Spinach, Butternut, and Chickpea Salad

This comes from a recipe that isn’t new. In fact, I’ve seen it on so many food blogs I lost count long ago. I’ve made it a handful of times as well, but it always seemed there was something missing. Then today, on my run it occurred to me: crunch and green. Yes, the original recipe calls for cilantro, but I needed more. And the original recipe has red onion, which provides a little crunch, but not enough. So here, just for you, is a new (and I think, improved, although if you disagree I won’t take offense) version of the ever-popular Warm Butternut and Chickpea salad with tahini.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but chickpeas are so insanely easy to cook up in the slow cooker (I just cover them with a few inches of water, a teaspoon of salt, and cook on high for 3-4 hours), I never buy cans anymore. I timed it so they were ready just as I was making the salad, so the heat from the squash (fresh out of the oven) and the chickpeas (fresh out of the crockpot) helped the spinach wilt nicely. I know that wilted spinach doesn’t sound appealing under most circumstances, but here I think it’s ideal.

Recipe:
(adapted from Orangette)

Salad:
1 2-lb butternut squash
1 medium garlic clove, smashed and broken into a few pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt
2 cups cooked chickpeas (drained) or 1 15 ounce can, drained and rinsed
1/4 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 handfuls roughly chopped spinach
3 tbsp pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted in a skillet

Dressing:
3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp warm water
3 tbsp lemon juice
pinch salt
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425.

Peel the squash and scoop out the seeds. Cut into bite-sized (1″) pieces. Toss with olive oil, garlic, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.
Spread onto a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
While squash is roasting, whisk all the dressing ingredients together, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
When the squash is done, discard the garlic pieces, and put the squash, chickpeas, spinach, and onion in a large bowl.
Add the dressing and toss well, then serve sprinkled with pepitas.

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