A warm salad for the cooler months

Salads in summer. Soups in winter. Or something like that, at least, right? It may just be me, but I find it hard to make a meal out of a cold salad as the weather turns cooler. In summer, I’m all about the fresh fruits and vegetables tossed together with a light and bright dressing. But come this time of year, that just doesn’t cut it anymore.

My body starts to crave something heartier and warmer when the temperatures dip and the days get shorter. This gorgeous butternut squash and chickpea salad does just the trick. I know, I know. Salads tend to get bad reputation. You might think of a small bowl full of limp lettuce leaves topped with flavorless tomatoes and some sort of overpowering dressing. But really, that’s not what salads should be. A good salad takes a variety of fresh, delicious ingredients and puts them together in one gorgeous dish.

This dish is spicy, sweet, easy to make, healthy, and definitely delicious. It’s also a great one to make when you meal prep. You can get all the roasting done beforehand and just toss everything together closer to serving. You can even put it in a tupperware and bring it with you to class for a healthy on-the-go lunch!

The butternut squash roasts up beautifully and get just the slightest bit crispy on the outside. The chickpeas are also roasted in the oven with a blend of spices. I allow them to bake so they’re firm, but not completely dried out and crunchy like toasted nuts. Instead of using already-roasted or sun-dried tomatoes, I prefer to take sweet cherry tomatoes and roast them in the oven until they’ve shriveled and are juicy, but not completely dried. The salad comes together with a handful of sharp arugula leaves and a sweet-tart dressing that brightens the flavors and really brings out the sweetness of the squash.

If you don’t have any butternut squash on hand, feel free to use pumpkin, another similar squash or even sweet potato – all would work just fine!

Time: 50 minutes (excluding soaking and cooking dry chickpeas)

When to eat it: Lunch, great for dinner too

Perks: High in Vitamin A and protein, tupperware-friendly

Makes: One serving

Sh*t You Need:

For the salad:

1 cup large chunks of butternut squash, peeled
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/3/-1/2 cup dried chickpeas (or about 1 cup rinsed and drained canned chickpeas)
1/2 tsp chili powder
olive oil, salt, and pepper
large handful of arugula leaves
8-10 cherry tomatoes

For the dressing:

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp honey
sprinkle of sea salt
juice of 1 lemon

The recipe:

1.) Soak dried chickpeas the night before making the salad. Alternatively, soak them in boiling water for 1 hour. Cook according to package instructions.

2.) Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

3.) Toss cooked squash with herbs, paprika, olive oil, and a dash of salt. Slice cherry tomatoes in half.

4.) Take the chunks of squash and tomato halves and place them side by side on a baking sheet. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until tomatoes are shriveled and have let out some juice and the butternut squash is tender and slightly charred on the outside.

5.) While the tomatoes and squash are roasting, toss chickpeas in chili powder and bake for about 20 minutes.

6.) Mix the ingredients for the dressing together, adding salt and pepper to your taste.

7.) Once the squash, tomatoes, and chickpeas are done and have cooled slightly, mix them with arugula. Add dressing, toss once again and serve. Put into a bowl (or not) and relish the goodness!

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About The Author

Tanvi is a student at the University of Cambridge across the pond in the UK! Family, friends and food are her favorite things. She is obsessed with all things chocolate, strawberry and nut-butter and even has a food blog called Strawberry Chocolate Concoction. A black belt in karate and former competitive swimmer, Tanvi loves staying fit and encouraging others to do so as well. She’s happiest when surrounded by the people she loves - a sprinkling of yummy food and sunny weather wouldn’t hurt either!

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