Today I ventured into Nottingham for a meal with my guy. This is not always an easy thing to do. (No, not because of my guy – he’s wonderful. It’s true.) But since I avoid food made with animal stuff, eating out can be a real challenge. I’ve done my fair share of asking politely for bits to be omitted or substituted, and I’ve eaten my fair share of plain pasta with tomato sauce or a jacket potato with beans (baked potato with baked beans).

But today, I was in for a real treat at The Orange Tree pub. Of course I had a glass of wine and a side of chips (of course I did). But I also had a delicious salad, straight off the menu (nearly) that was tasty and fresh and filling and everything an animal free eater could ask for. The fresh peppery rocket was a great match with the sweet, well cooked butternut squash – a nice balance of spicy and sweet.

The red onions had been roasted just enough to take on a bit of sweetness, but didn’t come close to being even the slightest bit mushy. Cherry tomatoes and walnuts were mixed in as well, and the pieces of toasted ciabatta provided a perfect amount of bite and crunch. What I really appreciated was that all these ingredients were in great proportion to one another, where no one flavour dominated the plate.

The dressing was simple and allowed the flavours of the salad ingredients to take centre stage. If I had one thought it would be that perhaps just a bit less of the dressing would be needed as it did seem to be mainly oil – but that would be an example of me being very fussy. Really, this salad was perfect.

I mentioned that it was straight off the menu (nearly), and by that I mean that I requested this without the poached egg that it was described as having in the menu description. I cannot imagine why anyone would put a poached egg on this gorgeous salad.

The only reason I can come up with is that they had some idea that a traditional omnivore protein source would be needed. I am ever so thankful that this item is on the menu that I would never complain at all, but I hope that maybe enough people will order it without the egg to make the kitchen staff realize its perfection all on its own. I will be going back and hope to find another gem like this one on their menu.

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