Simple, Spicy Baba Ganoush

The end of summer’s harvest approaches, welcoming in a new wave of bounty; this week, it means an abundance of dirt cheap, gorgeous graffiti eggplant for making baba ganoush. When I bought a handful of peppers, a bag full of scuppernongs, and a large basket of graffiti eggplant for only $5 from a local farm stand, I knew the creamy eggplant dish was in my future!

What Is Graffiti Eggplant?

graffiti eggplant

A smaller, white-and-purple-marbled version of traditional eggplant common at most grocery stores, this varietal is known to be less bitter than its solid purple cousin, which has thicker skin and is about twice the size. Some people even describe its flavor as fruitlike and suggest that steps like removing the skin or salting the eggplant before cooking are unnecessary given these sweet, tender characteristics. This sightly vegetable originates from the Mediterranean but grows well in most warm climates.

Health Benefits of Eggplant

Graffiti eggplant is rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, manganese, and folate. Additionallyy, in accordance with traditional Ayurvedic medicine, eggplant is prescribed as a means of fighting diabetes. (Eggplant contains high concentrations of polyphenols, which help the body process sugar.)

Eggplant is, on its own, a low-calorie food. Its high fiber content makes it a great addition to any diet!

Also, eggplant is high in antioxidants. This helps to prevent cancer and heart disease.

Ways To Cook Eggplant

If you, like me, find yourself with an abundance of eggplants, you may be looking for cooking inspiration! Happily, eggplant varietals are interchangeable in most recipes. When cooked, eggplant takes on a creamy texture. It absorbs neighboring flavors and seasonings very well. Here are some ways to use up your eggplant:

Clearly, there’s no shortage of ways you can use this amazing vegetable! If you want further eggplant inspiration, look up some Mediterranean, Indian, or Middle Eastern recipes. Eggplant has a rich history in the cuisines of these cultures.

What is Baba Ganoush and Where Is It From?

Simply put, baba ganoush is a creamy eggplant dish blended with garlic, olive oil, lemon, and tahini. Sometimes spelled “baba ganouj,” this Levantine appetizer pairs well with pita bread for dipping.

Primarily eaten as a spread, dip, or sauce, this delicious condiment hails from Lebanon. There are variants of baba ganoush in many other cuisines, including Ethiopian, Armenian, and Israeli.

How to Eat This Spicy Eggplant Dip

Think of baba ganoush as a cousin to hummus. Slather it into a veggie sandwich or drop it over your salad greens. Alternatively, dip rustic bread, pita wedges, crackers, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, or other veggies into this silky smooth dip.

Additionally, baba ganoush makes a great ingredient on any charcuterie board!

Is Baba Ganoush Vegetarian?

Yes! Baba ganoush contains no animal products, so it’s even considered vegan!

Is Baba Ganoush Healthy?

Yes. Baba ganoush boasts a modest amount natural fats from olive oil. There is also a good amount of nutrient-rich sesame seeds from the tahini. These contribute anti-inflammatory properties as well as vitamins and minerals.

Of course, the real star of the show is eggplant. Since the eggplant roasts in the skin which is later removed, it absorbs a relatively low amount of oil in the cooking process. This means the eggplant is even healthier than cubed roasted eggplant. This is about as healthy as eggplant gets.

So, this fiber-rich, filling dish is incredibly satisfying and healthy! (And yes, baba ganoush is even keto-friendly!)

Simple Spicy Baba Ganoush

One great aspect of this recipe is its wonderful simplicity! Waiting for your eggplants to roast is the hardest part.

Pierce the skin of your eggplants with a fork like you would a baked potato. Drizzle with oil and roast.

unroasted graffiti eggplant

I roasted my eggplants for around an hour. They caramelized beautifully in the oven!

roasted eggplants

Allow to cool until you can handle the eggplant. Use a knife and spoon to separate the tender roasted flesh from the skin. Drain over a fine mesh sieve to remove any excess moisture.

draining roasted eggplant removes excess moisture

Simply add all your ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy!

baba ganoush ingredients

It’s as easy as that! I plated mine with some sumac, olive oil, and sheep’s milk feta. Yum!

finished baba ganoush

A perfect summer treat! 🙂

finished baba ganoush

Simple Spicy Baban Ganoush

Fresh serrano pepper gives this take on a traditional recipe a spicy flavor boost! Serve with pita, chips, crackers, or veggies!
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Appetizer, healthy, Side Dish, Snack, vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine Healthy, lebanese, middle eastern, persian, traditional, vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • fine mesh sieve

Ingredients
  

  • 3.5-4 pounds eggplants (I used 7 small graffiti eggplants, but 2 standard eggplants will do)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 small serrano pepper, stemmed and seeds removed
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, for garnish optional
  • 1 oz feta cheese, for garnish optional
  • dash of sumac, for garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  • Wash and pat dry the eggplants. Pierce all over with a fork like you would a roasted potato. Drizzle with olive oil, and roll in oil to coat. Roast for an hour to an hour and half, or until eggplants are tender and collapsing.
  • Allow eggplant to cool to room temperature. Using a knife and spoon, cut the eggplants in half and scoop flesh out, discarding the skins. Place eggplant pulp in a fine mesh sieve over a medium-sized bowl and allow to drain for 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, remove the seeds and stem from your serrano and set the pepper aside. Crush garlic with the flat side of a knife and discard the skin. Juice the lemon and set aside.
  • Place drained eggplant, garlic, serrano, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.
  • Plate with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of sumac, and feta cheese crumbles. Serve immediately. Keeps up to 4 days in the fridge in an air tight container.
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From Hummus Origins…to Aquafaba!

Have you ever wondered who first loved chickpeas enough to blitz them into a creamy, spoonable purée? Because it has been beloved by so many, the origins of hummus are somewhat disputed. Greek and Arab cultures both lay claim to the delightful spread–so, where did hummus come from? And what on earth is aquafaba!?

Is Hummus Greek or Arabic?

If you’ve ever shopped for hummus at the grocery store, you’ve probably noticed packaging with Greek names or inspiration. Yet the word “hummus” actually means “chickpea” in Arabic. Are you confused yet?

Regardless of where hummus comes from, Greeks and Arabs historically traded many goods, sharing ideas, music, and food for a very long time. Both cultures also happen to enjoy stuffed grape leaves and baklava, no doubt reaching back to their intermingling during the Ottoman Empire. It’s no wonder they both claim to be the inventors of hummus! We may never know its true origins.

What we know for sure is that the earliest mention of hummus dates back to 13th century Egypt. Since the 1200s, however, hummus has come in many different forms. A quick Google search yields recipes for “Egyptian hummus,” “Greek hummus,” “Israeli hummus,” “Lebanese hummus“…the list goes on. The basics of these recipes are all fundamentally the same, however; blend cooked chickpeas with lemon juice, tahini, and seasonings together and enjoy!

The happy additions of tahini, lemon, and raw garlic make this simple dish enjoyable as an appetizer or first course–or as part of an epic charcuterie platter! So, what makes my recipe different? For this version of hummus, I include a no-cost secret ingredient: aquafaba!

What is Aquafaba?

Aquafaba is the water reserved from the process of cooking chickpeas. This water is rich in starches and, when whipped, makes a colloidal foam not dissimilar to egg whites. This is why aquafaba is popular among vegans and egg-intolerant individuals. The liquid from a can of chickpeas is so reliably fluffy when whipped, it can even be used to make vegan meringue cookies!

Other Ways to Use Aquafaba

Because of its fluffy characteristics when whipped, aquafaba affords bakers and home cooks many options in the kitchen. Here are some of the primary ways chefs use aquafaba:

With aquafaba, the only limit in the kitchen is your imagination! Use it in lieu of egg whites in sweet or savory recipes.

Not Everyone Loves Aquafaba…

While vegans and egg-intolerant people shared a lot of excitement since aquafaba hit the food scene in recent years, some nutritionists remain skeptical. Despite its fluffy characteristics, there’s more to “bean water” (“faba” and “aqua” in Latin) than meets the eye.

Some think consuming the liquid from canned beans can have a deleterious effect due to the BPAs in canned food. (However, the FDA maintains that trace amounts of BPAs do not have harmful effects.) However, you can make your own aquafaba using dried chickpeas if you are concerned about the BPAs in canned food.

Others think the starchy water from the beans causes undue gastrointestinal distress because of its oligosaccharide content. This can cause gas and bloating in folks with a sensitive digestive system, and some claim it can even lead to leaky gut syndrome.

However, due to aquafaba’s recent arrival in the culinary world, there’s not much research to dispute or confirm any potential health benefits (from avoiding eggs) or harmful effects (from BPAs and starches). Cultures have long consumed stews containing the cooking liquid from pre-soaked dried chickpeas, so as is usually the case with intuitive eating, listen to your gut here (literally)! Everything in moderation, right?

Why I Use Aquafaba in This Recipe

The addition of some of the starchy water whips together with the chickpeas to create a truly fluffy, creamy texture without adding excess oil. I personally don’t eat a lot of canned food, am not pregnant, and am not overly concerned about–erm–passing wind. I’m pretty sure my dog doesn’t love me any less if I fart…so I’ll take the cut in unnecessary fat and the boost in texture, please! 🙂

Basic Hummus Recipe

Here is the basic skeleton of the recipe for hummus, which you can “dress up” any way you like. I doctored mine with extra raw garlic for a little punch.

ingredients for aquafaba hummus

I crushed the two heads of garlic and left them to soak in the lemon juice for around 15 minutes. The lemon juice takes some of the pungent bite and tempers garlic’s “rougher” edges. For maximum “garlic taming,” mince or press the garlic into the lemon juice.

Blitz everything in a food processor, gradually adding aquafaba until the hummus is of the desired thickness. Garnish with chopped toasted nuts, pomegranite seeds, sesame seeds, fresh herbs…I topped mine with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sumac.

finished aquafaba hummus
What a good day to treat yourself!

Serve with your desired dip-able foods! Keeps well covered in the fridge up to 1 week.

Basic Oil-Free Hummus (With Aquafaba!)

The addition of aquafaba eliminates the need to use olive oil as a binder and makes for a fluffy, addicting dip!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine greek, middle eastern, traditional, vegan
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • food processor or blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, with liquid reserved
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • aquafaba from chickpeas, about 3/4 cup
  • juice from 1 large lemon, about 1/4 cup
  • salt, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Juice the lemon. Peel and chop garlic, then add to the lemon juice to macerate, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, drain chickpeas using a fine strainer over a bowl or large measuring cup. You should have about 3/4 cup of aquafaba. Add chickpeas to a food processor or blender along with tahini, a pinch of salt, and the lemon juice with garlic. Pulverize in pulses, gradually adding aquafaba until the hummus is of a desirable consistency.
  • Taste, and season for salt. Garnish with chopped toasted nuts, pomegranate seeds, sumac, olive oil, sesame seeds, pine nuts, and/or fresh herbs and serve. Keeps well in the fridge about 1 week.
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For other ideas on how to use chickpeas, check out this my recipe for simple chickpea ricotta pasta, or this recipe for butternut squash and chickpea tahini salad!

Sweet Baked Yam With Tahini, Cilantro, and Pepitas

As the fall and winter months steal over the calendar, baked yams similarly creep into my meal plans as the year’s darkness and chill cause cravings for sugar and fat. This is not to say I don’t find an excuse to eat sweet potato fries all year…but since the trend to replace yams with russet potatoes in French fries hit the gastronomic scene in the 1980s, yams have come a long way from their once-a-year appearance at the Thanksgiving dinner table to transitioning into more of a culinary “regular.”

Why Choose Yams Over White Potatoes?

Yams are a great replacement for regular white potatoes if a diet requires complex carbs rather than starch, which is often hard to digest and more filling than it is nutritious. Generally, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index (GI) than russet potatoes. Additionally, yams are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants like beta carotene. This antioxidant is turned into vitamin A once it is digested, which is essential for immune system function, skin clarity, and eye health. It is also pivotal in maintaining healthy mucous membranes in the digestive system, increasing immune response and lowering inflammation. In fact, vitamin A is incredibly abundant in yams, clocking in at over 100% of the daily value (DV) recommended for optimal health. What’s more, it is a fat-soluble nutrient–so preparing your yams with a little fat helps to make this vitamin more readily absorbable.

 

The Colorful Food Diet

Studies suggest that loading your plate with a variety of colors is a great way to ensure consumption of an abundance of nutrients, and typically at a lower caloric cost. This is a fun way to skip out on taking daily supplements and to explore new foods and cooking methods at the same time. Additionally, brightly colored foods tend to be fruits and vegetables, which have added benefits aside from their vitamin and mineral content such as fiber, complex carbs, healthy fats, and more.

Health Benefits of Tahini

Aside from boasting a rich, complex flavor, tahini has several health benefits as well. Just one tablespoon of tahini contains minerals essential to bone health, like phosphorous and manganese. Tahini also contains thiamine (vitamin B1) and vitamin B6, which are both important for sustaining energy production. Like yams, tahini is contains anti-inflammatory compounds and may even be beneficial to people with arthritis.

Sesame seeds, the main ingredient in tahini, have even been shown to improve kidney and liver function, and may even help to prevent fatty liver disease by increasing fat burning and decreasing fat production due to naturally occurring compounds. Sesame oil is a heart-healthy oil with primarily unsaturated fats and omega-6.

The Bottom Line

This dish is rich, filling, and incidentally healthy. One yam can easily feed two people, especially if prepared as a side dish to a protein or salad. Get your knife and fork ready and eat to your health!

Tahini and lemon juice is a classic pairing. The acidity of the lemon helps to temper some of tahini’s more earthy, bitter notes while enlivening some of its more pleasant characteristics, like its nutty richness and tang. Throw some grated garlic into the mix and you’ve got the beginnings of a flavorful dressing!

This easy dinner comes together quickly and is a great way to stretch ingredients to fill more bellies!

Sweet Baked Yam With Tahini, Cilantro, and Pepitas

Bake a yam and dress it with a sweet tahini sauce, fresh herbs, pepitas for crunch, and sour cream, creme fraiche, or yogurt for brightness! A simple, healthy, and fresh lunch or dinner.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Healthy, Intuitive, Vegetarian
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 yam or sweet potato, medium
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 100 g fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs sour cream, creme fraiche, or yogurt
  • 1 Tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbs pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • sumac, to taste (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Scrub yam free of dirt and particulates. Wrap in tin foil tightly and bake in the oven until fork-tender and releasing caramelized juices, 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the yam.
  • Meanwhile, create the tahini dressing. Mix tahini, lemon juice, honey, garlic, oil, and water in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup until silky and uniform. Remove cilantro leaves from the stems and chop.
  • In a small skillet over medium heat, toast pumpkin seeds until fragrant and golden, about five minutes. Set aside.
  • When the yam has finished baking, remove from the oven, discard the tinfoil, and set the yam on a large plate. Using a long knife, slice the yam into four even pieces, lengthwise. Immediately splatter tahini and sour cream in equal measure over the yam. Toss cilantro and pumpkin seeds over the top, and a dash of sumac, if desired. Serve immediately.
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Butternut Chickpea Tahini Salad

After literally tripping over piles of butternut squash in my mother’s garden, I found myself in the happy position of “inheriting” an abundance of squash. I mean there is a heap of squash in my kitchen. Getting free squash is like getting a Costco-sized jar of gummy vitamins. Delicious and good for you, and lasts forever. Who can complain?

Once, as a joke, I called it “squarsh” in passing. My boyfriend, who doesn’t eat squash, finds this very funny. It has officially been renamed “squarsh” in our household.

“Whatcha eating?” he once said when he came home from work. “Squarsh?”

Mismanagement of the English language aside, I have naturally been wondering what to do with my first butternut of the season. (Cheers to many more. And there likely will be many more as I am up to my ears in gourds.)

Squash and I are old friends, though I tend towards the same two methods of preparing it: either roasting it in cubes with root vegetables and tubers in olive oil and herbs or blending it into a soup. Not that there’s anything wrong with these methods. I’ve just fallen out of the “honeymoon” phase of our relationship, and was looking for a little something to spice things up.

After some internet digging, I found a recipe that ticked a lot of boxes for me–healthy fats, inclusion of protein, simplicity of ingredients, sweet/savory interplay–and, squash gets to be the main player. Plus, for those of you who are interested, this recipe also happens to be vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free.

I riffed on Orangette’s recipe and added my own twists here and there–but why fix it if it ain’t broke?

If you’ve got tahini in your fridge or cupboard and also find yourself in the serendipitous position of having an abundance of squash, you’ve really got no excuse not to make this recipe. (I say that lovingly, of course.) I bought a small jar of tahini just to make this recipe, and am newly obsessed. That bitter, off-putting flavor right up front opens up into a world of nutty, complex, savory deliciousness, if you can get past the hurdle of the first impression. What a fantastic ingredient! And I’ve heard tahini cookies are a thing, so….that will definitely be happening in my future.

Ever gotten curious about tahini? I hadn’t either, until recently. “Tahini” is a Greek word derived from the root verb “tahana” which means “to grind.” And yes, they DO grind the sesame to make a paste (duh!) but first they soak the seeds in salt water which separates the bran from the kernel. The bran sinks in the brine, and the rest is skimmed from the top, washed (dare I say “warshed”?), sometimes toasted, and ground into a precious, flavorful elixir.

Speaking of Greek, my dictionary.com word of the day is “pantophagous,” a Greek-derived word meaning “eating all kinds or a wide variety of foods!” Ain’t life a trip?

But back to the squarsh.

First, I gathered the ingredients…

featured is my beloved mandolin–just buy one already!

I used dried chickpeas, so soaked them 3 parts water to 1 part beans in a big jar the night before. Some people add baking soda (1 tsp per cup of beans) to the soaking water in order to remove the skins. The skins don’t bother me, though some people think they give you gas (whoops) so it’s really a matter of how much work you want to put in/how much you want to subject your friends and family to if you are sensitive to fiber.

I rinsed the beans in fresh water and put them in a pot with 2-3 inches covering them. I placed this over a low simmer with a bay leaf as I prepared the squash. (Alternatively, you can use a can of cooked chickpeas and skip this step entirely.)

dismembered gourd

I crushed up a giant clove of garlic with the side of my knife to release the juices and tossed this along with squash, spices, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl. As this mixture set, I swirled it around with my hands over the next 15 minutes to continue to incorporate that garlic flavor into the oil and “share the love.”

As this set, I preheated the oven, chopped my parsley, and macerated my peppers and red onion in lemon juice to soften them and remove some of their “bite.” I can’t do raw, untreated red onions, as much as I’d love to–I find them overpowering and it’s hard for me to enjoy the rest of the dish. They’re gorgeous though. Definitely the Miss America of onions, if you ask me. (Sorry Walla Walla Sweets–second place again!)

macerating onions and peppers rest at least 15 minutes! I let mine rest, turning intermittently and massaging, for about an hour.

Spread the squash on a medium to large baking sheet with garlic and roast for 30-45 minutes. This is all about you, though: pull the squash when it’s tender–but if you want gushy squash, turn the heat down to 350 and roast a while longer, say 15-30 minutes. If you want crispy edges on your squash like I did, roast at 425 for the full 45 or even a touch longer. (Note: if you want your squash to break down and incorporate into the dressing, roast low and slow. If you want distinct squash pieces coated in dressing, roast higher and faster. Choose your own adventure!)

While squash is roasting, the chickpeas should finish cooking. You want them bite-tender, but still holding their shape. Drain in a colander and rest. Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing…

A little goes a long way with tahini. If you want more subtle flavor, add more oil and/or water.
the dressing loosens up when you toss it in the hot veggies

Pull your squash from the oven, scrape into a large bowl and combine with chickpeas, drained onions and peppers, and most of the parsley, starting with 3 Tbs of the dressing and adding to taste.

Oh yes I think I will, please and thank you.

Gently mix everything together and serve. Keeps well in the fridge and is delicious cold. Can reheat in the microwave using a damp towel to cover, or on the stovetop in a small pot with a splash of water in the bottom (no more than 1/4 cup), stirring constantly. When the water is incorporated/has mostly evaporated, the salad should be warmed through.

yeah, I’m eating this for breakfast.

Tahini Butternut and Chickpeas (vegan, GF, DF, nut-free)

Adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s blog, “Orangette”

Vegetable Salad

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, smooshed with the flat edge of a knive
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, left overnight in a jar full of water (or, 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • ½ medium red onion, finely sliced with a knife or mandolin
  • 1 ½-2 serrano peppers, finely sliced with a knife or mandolin (if less heat is desired, scrape out the seeds and discard)
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped

Dressing

  • 1 medium garlic clove, pressed, minced, or pounded to a pulp in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (4 Tbs)
  • 3 Tbs stirred tahini
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 3 Tbs olive oil

If using dried chickpeas, place in a jar with space for plenty of water and for the chickpeas to expand. If you want to remove the skins from the chickpeas, place 2 tsp baking soda in the jar and let sit at room temperature overnight. When ready to cook your chickpeas, drain and rinse, then roll them in between your hands to loosen the skins and slough them off. (Alternatively you can heat them with baking soda using this method.) Place the cleaned chickpeas in a large pot with 2-3 inches of water covering them. If desired, add a bay leaf and 3-4 generous pinches of salt. Bring mixture to a gentle boil over high heat then immediately lower to medium-low, simmering between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, or until beans are al dente. You want beans that are tender to bite through but still maintain their shape.

While beans are cooking, preheat oven to 425° F. As oven preheats, peel, seed, and cut your squash. Place squash chunks in a large bowl with the smashed garlic, spices, olive oil, and around 1 tsp of salt, or several three-fingered pinches. Mix with your hands until the spices are evenly distributed over the squash. Let sit at room temperature at least 10 minutes, occasionally stirring mixture with your hands or a wooden spoon in order to move the garlic flavor around the bowl.

While squash is “resting” in its seasonings, macerate the onions and peppers to take some of the bite out of their flavor: place both in a small bowl with 3 Tbs of lemon juice, gently massaging the juice into the slices. Let sit at least 15 minutes. (Note: this is most effective when veggie slices are quite thin.)

While the onions and peppers are soaking, assemble squash into a single layer on a medium baking sheet and bake between 30-45 minutes. I like a little caramelization on my squash so I bake longer for crispy edges. When squash is cooked to your liking, pull squash and allow to cool.

During this time, the chickpeas should finish cooking. Drain in a colander over the sink and let rest until you are ready to assemble the salad.

To make the tahini sauce, whisk garlic, lemon juice, and honey in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Add tahini and whisk. The mixture will thicken considerably. Add water and olive oil until desired texture and taste is reached. 

To assemble the salad: combine squash, chickpeas, macerated veggies (drain off the juice first!) and ¾ of the parsley, saving some for a garnish. Mix with your hands, or a wooden spoon if the mixture is too hot. (I like whole chunks of squash to remain intact, but if you’d like to mush a few pieces for texture, feel free!) Dollop in about 3 Tbs of the tahini dressing and stir to combine. Add more until desired consistency/taste is reached. 

This salad makes a very filling dinner, and beautiful lunches. I like to reheat mine with a damp paper towel over the bowl in the microwave, or by adding leftovers to a small pot with a splash of water over low heat on the stove. When the water has been incorporated into the sauce/has evaporated, the mixture should be warm and ready to eat. This salad is great as is but would be wonderful with fresh spinach or another robust green.

***

Please enjoy these photos of Apollo chewing on a raw butternut squash he found in the garden:

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