Normally when autumn arrives, it arrives with a shove. There’s rain every day and grey skies day in and day out. However, this fall, we Vancouverites seem blessed. It’s sunny, there’s a nip to the air that I find refreshing, and the leaves have just been so incredible lately. Oh, the colours! I’m finding beauty in almost everything. Even the humble butternut squash.
I saw this recipe for a warm chickpea and butternut salad with tahini dressing on Molly’s blog and it sounded too perfect. So I cut the squash, put it in to roast and noticed that I didn’t have a can of chickpeas after all. Instead, I took out a can of lentils and hoped all would be well. After I had mixed all the ingredients and poured myself a glass of wine, the mess in the bowl did not look very pretty and it certainly it didn’t look as composed as Molly’s photo. I had my fingers crossed as my husband took his first bite. But I had no need to worry, he loved it (and he normally doesn’t even like squash!) and so did I. It was tangy and had a lovely lemony bite that worked so well with the nuttiness of the tahini. This recipe is a keeper and even if it’s not a beauty on a plate, it definitely will make this fall seem sweeter.
warm lentil & butternut squash salad with tahini dressing
(adapted from Orangette)
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 ½ lb.), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 t ground cumin
½ t red chili flakes
½ t ground allspice
2 T olive oil
salt & pepper
One 15-ounce can lentils (or chickpeas), drained and rinsed
¼ of a medium red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley (or cilantro) leaves
½ t sumac
For tahini sauce:
2 garlic cloves, finely minced with a pinch of salt
juice of 1 lemon
3 T. tahini
2 T water
2 T olive oil, plus more to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl, toss butternut squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, allspice, cumin, garlic, sumac and red chili flakes. Once it’s all well coated, dump onto a baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes until soft and golden.
2. Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and whisking until smooth. Taste and add more water or olive oil if needed.
3. To assemble the salad, gently toss the lentils, the warm roasted squash, red onion, and parsley in a serving bowl along with most of the dressing. Reserve the remaining of the dressing to serve at the table.