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#CookClub bonus recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini

#CookClub bonus for tampabay.com/cookclub is Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini. This salad, adapted from Food52.com, can be served at room temperature.
#CookClub bonus for tampabay.com/cookclub is Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini. This salad, adapted from Food52.com, can be served at room temperature.
Published Mar. 16, 2015

It's convenient that grocery stores are selling butternut squash already peeled and cubed. However, resist reaching for the easy way out for Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini because it's likely the cubes will be too small.

One-inch cubes of butternut squash are tossed in crushed garlic, allspice, olive oil, salt and pepper before being layered on a baking sheet and sliding into a 425-degree oven. Preparing and roasting the squash is the most difficult task of this vegan recipe. Neither is particularly taxing but crucial to the success of this delicious salad.

To peel the squash, cut it in half around the center. This will give you two halves with sturdy bases. Peel the squash with a sharp paring knife or a vegetable peeler. (I use a knife.) Cut the halves in half lengthwise, and scrape out seeds with a spoon, then cube.

Do not overcook the squash or the pieces will be mushy. The salad requires them to be firm.

The rest of this #CookClub bonus recipe is simple. I suggest drizzling the tahini sauce over plated salad rather than tossing all ingredients together as the original recipe calls for. The lemon-sesame dressing is strong so you don't need much. Also, if the salad is overdressed, the flavor of the seasoned squash is masked. And in the event that you've overcooked the squash, it will fall apart and look messy when stirred.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini is a wonderful potluck offering because it can be served at room temperature. Drizzle sauce just before serving. And get ready for a global flavor explosion.

Contact Janet K. Keeler at jkeeler@tampabay.com. Follow @RoadEats.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini

2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

1 can (14 ounces) canned or home-cooked chickpeas, drained

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (soaked in cold water for 15 minutes if you want to soften the bite)

4 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt

3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons tahini paste

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the squash with the garlic, allspice, olive oil, and some salt and pepper.

Place on a baking pan lined with parchment, in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Check after 15 minutes; cubes should be done but still firm. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

While the squash is roasting, make the tahini sauce. Mix the crushed garlic with lemon juice and add the tahini. Now thin with the water and olive oil, and check for seasoning. You should taste a balance between the nutty tahini and lemon.

To assemble the salad, place the squash, chickpeas, red onion, and cilantro on individual serving plates or on large serving platter. Drizzle generously with tahini sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

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Serves 6.

Source: Adapted from Food52.com

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