Warm Butternut Squash Salad with Chickpeas and Shallots

I think butternut squash is magical. I mean, it comes it bizarre shapes. It's hard as a rock when raw, yet edible. It's color is nothing short of sherbet. It kind of reminds me of unicorns. But enough about that. Let's roast the damn thing.

This is a perfect weeknight meal for me. The chickpeas provide the protein, the butternut squash makes it creamy and the tomato, spices and shallots make it spicy and rich. Plus you can do the butternut squash in advance and throw this whole dish together in like 15 minutes.

You can also have this as a side. Maybe serve it with a petit filet of unicorn. Stranger things have happened. Recipe after the jump.

Warm Butternut Squash Salad with Chickpeas and Shallots

Makes 4 side dish sized servings

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 can cooked chickpeas (15 oz)
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes with liquid (you can dice up fresh or use canned, stewed tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (2 for roasting butternut squash, 1 for sauteing)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chiffonade of basil as garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

To roast your butternut squash, begin by cutting it into about one inch cubes, skin removed. At this small size and without skin, they roast much faster and more evenly than doing large, skinned pieces. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place squash on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes.

Once squash is fork tender, remove from oven and set aside. You can do this a day ahead as well, just keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Cut shallots in thin slices so they still retain their circular shape. I find cutting them this way allows them to wrap around the chickpeas and squash on a fork nicely. Saute in one tablespoon olive oil until very translucent, on the verge of getting crispy.

Add tomatoes with their juice and saute 4 - 5 minutes, until tomatoes begin to break down and liquid reduces. Season with spices and salt and pepper to taste during this time.

Once tomato liquid has thickened slightly, add chickpeas and butternut squash. Saute until everything is warmed through and adjust any spices or salt.

For service, top with a little chiffonade of fresh basil. Feta cheese crumbled over the top would also be lovely. And if you don't have a unicorn steak lying around, flying pig might also be delicious.