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I was inspired to make this dish after trying a recipe from this Food52 cookbook. The squash & chickpea salad/side recipe was delicious, but lacked enough “oomph” to pass for a meal on its own (at least in our house). So I added in couscous, tweaked the proportions, and discovered a few toppings that paired nicely. The result: a delicious, filling, and surprisingly fresh dinner, sometimes hard to come by in the winter with no garden fresh produce.
Butternut Squash, Chickpea, & Red Onion Couscous Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing
[For the Lemon Tahini Dressing]:
6 tbs tahini
4 tbs olive oil
2 tbs water
Juice of one lemon
1/4 tsp salt
[For the Couscous Salad]:
2 1/2 cups water (broth would make it even tastier)
3 smashed cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups dried couscous
One 2.5lb butternut squash, peeled, flesh scooped out, and cut into bite sized chunks
1-2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of allspice
2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained of liquid (Or cook them yourself! So much tastier.)
1 red onion, chopped into small pieces (If you don’t like the bite of raw onion so much, soak in ice water for 10min to mellow. Drain, and use as directed.)
Salad greens (We have microgreens during the winter, hurrah!)
Fresh parsley or cilantro
Cumin Dip, for dolloping on top (recipe below)
Toasted sesame seeds
[For Lemon Tahini Dressing]:
Mix all the ingredients together in a small glass container. It may not look perfectly smooth, but that’s okay. Taste and adjust salt, lemon, or tahini according to your tastes. If you like a wetter couscous salad, you may up the oil and water a little as well.
Keep at room temp until needed.
[For Couscous Salad]:
Make Couscous: Bring water, smashed garlic cloves, and 1 1/2 tsp salt to a boil in a medium pot. Once boiling, add couscous, turn off heat, stir well, and cover. Let sit 10min, then fluff with a fork.
Roast Butternut Squash: Preheat oven to 425. Place squash on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, add cloves, allspice, and 1/2 tsp salt, and mix well until evenly coated (I use my hands). Bake for about 20min until tender, a little bronzed, but not so soft that the pieces fall apart. Let cool a little.
In large bowl, gently mix couscous, butternut squash, chickpeas, red onion, and tahini dressing until everything is well dispersed. Enjoy warm or chill in fridge and serve cold. Delicious as is, but also tasty over a bed of salad greens, topped with cumin dressing (recipe below), toasted sesame seeds, and a squeeze of lemon or lime.
[To Make Cumin Dip]:
Measure 1 cup sour cream or yogurt into a small bowl. Add 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Inspired by Genius Recipes.