Saturday, December 12, 2009

Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing

This recipe is shut-your-face- delicious. Seriously. Ms. Mosely joined C and I for an after-Thanksgiving-Thanksgiving-meal where this dish was the star. We made a last minute executive decision to modify the recipe a bit and carmelize the onions and cook the chickpeas and serve it all hot. That was the right decision! And it made yummy lunch leftovers too! I'm really excited to make this one again, and again, and again...

Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing
Recommended by the lovely Shannon, Found on Smitten Kitchen, Adapted from Orangette, who adapted it from Casa Moro (whew!)

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients for salad:
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • black pepper to taste

Ingredients for Tahini Dressing:
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced with a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. 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. Roast them on a baking sheet for 25 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool.
  3. Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice and cayenne pepper. 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. You might need to add more water to thin it out.
  4. Carmelize the onions in olive oil, then add the chickpeas to the pan to cook.
  5. To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro or parsley in a mixing bowl. Either add the tahini dressing to taste, and toss carefully, or you could serve the salad with the dressing on the side. Serve immediately.
Note: Molly says this salad, lightly dressed, keeps beautifully in the fridge, that you should hold a little of the dressing on the side and that it can be reheated in the microwave. (I agree! We didn't keep any on the side, just dressed and tossed the whole thing, but it reheated wonderfully in the microwave).