Sometimes a salad needs a bit of extra bang. Philippa Davis adds some punchy chorizo and smoked sweet paprika to 'unmanly' couscous and makes it into a shooting cert.

Chorizo, squash and couscous salad with extra coriander, chilli and lemon is a hearty choice. And will go particularly well with butterflied venison. I started making this dish when I was once caught between the couple hosting the shoot. She loved couscous salads but he said it was “unmanly” and threatened (jokingly) to send me home if I served one. Cajoled into making one I had to ensure it was macho enough by adding lots of spice and fatty chorizo. He was obviously swayed as not only was I allowed to stay but I was booked for the following shoot.

For more salad inspiration take a look at our other 7 best salads for shooting lunches.


Serves 12 alongside 1 or 2 main dishes

■ 2 butternut squash peeled, deseeded and roughly cut into 2cm (4⁄5in) chunks
■ 9 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
■ 4 tbsp water
■ 3 tsp ground cinnamon
■ 800g (13⁄4lb) spicy cooking chorizo, sliced into 1cm (2⁄5in) rounds
■ 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
■ 3 tsp smoked sweet paprika
■ 3 tsp ground cumin
■ 400g (141⁄4oz) couscous
■ 400ml (14fl oz) very hot chicken or game stock
■ 100g (31⁄2oz) coriander, washed and finely chopped (stalks and leaves)
■ 2 green chillies, halved and finely chopped
■ 1 cucumber, cut in to 1cm (2⁄5in) cubes
■ Juice of 3 lemons
■ 80g (22⁄5oz) flatleaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

For the chorizo, squash and couscous salad, first of all toss the squash with 4 tbsp olive oil, the water, cinnamon and seasoning. Roast on a baking tray until tender (30 minutes). Fry the chorizo in 2 tbsp olive oil. When it starts to brown, add garlic, paprika and cumin. Cook for a further minute. Put the couscous into a bowl, pour the stock over it, cover with cling film and leave for five minutes or until soft.

Remove the cling film and fluff up the couscous with a fork. Add the chorizo and any remaining cooking oil, coriander, chillies, cucumber, lemon juice, parsley, squash and the rest of the olive oil. Mix well and serve. This can be eaten warm or cold and goes well with grilled meats.