Sunday, March 14, 2010

Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad

I’m coming to you from a foreign kitchen again, this time from sunny and beautiful LA!! I found great tickets a few months ago and in the middle of another blizzard, decided I needed to peace out for my spring break- and this is the most relaxed I’ve been since school started. After spending a glorious afternoon reading outside in the sun, fighting the cat-in-sunshine syndrome, I decided to make my favorite squash recipe for dinner.

 Oh, yeah, and this was the view I had from the kitchen.

This is the recipe that started my deep and study-distracting love affair with food blogs. When I was visiting Andrew over midterm break last fall, he made this for dinner after finding in on smittenkitchen – which is easily my favorite food blog after the one he and I co-author. Oh, quick side note: Andrew’s hard drive crashed, which is part of why he hasn’t posted in awhile. He’ll eventually be back on here with recipes and until then I’m happy to entertain requests for meat-based foods if anyone has them.

There was a slight misadventure involved with making this – when I went to put the squash in the oven, I discovered the door handle had somehow unscrewed itself. It’s a simple fix but 425º isn’t the time to be touching metals. This recipe is phenomenal. It takes a little bit to make, though once you get the squash peeled and chopped, you’re halfway there. The sauce calls for tahini, which is the best option I’ve had so far, but this time we used peanut butter because it’s what we had on hand and it was still great. This is technically a salad and can be used as a side, though more often than not this is a main course. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and everyone else who’s tried it!

Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad, from smittenkitchen
Makes 4 servings
For Salad:
1 medium butternut squash (2 to 2 ½ pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces)
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
½ tsp ground allspice
*you can skip this, or use cinnamon or nutmeg, whatever works
2 Tbs olive oil
salt to taste
One 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ medium red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
*I prefer cilantro, the flavor holds up better

Tahini Dressing:
1 medium garlic clove, finely minced
pinch of salt
¼ cup lemon juice
2 Tbs well-stirred tahini
2 Tbs water
2 Tbs olive oil, plus more to taste  *I usually need another 1-2 Tbs

Preheat the oven to 425º
1.      1. In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, garlic, allspice, olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Toss the squash pieces until evenly coated.

2.     2. Roast the squash on a baking sheet for 25 minutes or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool.
3.     While the squash is roasting, make the tahini dressing
4.     3. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini and whisk to blend.
5.     4. Add the water and olive oil, whisk well and taste for seasoning. The sauce should have plenty of nutty flavor but also a kick of lemon. Add olive oil or water to thin it out.

6.     5. To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Either add the tahini dressing to taste and toss carefully, or serve the dressing on the side. Serve immediately – and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, you got yourself to California, you lucky girl. What a place...if I'd been born there, I doubt I would ever live anywhere else. The butternut squash recipe looks delicious...I will now, after swearing off squash plants because of the way they take over my entire garden, once again plant one in my garden in your honor. Come August, I wil make this recipe with my homegrown squash and think of you...Thanks, Carolyn!