Sunday, November 22, 2009

Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing

This is another wonderful recipe I found on Orangette. I served it for lunch to the Engineer and his father, and all three of us heartily approve. I just love roasted butternut squash! And chickpeas too, of course. I found this healthy recipe delicious both with and without dressing, warm or cold. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I omitted the clove of garlic from the roasting pan, but I did have garlic in the dressing. I also ended up using 5 Tbsp of olive oil in the dressing, because my tahini was quite bitter. If this is the case with yours too, you could also reduce the amount of tahini and keep the rest of the ingredients as they are. I served the dressing on the side, because it was then easier to refrigerate unused servings.

For the salad
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 ½ lb.), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
1 medium garlic clove, pressed
½ tsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp olive oil
a 19-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ of a medium red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

For the tahini sauce
1 medium garlic clove, finely minced with a pinch of salt
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp well-stirred tahini
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 °F.

In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, garlic, allspice, olive oil, and a good pinch or two of salt. Using a large spoon or your hands, toss until the squash pieces are evenly coated. Turn them out onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini, and whisk to blend. Add the water and olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. The sauce should have plenty of nutty tahini flavor, but also a little kick of lemon.

To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add tahini sauce to taste, and toss carefully. Serve, with additional salt for sprinkling.

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