Last fall, I asked readers what they wanted 'more of' from A Veggie Venture. The answers came back 'more of the same' (thanks for that vote of confidence!) and 'more vegetarian suppers' (okay, great idea!). But the truth is, at the moment, my diet includes more meat than it has for many years, so vegetarian meals require more planning, less habit. My new tactic, for my own flexitarian lifestyle and to satisfy readers' requests, is to set aside one day a week for a vegetarian meal. With any luck, it'll work out for everyone!
First up, this warm salad made from roasted winter squash. I added a sweet potato -- that's optional, of course. I also lightened the dressing by reducing the olive oil and using only half the dressing, a good idea for anyone who watches calories. Even lightened, the calories add up for a salad. That said, this was an extremely satisfying salad, warm and aromatic, with good texture contrast between the roasted squash and the chickpeas. The tahini dressing is especially good, a definite keeper.
WARM BUTTERNUT SQUASH & CHICKPEA SALAD with TAHINI DRESSING
Time to table: 1-1/2 hours
Makes about 5 cups
See the inspiring recipe at Smitten Kitchen
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon 'spice to taste' (see TIPS)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
1 butternut squash, washed, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces (here's how to peel and cut a butternut squash without losing a finger)
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into pieces slightly smaller than the butternut squash, optional (see TIPS)
15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
TAHINI DRESSING (see TIPS)
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of one lemon
1-1/2 tablespoons tahini, stirred well
2 tablespoons water
SALAD Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl (see TIPS), whisk the garlic, allspice, olive oil and salt. Stir in the butternut squash and sweet potato and stir well to coat. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, roast for 25 - 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until squash and sweet potatoes are fully cooked and beginning to brown. Toss together the squash, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, onion, parsley and dressing. Serve warm.
DRESSING While the squash roasts, whisk all the dressing ingredients.
The inspiring recipe calls for allspice and this is what I used. But my favorite spices with butternut squash are curry and ginger so these would be my choices the next time. Really, anything will do -- think of the spice that will best complement the rest of the meal or is your own favorite.
I was short on butternut squash, which is all the inspiring recipe uses, so added a sweet potato. This added both color and flavor variation which I loved. But the squash cooked faster than the sweet potato so to compensate, if using both, make sure the sweet potatoes are cut slightly smaller.
I ended up with about two times as much dressing as needed so give the amount that I would make again, versus the amount specified.
I like to use a really big bowl for tossing vegetables for roasting. It makes it easier to use less oil and still coat the vegetable pieces really well.
LEFTOVERS: The squash and sweet potatoes reheated beautifully in the oven but the chickpeas turned into little bullets. They kind of separate from the squash anyway, next time I'll scoop them out before warming the squash.
~ Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze ~
~ Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese ~
~ Curried Squash ~
~ more winter squash recipes ~
~ more roasted vegetable recipes ~
~ more Weight Watchers recipes ~
~ more low-carb recipes ~