumi, cut into 1cm cubes
1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
Olive oil for cooking
Extra virgin olive oil for dressing the salad
Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Peel and dice the squash. Peel the red onion and slice into as many thin wedges as you can manage while keeping the end of the root intact so that the layers don't all fall apart. Quarter the beetroot and wrap them in foil. Put the onion and squash on a baking tray with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for approximately 40 minutes or until the squash is cooked through and the onions have caramelised. Put the wrapped beetroot in at the same time to roast. When the veg are almost done add the chickpeas (and diced precooked beetroot if using) to the oven to warm through and place the halloumi on top of the squash to soften and turn slightly golden. After about 10 minutes everything should be cooked/warmed through. Add all of the ingredients to a salad bowl, stir in some extra virgin olive oil, some salt and pepper, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander and 1-2 teaspoons of ground sumac depending on how much you like it (2 for me). Finally add the chopped parsley and serve. If you want to keep your salad a more normal colour then keep your beetroot separate and add to the plates at the end.