Warm Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad

Whoa, where did January go? My New Year’s resolutions didn’t include updating this blog as infrequently as possible, but a very busy January at work and visitors frequenting our home have kept me far away from blogging. Since the months of January through May are typically a whirlwind of chaos at my job, I maaaay not be able to update this as frequently as I wish. But I’ll try.

So, onward:

I wanted to love this salad, I really did. I adore butternut squash and chickpeas, and the lemon-tahini dressing looked fantastic. But honestly, when all the components were together, this salad just didn’t do it for me.

I should have followed my instincts and replaced the red onion with shallots, or I should have at least roasted the red onion along with the butternut squash. But as it was, the raw red onion was just overpowering. Also, I roasted the squash for just a smidge too long — it would have been better with a little more of a shape to it, but I roasted it long enough that it became rather mushy. Plus, it’s supposed to be served warm, but it didn’t stay warm, so it was just kind of… lukewarm blah. I’d say either serve it cold or serve it piping hot. That’s just my opinion — this recipe has gotten rave reviews over at Smitten Kitchen, and it’s definitely a hearty, nutritious vegetarian option. If you try it, let me know what you think!

Oh, but the lemon-tahini salad dressing? That was indeed sublime.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 & 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 T. olive oil
Salt to taste
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

For tahini dressing:
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 T. well-stirred tahini
2 – 4 T. water
2 T. olive oil
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, combine the squash, garlic, olive oil, and a few pinches of salt*. Toss the squash pieces until evenly coated. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, or until soft. Remove from oven and set aside. (*If I make this salad again, I will replace the red onion with a small shallot and roast it along with the squash.)

While the squash is roasting, make the tahini dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini and whisk to blend. Add the water and olive oil and whisk well. Add a small amount of salt and taste for seasoning. You will probably need to add the other two tablespoons of water to thin out the dressing. It should be thin-ish, pourable.

Now assemble the salad: in a large bowl, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion (or shallots), and cilantro. Drizzle dressing over to taste and toss carefully. Then serve extra dressing on the side, because it’s delicious.

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2 responses to “Warm Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad

  1. I was not a fan of the tahini dressing myself–too nutty for me.

  2. Ahh, interesting. I could have eaten the dressing with a spoon! It seems like this recipe has too many boldly flavorful elements to be a real crowd-pleaser.

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