Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini


It’s getting chilly again here at the computer in our spare bedroom, the apple tree loaded with snow, the sky grey, the furnace raging. I’m wearing a fleece and my thickest woolly socks, the ones that I believe helped facilitate my trip down the stairs the day before Christmas. I just can’t get into a bowl of spring greens. It turns out I also can’t live on toast and coffee, icing and cheese.

I bought a couple cookbooks that I totally didn’t need. One is called Casa Moro, and in it is this warm butternut salad with chickpeas and tahini dressing. (You’d think after all that cookbook testing I’d be done with beans – actually I’ve been craving them more and more.) I’m a fan of all things roasted – the tahini dressing is just a bonus. (Remember the potato salad with kale? And the stir fried brown rice with chickpeas and asparagus?) Who woulda thought tahini dressing would wind up being my thing? Here I grew up thinking it was Twinkies.

And, it turns out, Molly and Deb already knew about this stuff. They are so on the ball, those two.

I’ve never been that creative when it comes to salads. Which is weird, because really anything goes when you make a salad – it’s like the ultimate opportunity to play with your food, with minimal risk of screwing up (unlike baking). But it’s exactly the sort of thing I like – that jumble of stuff in a bowl, with sauce, if at all possible. It’s exactly the sort of thing W spending his time hoping is not for dinner. He had a bowl of pasta with olive oil.

Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini


November 21, 2010

Adapted from Casa Moro

  • Makes: Serves 2-4.


For salad

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 garlic clove, finely crushed or grated (I use my rasp)

1/2 tsp. ground allspice (I skipped this, but it might add a nice warmth)

2 Tbsp. olive oil


1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

For tahini dressing

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 Tbsp. well-stirred tahini

2 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. olive oil (I used nice cold-pressed canola from Highwood Crossing)

1 garlic clove, finely grated (I use my rasp)


1Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2Spread the squash out on a large rimmed baking sheet, stir the garlic (and allspice, if you like) into the oil, drizzle it over the squash, toss it around to coat and roast for 30 minutes, or until soft and starting to turn golden. Set aside to cool.

3To make the tahini dressing, whisk everything together and taste; add water to thin it if you like, or more lemon if you like it more lemony.

4To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro or parsley in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat; serve immediately.


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19 comments on “Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini

  1. Robyn
    November 21, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    i am *obsessed* with this salad! it sounds so strange when you describe it to people, but somehow it all works. it’s also great because i have a vegetarian friend, a gluten-free friend, and a dairy-free friend, so if they ever all come over for dinner together, this is what we’re having.

  2. Laurie in Burnaby
    November 21, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Gabanzo beans and butternut squash? Marvelous! I’d never have thought of it myself. 😀
    Thank you, Julie

  3. brenda
    November 21, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Where do you get tahini?

  4. Cheryl F
    November 21, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for the reminder…I’ve been thinking of this salad off and on since reading about it on Orangette…I think this is dinner tomorrow!

  5. LimeCake
    November 22, 2010 at 4:51 am

    what a delightful salad for fall! it looks delicious!

  6. Liana @ femme fraiche
    November 22, 2010 at 5:16 am

    That sounds delicious! And it looks like autumn in a bowl. I love playing with salads;) See how fun it is!?

  7. Brigitte
    November 22, 2010 at 6:52 am

    I’m totally making this for dinner tonight!

  8. Terri
    November 22, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Brenda…I found tahini in the deli section at Co-op in the coolers that have the cheeses and what not. I too had trouble finding the stuff as that I didn’t know where to look and no one seemed to even know what tahinin was! This will be the fate of the the butternuts that have been mocking me from my kitchen counter.

  9. JulieVR
    November 22, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Brenda – where do you live? I most often find it in the ethnic section of grocery stores – the Superstore carries it – or at any Middle Eastern/Mediterrenean market.

  10. Sam
    November 22, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Your comment about W made me laugh because last night I made acorn squash with brown sugar and butter and my son kept saying, “that’s not for dinner is it?” I mean honestly, it’s practically candy at that point! kids 🙂

  11. Laurie in Burnaby
    November 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Tahini is like peanut butter, only made with sesame seeds. You can buy it in any store that carried nut butters, such as SAve On Foods and SafeWAy – just look at the peanut butter, hazelnut butter, and so on. The tahini is there, off to one side.

  12. molly
    November 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm


    I’ve been meaning to make this since Molly first posted it, lo those many years ago.

    I’ve not yet done it, because I have 3 W’s, hoping exactly the same thing!! God love your honesty (and those little chickpeas of ours 🙂

    About time I boil up a separate pot of pasta and get those butternuts a’roasting. Yum.

  13. Karen
    November 24, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    This looks awesome, and wonders of wonders, I HAVE ALL OF THE INGREDIENTS! I love when that happens without planning. I too have a mocking butternut on my counter. And I did make that potato salad with kale and it was so good, that after the first bite, I thought, “I need to share this.” Then I came to my senses and at the whole thing. Thanks for this one, Julie, Molly and Deb! And Julie, thanks for making me look like a great cook. BTW, everytime I see you on TV, I say to hubby – Oh look, there’s Julie – like I know you or something.

  14. JulieVR
    November 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Karen -you do know me!

  15. Karen
    November 24, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Okay – this was a total HIT! Thanks for posting it – so yummy that it’s made the list for our son’s vegetarian Christmas.
    And Julie, you’re so right! 🙂

  16. Stacy
    November 28, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Julie. Question if I may. Some of your recipes call for optional curry paste or curry powder. Ex butter chicken and peanut sauce. I never know what curry this would be? Curry Is just a blend of spices right? You can get Thai, Indian , African etc. Do you have all diff types or keep one on hand for all?

    Love your blog. My hubby Is obsessed with CBC on his ride to work and kept talking about you!


  17. Alison
    December 6, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Finally got around to making this for tonight’s supper. Even my husband found it to be better than he expected (he’s not a fan of chickpeas). For the herbs, I used half cilantro and half mint. Delish!

  18. Kathy
    January 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I made this with sweet potato tonight for dinner and it was great!

  19. Christine
    October 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I just made this and it was delicious. I roasted the chickpeas too, just for 15 minutes, and I served it on rice for some extra bulk (my husband’s a runner, he needs his carbs). And I had a lime, so I used that instead of the lemon. But my dressing separated a bit and I couldn’t get it to go nice and smooth again – any tips for avoiding this? (It still tasted great, so it didn’t matter.)

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