Thursday, April 15, 2010

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini

*Post by Angela.
Two vegetarian recipe posts in two days?  The world has gone crazy.  I actually made this beautiful salad from Orangette a couple of weeks back for my annual Easter/Passover dinner (a dinner I didn't end up posting about because as the wine started flowing, I quickly forgot to take photos of what I was cooking).  Cooking dinner for my friends can sometimes be a challenging (but rewarding) task - in my little group of lovable maniacs, I have a couple of vegetarians (and those who oppose them, which means EXTRA meat), a couple of celiac sufferers (no gluten!), those who won't eat pork, those who won't eat seafood, and one who is so particular about food I maintain an actual physical list of things he won't eat.

This meal around, I wanted to make some kosher-for-Passover food that my Jewish vegetarian friend (who will normally eat anything, as long as it doesn't include meat) could enjoy as the rest of us were busy chowing down on the roasted lamb.*  While it did require the extra step of finding kosher tahini, this salad was well worth it - everyone loved this earthy yet bright, slightly sweet and tangy salad, and it's something I'm looking forward to making again in the near future.

Click below to get the recipe!

List of ingredients for the salad:
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 ½ lb.)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. ground allspice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped

First, I preheated the oven to 425 degrees, peeled, seeded and chopped the squash, and minced up the garlic.

I mixed the squash, garlic, allspice, olive oil, and some salt in a large mixing bowl, making sure that all the  squash pieces were evenly coated. 

I then placed the mixture on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for about 25 minutes until the squash was soft.  I removed the pan from the oven and let everything cool.

Then I combined the squash with the chickpeas and parsley in a large mixing bowl and moved on to the sauce.

List of ingredients for the sauce
2 medium garlic cloves
Pinch of salt
3 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. well-stirred tahini
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to taste

First, I minced the garlic very finely with a pinch of salt, making kind of a garlic paste, and whisked it together with the lemon juice in a small bowl.  Then I added the tahini and whisked to blend.  I added the water and olive oil, whisked again, and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Finally, I added the sauce to the butternut squash and chickpeas and tossed to coat.

This dish was not only a hit at dinner, but in my stomach for lunch for the next couple of days, both tasty and filling.  I don't often cook with butternut squash (or chickpeas for that matter), but I loved the combination of flavors and textures.  It's recipes like this that make cooking for finicky/allergy-prone/difficult friends a snap!

*I also made the vegetarian version of twitter friend @Evan_Halperin's Matzah Ball Soup, which was so, so yummy (thanks, Evan!) and this potato and spinach gratin from Smitten Kitchen, which disappeared in a heartbeat. 

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