moro's butternut and chickpea salad

moro's butternut and chickpea salad

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Hello from the beach! I flew the coup this weekend to meet a few friends for a much needed winter reprieve. (Ahem, East Coast folks I can see you rolling your eyes over there about my our SF “winters” but lissennnnn - these week long gray-outs are depressing as hell, and I’m a plant that needs sunshine to survive.) At any rate, our Super Extra Thotiana Adult Spring Break 2019 is in full effect and could not have come a single moment too soon.  

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Whew, the past couple of weeks have really tested me. At times I even doubted whether I would make it through the three day week with my sanity in tact (cue the tiniest violin). But the combination of beta blockers and the promise of this trip kept me in the game and off the ledge. I even managed get my work done, be nice to my husband, and cook a couple meals. Wauw. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that even just that felt like a feat of biblical proportions, but there’s almost nothing that an upcoming trip can’t inspire me to do.

Almost being the operative word here, because there will never, no not ever, be a trip with a promise persuasive enough to convince me: (1) that it’s natural for giant metal birds loaded down with diesel fuel to hurl themselves into the sky and fly above the clouds, or (2) that eating a cold salad everyday for lunch is enjoyable. Flying is scary no matter what statistics say, so no getting around that (hi Xanax, sponsor me lol). But leaves for lunch everyday? That’s not a thing, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Especially not when we have salads like this one that don’t have a thing to do with lettuce.

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This warm butternut and chickpea salad pleases me endlessly with it’s warm spices, nutty sauce, and ability to be the complete opposite of a lackluster pile of watery greens. It’s brilliant as a light meal or hearty side, and delectable both warm and cold. The fact that it keeps really well in the fridge and is made from economical ingredients (though tahini can be $$), make it a mighty fine option for a packed lunch. It also happens to be vegan and quite handsome when finding it’s light. Which only leaves one question - is that last sentence (i.e. the most millennial thing I’ve ever written) convincing you that I’m youthful, or could you already tell I was an Old from the moment I said “thotiana adult spring break”? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Moro’s Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad, sourced from way back in the day Orangette

For the salad
1 medium butternut squash (2 to 3 lbs), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ small red onion, finely chopped (soaked in cold water for 15 minutes if you want to soften the harsh bite)
4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh cilantro

For the dressing
1 garlic clove, finely minced with a pinch of salt
3 ½ tbsp lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons, depending on size)
3 tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, more to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl - or right on the sheet pan - toss the squash with the garlic, allspice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper until all pieces are evenly coated. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, make the tahini 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. The sauce should have plenty of nutty tahini flavor, but also a little kick of lemon. (Note: If you’re not super into a pungent lemon flavor, start with less and taste as you go.)

To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add tahini sauce to taste, and toss gently. Give a final taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

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