This warm butternut squash salad has been in my repertoire for years. Smitten Kitchen originally published the recipe in 2009, and I immediately fell in love with the dish. I’ve been making it ever since.
For whatever reason, this one of those classics that I never seem to tire of. It’s healthy and light, but it’s so unique and full of flavor.Is healthy comfort a thing? If it isn’t, it should be. Because this salad is totally healthy comfort food.(Bonus: my kiddo likes it, too!)
I change and adapt the recipe, depending on my mood, but the base is always the same: butternut squash, chickpeas, and tahini. I deviate from the original recipe in the fact that I sauté the red onion before adding it to the salad (I’m turning into a real Scott Conant about red onion!). I also add chopped pecans for crunch. Lastly, if I’m feeling extra fancy, I add a little crumbled bacon into the mix. I am a firm believer that bacon makes (most) everything better.
If you’ve never made this warm butternut squash salad before, I urge you to give it a try. You can try my version (below) with pecans and sauteed red onion, or you can go with the original. Or, make it your own! I’d be curious to know what other versions of this salad exist. (I’ve also been known to douse mine in Sriracha, but, then again, I douse most things in Sriracha…)
- 1 butternut squash + olive oil, salt, pepper for roasing
- 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Large handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 a red onion, diced
- For the Tahini dressing
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt & pepper
- Optional: crumbled bacon
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Peel and de-seed the squash and chop into 1″ cubes. Toss squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet and bake until soft, about 25 minutes.
- 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, and whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste, and add salt, pepper, and nutmeg as needed. You may need to add a bit more water.
- If desired, sauté the red onion in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, gently toss the cooked squash, chickpeas, red onion, parsley, pecans, and tahini dressing. I suggest serving warm with pita bread and a green salad.