This warm salad has become a personal favorite because it combines some of my favorite ingredients. Lemon, garlic, and olive oil blend with tahini in a come-hither dressing, while the warm and substantial squash is lightened and brightened by cilantro. Everyone knows chickpeas and tahini go together. For me, it's a meal in itself.
FOR THE SALAD
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2" pieces.
1 medium garlic cloved, minced
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 c red onion, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
FOR THE DRESSING
1/4 c lemon juice
pinch of salt
3 Tbs well-stirred tahini
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs water, 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, but not squishy. Remove from the oven and cool.
3 Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini, and whisk to blend. The tahini separates at first when added to the lemon - just keep whisking, it will smooth right out. Add the water and olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. The dressing should have plenty of nutty tahini flavor, but also a little lemony tang. You will probably need to add more water to thin it out.
4 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. I hold out some red onion and cilantro to sprinkle on top after mixing. Serve immediately. Crunchy pita chips are a good accompaniment.
Make 4 servings.