Spring on a Plate: Roasted Squash, Bean, Potato and Pea Salad


In spite of this spring's uncooperative weather (which has vacillated temperamentally between bouts of hail, raging banshee-like winds, and everything in between), our garden is beginning to sprout! In our compact little back yard, we've squeezed in some added ambition this year, increasing from two to three raised beds, and finally starting composting. It's nearly June, and having endured the quick demise of several tomato seedlings due to early transplanting, we're really pushing the envelope when it comes to filling all three beds. We've got about half our allotted space remaining--a sure project for this weekend, and a handy diversion for an upcoming 1/2 ironman taper week. Of the seeds we did plant in early May, astoundingly, we've got promising growth! Lettuce, chard, beets, broccoli, onions, and carrots are all looking like hardy testaments to Mother Nature's brilliance, allowing novices like ourselves to beam and glow after having mis-judged much and overlooked more already this season. Peas, ever eager to strut their stuff, were even quicker than I remembered, and I've been eagerly trolling for good pea recipe ideas. Looking through Nigella Lawson's "Forever Summer", I once again found a salad which beckoned to be tried and altered, "Double Courgette and Bean Salad". The photo managed to make squash look like steak fries (yum), but what really captivated me was her description: spritzed with lemon and tossed with basil and parsley: early summer on a plate.  Late spring/ early summer...Colorado/UK...you say tomAto, I say tomAHto, I figured...so decided to work on Late Spring on a Plate: a roasted squash, bean, potato, and pea salad. Nigella's recipe roasts yellow and green squash, well coated with oil, for about a half hour, then mixes in cooked green beans, broad beans, and seasonings. Once again, like my Nigella-inspired carrot lentil salad, I really ignored the tried-and-true message of simplicity with this salad, having too much fun throwing in everything springy, but I think it worked deliciously. One change I would make in the future is, I really wanted to use steamed new potatoes, but because of what I had on hand, I went with roasted russets instead. I can't say I really regret it, though. I started roasting the potatoes alone with a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, later added green beans and squash, and finally tossed with lemon juice, dijon mustard, basil, parsley, and peas. The starchy potatoes made this feel like a much more complete meal; all you need is a side of protein. We had it with baked salmon with dill for dinner, and the next day I took it for lunch with a small snack of mixed nuts.

Roasted Squash, Bean, Potato, and Pea Salad

  • *2 medium russet potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed
  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut into batons
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into batons
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh garden peas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley

*My intention, in striving to make this more authentically like "an ode to spring" on a plate, was to steam new red potatoes. However, I had 2 russets that were just about to go floury and which needed to be used, so that's what I went with. Next time, I'll modify by steaming halving/quartering the new potatoes, and will roast only the beans and squash.

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. On a large roasting tin, arrange potatoes, coated with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, turning halfway.

2. While potatoes are roasting, trim beans and cut zucchini and squash. Add to pan with remaining tablespoon oil, mix, to coat, and continue roasting 10 minutes more.

3. While vegetables are roasting, whisk dijon mustard and lemon juice. Chop basil and parsley and mix into dressing.

4. Allow vegetables to cool slightly, then toss gently with peas and dressing in a bowl. Serve warm or chilled.