Warm Chickpea and Winter Squash Salad

I normally make this salad with butternut squash, but this time I made it with delicata squash. Why, you ask? Well, if you live in Portland long enough, chances are pretty good that you will know at least one person who quit whatever they were doing in Portland to try their hand at organic farming in rural Oregon. And when those said friends come to visit you, they try to make up for the distance with 10 pints of raspberries in the summer, or a large box full of delicata squash and pie pumpkins in the fall. So since I have a surplus of delicata squash hanging out in the guest bedroom, I decided to try putting them in this salad. Happily, delicata squash are much easier to cut than butternut squash, and because the peel is very thin and tender and it’s perfectly fine to eat it, you don’t even have to peel them!

Salad

2 medium delicata squash (about 2 ½ lbs), seeded, and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

1 large garlic clove, pressed

½ tsp. ground allspice

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt to taste

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

Lemon-Tahini sauce

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup lemon juice- I used 2 medium-sized lemons

1/3 cup well-stirred tahini

2 Tbsp water

3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the delicata squash, garlic, allspice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Mix together to evenly coat the squash pieces. Turn them out onto a baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tender (but not smushy). Remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, make the tahini-lemon sauce. 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. Since taste can be so subjective, don’t be afraid to add more tahini or lemon or oil and salt, to get it to your liking.

To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add tahini sauce and mix, careful not to break up the squash pieces. Taste again and adjust salt, and lemon or olive oil if needed.