Butternut Squash Chickpea Salad
My weeks have a rhythm that goes something like this: Monday – Start out the week tired, but fairly optimistic…be productive, and plan to repeat. Tuesday – Usually just a blur. Wednesday – Tomorrow is Friday, right? Thursday – Last ditch effort. Friday – omgitsheretimetosleepandeatandsleepandeat. My weekly food patterns generally mirror this. Mondays are usually on the light and healthy side and by Friday I’ve decompensated to mac and cheese or some other carb-laden delight.
So here is a lovely Monday meal for you all. We first enjoyed this meal for dinner at our friends’ house and it’s been waiting in the back of my mind, just waiting for fall when squash is plentiful and other veggies are less so. The flavor combination is definitely not one I would have thought of on my own, but it is wonderful nonetheless. Though this particular version is rounded out with roasted chicken breast, a satisfying vegetarian/vegan version could be easily accomplished by tossing in a few more veggies to be roasted with the squash. I think red onion and portabella mushrooms would pair nicely.
Yield: about 4 servings
For the salad:
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 hearts of romaine, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Pita chips, crumbled, for serving
- 3 tbsp. fresh minced chives, for serving
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Line a baking sheet with foil. On the baking sheet, combine the squash with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Place the baking sheet on the lower oven rack and roast until fork tender, about 20-25 minutes, tossing once during cooking.
Meanwhile, place the chicken on a second rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle lightly with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the upper oven rack and roast until cooked through (160˚ F internal temperature on an instant read thermometer), about 15-20 minutes. Set aside to rest briefly, then slice.
To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and garlic. Whisk together to blend. Whisk in the water, adding more as needed until the dressing has reached your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the lettuce up between serving plates. Top each serving with some of the squash, chicken, chickpeas, pita and chips. Drizzle lightly with the tahini dressing. Sprinkle with the minced chives. Serve immediately.