Saturday, October 3, 2009

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad

If the number of butternut squash(es? what's the plural on that one) sitting on my counter is any indication, the season of winter vegetables is upon us. At least, its upon us here in balmy Boston, where it hovers above freezing for the majority of the year. But I'm not even tired of blueberries yet! Or pears! Or zucchini (really)!

At any rate, those farmers keep shoving squash at me, so I have no choice but to eat it. Somehow, in the intervening months since I have last feasted on this particular squash, I forgot how naturally sweet it is. Which means it lends itself perfectly to that cuisine of my favor: Middle Eastern. The combination of sweet, hot, salty and tangy is a favorite of those Bedouins, and found its way into my kitchen tonight thanks to Orangette.

I loved my salad but it may have been a bit heavy on the dressing. Follow her lead and add the dressing to your tossed ingredients a little at time, to taste.
Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini
serves 2, or 1 with leftovers; takes about 40 minutes, with canned beans

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned, drained, will do OK)
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

1 small clove garlic, grated
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp tahini, well stirred
up to 1 Tbsp olive oil
water, to thin, as desired
  1. Toss squash chunks with garlic, allspice, and a healthy douse of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in a 425ยบ oven for about 20 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by whisking together garlic, lemon juice, and tahini. If it is too bitter or acerbic, add olive oil. If it is too thick for your liking, add water.
  3. When squash is done, toss in a bowl with chickpeas, onion and cilantro. Add 2 Tbsp or so of dressing, toss, and taste. Add more as desired.

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