The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

warm salad of butternut squash, chickpea and kale

warm-salad-of-butternut-squash-chickpea-and-kale jump to recipe

Supermarkets are very good at spotting trends, and even better at making themselves appear to be on top of those trends.

For example, in the last few years pressure from consumers has led to the provenance of fresh food being clearly displayed on the label. In some cases, the label will even identify the very farm where the produce was grown.

For those of us who check the labels, this trend has helped us make more informed choices over what we put in our shopping baskets.

Unfortunately, whilst such labelling should promote greater transparency, it is heavily dependent on the honesty and integrity of the supermarkets themselves.

And therein lies a problem.

Earlier this year, Tesco supermarket was revealed to be using fake farm labels on its fresh produce. Tesco have seven such labels – Rosedene Farm, Boswell Farms, Suntrail Farms, Willow Farms, Nightingale Farms, Redmere Farms and Woodside Farms.

None of these farms actually exist. These cosy, English-sounding names could also fool some customers into believing they are buying local, or at least British products when they are not. Suntrail Farms, for example, is a label Tesco uses on imported fruit.

Tesco may be the worst, but they are not the only offender: Aldi, Lidl and Morrisons have also been found to use fake farm labels on some of their products.

The UK’s National Farmers Union (NFU) has now lodged a formal complaint to the National Trading Standards Office over Tesco’s use a fake farm labels. I don’t often find myself on the same side as the NFU, but in this particular instance I wish them every success.

butternut squash harvestedkale growingmixed fresh herbsbutternuts-squash-chickpea-kale-shallot

Onto the recipe.

This delicious, wholesome autumnal salad tastes divine and, apart from roasting the butternut squash, it really doesn’t take long at all to put together.


Warm salad of butternut squash, chickpea and kale


1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-3cm chunks
200 g kale, tough stems removed, chopped
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 x 400g organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

for the herb dressing

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
20g pine nuts
20 g mixed fresh herbs (I used basil leaves, parsley and oregano)
75 g extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon


1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Place the chopped butternut squash in a roasting tray and drizzle over a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until the squash is tender and starting to caramelise slightly at the edges. Remove from the oven, drain on kitchen paper and set to one side.

2. While the squash is in the oven, make the dressing. Put the garlic, pine nuts, basil, parsley, oregano, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender and process until you have a fairly smooth dressing. Set to one side.

3. Place a wok or large frying pan over a medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the shallots and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the kale and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the kale has wilted and started to catch. Add the chickpeas and squash and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle over the dressing before serving.

Categories: dairy free, gluten free, vegan

Tags: ,

21 replies

  1. Healthy and nice for the season!

  2. It is a real shame about the labeling. Here in the US there is little oversight. I’ve learned that words such as, natural, farm-raised, cage-free, free-range or prepared products labeled organic have no actual meaning. The most unfortunate situation occurred at a local farmers market where after unpacking my purchase realized that some produce did in fact have the same little sticker with PLU numbers same as at the grocery. I guess we just have to try harder.

    Very nice recipe for the fall. Thanks

    • Hi Michael, and thank you for commenting. It comes to something when you can’t even be sure of what you’re buying at your local farmers market. Steve

    • Yes, Michael, many of those new labels on animal products are in response to consumer’s natural empathy for others, particularly those raised specially to feed us. Any ‘humane’ labels say nothing of the reality whose brutality most of us would avoid altogether (if given all the facts). We need to be made to feel good about our ‘bad.’ That’s exactly what labels do; they keep us buying.

  3. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Fake labels?? I’d like to think that would get squashed (no pun) by our deceptive trade laws. You can get in real trouble for intentionally lying to consumers. It’s why terms for animal products like ‘cage-free’ and ‘grass fed’ are used, which technically are true but very misleading to the industry standards.

    Another great post and, no doubt, recipe. Cheers!

  5. This looks delicious! 🙂

  6. Great read! I’ll be trying this for sure😄

  7. Reblogged this on Blog of a Mad Black Woman and commented:
    Nice and healthy!

  8. This sounds and looks delicious !

  9. It sounds great except for the kale – not a fan. I think I’ll try it with another green like spinach or rapinni or collards.

  10. Wow looks amazing, just may have to try whipping that up this weekend thanks for this sweet post and NEW CLEAN RECIPE!

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