Sunday, October 9, 2011

Butternut Squash Salad

I found this recipe two years ago as I was just dipping my big toe in the food blogging pond (and wow, I've dived in deep since then!) on my then favorite blog, Smitten Kitchen.  Having never been a fan of butternut squash, I was leery.  Any other variety: acorn, spaghetti, pumpkin (obviously) I'm more than happy to have, but there was juts something about the strong butternut flavor that I could never appreciate.  Or so I thought.  This one dish changed my harsh judgement of the squash.  And for those of you who avoid anything with the word "salad" in the title, this may change your opinion of that word.  There is nothing green or salad-y about this dish, except that it has dressing.

Perfectly roasted squash and chick peas drenched in a light dressing of lemon, tahini, and fresh cilantro marry into a versatile side dish.  Or main course.  I've been known to bring a Tupperware full of this, and only this, for lunch on more than one occasion.

Warm Butternut Squash and Chick Pea Salad (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
olive oil
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 450*
Drizzle olive oil on cookie sheet.
Spread squash cubes in a single layer.
Drizzle more olive oil on squash and sprinkle with allspice.
Mix with hands and spread back into a to single layer.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until edges turn caramel brown and chewy.
Add chick peas to pan for last 5 minutes of baking, so they heat through.

While squash bakes, make the dressing.
Whisk garlic, lemon juice, tahini, water, and olive oil together.
Stir in red onion and cilantro.

Let squash and chick peas cool for five minutes.
Toss with dressing and serve.

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