Sometime simple really is best. The older I get, the more truth I find in that statement. A relaxing morning on the couch with my husband, a good cup of coffee, a leisurely bike ride on a cool day–all things that are simply perfect.
To me, this salad fits right in with that list. It has a relatively short list of ingredients left to stand pretty much on their own merits. So, as you’ve heard many a chef, blogger, and foodie say before, use the best quality ingredients you can find. Resist the urge to add too many seasonings. In fact, this would be a great opportunity to take something away; I think this salad would be a great vegan meal if made sans chicken.
However you prepare it, just be sure to take the time to sit down and enjoy it with your favorite people. Because time spent with those you love is the most beautiful simplicity of all.
Is squash one of your simple pleasures? If so, you’ll be so glad to see the assortment of squash recipes submitted for this month’s Monthly Mingle. Dara is hosting this month over on her blog, Cookin’ Canuck. Meeta started it on her blog back in 2006. That’s a lot of great recipes, folks. You can find them all here.
Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad
adapted from Annie’s Eats
originally from Real Simple
For the salad:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-in. pieces
3 TBSP olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (optional)
3 hearts of romaine, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
pita chips, crumbled, for serving
3 TBSP fresh minced chives, for serving
For the dressing:
1/3 c. tahini
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, finely grated
2 TBSP water, plus more as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and adjust
oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line two rimmed baking sheets
2. On one baking sheet, toss squash cubes with 2 TBSP oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss once more to distribute seasonings.
Place the baking sheet on the lower oven rack and roast until fork
tender, about 20-25 minutes, tossing once during cooking.
place chicken on the second baking sheet and drizzle with remaining TBSP olive oil. Season with salt and
pepper. Place on the upper oven rack and roast until cooked through. Roast 15-20 minutes, depending on size. (Internal temperature, measured by an instant read thermometer, should be 160 degrees F.) Set chicken aside to rest briefly on baking sheet, then chop or slice just before serving.
4. While chicken and squash cool slightly, make the dressing by combining tahini, olive oil,
lemon juice, oregano and garlic in a small bowl or mini food processor. Whisk or process to blend. Add in
water a bit at a time, until dressing reaches desired thickness. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as desired.
5. To assemble salads, divide lettuce between four serving plates. Top each serving with equal amounts squash, chicken, and chickpeas. Drizzle lightly with dressing. Top with pita chips and sprinkle with minced chives. Serve