The temperatures keep getting higher and higher. Today it is supposed to be 92 degrees and the first day of summer isn’t even until tomorrow! The hot weather can sometimes dull my appetite for heavier meals. However, I still like to go to bed feeling quite satisfied (which an itsy bitsy salad often fails to do). So I created a take on one of my favorite cooler weather tosses of chickpeas and warm butternut squash with a creamy lemon tahini dressing. I made up this dish ahead of time and allowed it to cool in the fridge before serving it over a bed of arugula. Here is the recipe that I used:

Warm/Cool Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing (Adapted from Orangette, who adapted it from Casa Moro)

Yield: 4 servings

For salad:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1-2 bags of arugula

For tahini dressing:

  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced with a pinch of salt
  •  1/4 cup lemon juice
  •  3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  •  2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

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. Remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini, and whisk to blend. Add the water and olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. The sauce should have plenty of nutty tahini flavor, but also a little kick of lemon. You will probably need to add more water to thin it out.

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. Serve immediately (for a warm salad). Otherwise, allow to stand in the fridge for at least an hour before stirring and serving over a bed of arugula.

I loved how the peppery arugula played off the creamy tart taste of the tahini and lemon dressing. It also added a lot of bulk and for the first time ever I actual had leftovers of this meal. This makes the best lunch ever because once the toss is made all you have to do is plop it on that bed of greens and you are good to go.

As a side note, I also stopped at my local CAM the other day and they had some awesome looking pea sprouts which I have heard about but never tried before. So I bought a bunch to serve as a side for this salad. All I did was throw them into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds, then drained them and stir-fried them over high heat with a little garlic and olive oil for 30 seconds. I liked them a lot. They kind of tasted like spinach but smelled like fresh peas. I am now interested to see what other dishes I can incorporate them into 🙂