Warm Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing ♥ Recipe

Today's vegetable recipe: A warm salad, roasted winter squash tossed with chickpeas and a lemon-brightened tahini dressing. Vegan.

Last fall, I asked readers what they wanted 'more of' from A Veggie Venture. The answers came back 'more of the same' (thanks for that vote of confidence!) and 'more vegetarian suppers' (okay, great idea!). But the truth is, at the moment, my diet includes more meat than it has for many years, so vegetarian meals require more planning, less habit. My new tactic, for my own flexitarian lifestyle and to satisfy readers' requests, is to set aside one day a week for a vegetarian meal. With any luck, it'll work out for everyone!

First up, this warm salad made from roasted winter squash. I added a sweet potato -- that's optional, of course. I also lightened the dressing by reducing the olive oil and using only half the dressing, a good idea for anyone who watches calories. Even lightened, the calories add up for a salad. That said, this was an extremely satisfying salad, warm and aromatic, with good texture contrast between the roasted squash and the chickpeas. The tahini dressing is especially good, a definite keeper.


Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/2 hours
Makes about 5 cups
See the inspiring recipe at Smitten Kitchen

3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon 'spice to taste' (see TIPS)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
1 butternut squash, washed, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces (here's how to peel and cut a butternut squash without losing a finger)
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into pieces slightly smaller than the butternut squash, optional (see TIPS)
15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of one lemon
1-1/2 tablespoons tahini, stirred well
2 tablespoons water

SALAD Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl (see TIPS), whisk the garlic, allspice, olive oil and salt. Stir in the butternut squash and sweet potato and stir well to coat. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, roast for 25 - 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until squash and sweet potatoes are fully cooked and beginning to brown. Toss together the squash, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, onion, parsley and dressing. Serve warm.

DRESSING While the squash roasts, whisk all the dressing ingredients.

The inspiring recipe calls for allspice and this is what I used. But my favorite spices with butternut squash are curry and ginger so these would be my choices the next time. Really, anything will do -- think of the spice that will best complement the rest of the meal or is your own favorite.
I was short on butternut squash, which is all the inspiring recipe uses, so added a sweet potato. This added both color and flavor variation which I loved. But the squash cooked faster than the sweet potato so to compensate, if using both, make sure the sweet potatoes are cut slightly smaller.
I ended up with about two times as much dressing as needed so give the amount that I would make again, versus the amount specified.
I like to use a really big bowl for tossing vegetables for roasting. It makes it easier to use less oil and still coat the vegetable pieces really well.
LEFTOVERS: The squash and sweet potatoes reheated beautifully in the oven but the chickpeas turned into little bullets. They kind of separate from the squash anyway, next time I'll scoop them out before warming the squash.

Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.
© Copyright 2009

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This recipe looks awesome! I LOVE winter squash. What a great lunch or light main dish idea.

  2. Beautiful!

    We've managed to work our way to meatless probably twice a week. I think that veggie burgers have helped my husband the most. He's the one that misses the meat if it's missed. I think I could be totally veggie pretty easy.

  3. I think the most important part of any salad is a variety of textures, and it looks like you did a smashing job of achieving that here! Both the butternut squash and chickpeas can easily range from super soft to toothy, making for a satisfying winter salad :) Great recipe!

  4. I made this the other day! Isn't it delicious. HOWEVER, I had sooo much dressing left over. I hardly dressed it at all.

  5. Joanne ~ It made for a great lunch one day, then the 'vegetable' for supper the next. Very versatile.

    Tanna ~ Thanks! Good for you. I've somehow gone from perhaps 4x a week, now am working back up to 4x a month. Oh dear ...

    Chris ~ Soft to toothy, what a great description!

    AnticiPlate ~ It's one of those recipes that's just easy to move to the kitchen with, yes? I agree re there being a lot of dressing, that's why my version uses only half. It's more than plenty!

  6. oooh...i love both squash and chickpeas, but the combination sounds awesome!

  7. What a refreshing variation on roasted vegetables! This sounds delicious.

  8. VeggieVixen & Lisa ~ Thanks so much for the encouragement. It means the world - I really am having a harder time than imaginable to build in vegetarian and vegan meals. Crazy, I know, but true.

  9. How delicious...this recipe has all of my favorite ingredients, but I never thought to put them together this way. Can't wait to try this one out!

  10. This isn't specifically about this recipe, just a general thank you! I've been getting a "harvest box" of organic, mostly locally grown, fruits and veggies for a few months now. My subscription is for delivery every two weeks, but because I'm single that still sometimes leaves me with a bunch of one kind of veggie to use up before it spoils or the next box arrives. This site has been a life saver -- or more accurately, a veggie saver. I can always find something new and original to do with the plethora of produce I'm blessed with. Thanks again.

  11. ECSH ~ They're winners, for sure.

    Cassie R ~ What a totally GREAT thing to hear from you. I am soo glad that A Veggie Venture is a resource for you, that's exactly what I'm aiming for, not just 'new' recipes but making all the recipes in the archives (about 1000 these days) easy to find, so that you CAN find what you want. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know, it is sooo appreciated.

  12. You make such creative food!

  13. Oh man that looks good! Does anyone know about the connection between tahini and tee nuts? I think I had an allergic reaction to some tahini that had a tree nut allergy warning, but I bought the orange and brown Joyva tahini that doesn't have a tree nut warning, but I think I had a reaction to it. Any ideas?

  14. Liz,
    My son has a tree nut allergy. We found out later that he is also mildly allergic to sesame...a few seeds are OK but tahini could be a problem. Have you been tested for an allergy to sesame?
    Best wishes!

    LOVE this website Alanna, thanks from everyone in my family!

  15. Yum! I made a batch of this (as written, sans sweet potato) and shared it with friends and family. Raves from everyone over 15!
    (what do those uncultured young palates know?)

  16. I made this warm salad for dinner tonight. It was a success! Both my dinner guest and boyfriend liked it. I loved the color and the taste. Thanks!

  17. Hi Alanna, Kirsten shared a goodly portion with us, and it is delicious. I would just use fresh ginger, along with the garlic. Roasting veggies is very easy. We will make this with volunteer squash that grew in Fred's Community Garden last summer.

    Am into tahini in Tahin & Pekmez, from your friend Binnur's Turkish Cookbook. A dessert. Called Energy Bomb by Turkish Army conscripts.

    It's OK to eat meat now and then .Margie O.

  18. I made this for the 2nd time last night...the 1st time was without the dressing because my tahini had gone bad. It was totally delicious! I'm excited just thinking about my leftovers...My only issue was that the dressing was too lemony, I don't know if it needs the juice of 1 whole lemon, I'll probably do 1/2 next time.

  19. AnonymousJuly 19, 2011

    This is one of my favorite recipes with butter squash! It always goes down a treat and impressively to anyone who might taste it!

    However, I keep finding this reprinted on so many foodie blogs/websites......


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna