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Credit: Monica Miller

This tahini-dressing salad can be served with a grain or even tossed with quinoa

Mix butternut squash with chickpeas and tahini dressing for a tasty salad that keeps well in the fridge and can be served warm or cold

A few weeks ago someone tweeted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I started clicking around the website and found a recipe for Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing. It sounded tasty, so I printed out the recipe and decided to give it a try.

The ingredients began a butternut squash and all the staples for hummus, which I keep on hand in case I get a hummus hankering. I made the recipe according to Smitten Kitchen's direction but felt it was lacking oomph. Perhaps it's because I'm used to lots of paprika and garlic in my hummus, but I felt that the mellow flavours of the squash and the chickpeas needed more than just red onions and cilantro.

I decided to toss in a red bell pepper and instead of just a side dish, I added quinoa to make it an entree-sized salad. Here is the recipe with my modifications included:

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • One can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • Fresh ground pepper

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel, remove seeds and cube the butter nut squash. Then coat with garlic, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  2. Roast the squash in the oven on a baking sheet or in an oven-safe dish for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked. Allow to cool.
  3. Cook the quinoa from package directions. Allow to cool.
  4. While squash and quinoa are cooking, make the dressing. Combine garlic, lemon juice and tahini. Add water and olive oil until the dressing drizzles easily. Add more water if necessary.
  5. Combine squash with chickpeas, red onion, red bell pepper and cilantro.
  6. Toss gently with tahini dressing and serve with quinoa either on the side or as part of the salad. Serve warm with fresh ground pepper to taste.

Monica Miller is a writer, reader, editor, designer and crafter. She blogs at Monniblog.com about books, knitting, jewellery and life in general. She lives in Vancouver.