Thursday, November 15, 2012

Feeding the Runner: Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad

In the bible of running, Once a Runner, Quentin Cassidy lives by the mantra, "If the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn." As much fun as that philosophy may be, it's not the approach most runners take these days. With that in mind, here's the newest installment of my occasional posts on healthy recipes for runners (and other people too). Bon appetit!

One of my favorite parts of being a runner is all the new friends I make. First, there's my teammates, a great group of people, and second there's the larger running community. Whether it's chatting with someone during or after a race, or meeting folks while volunteering, there are so many opportunities to make new friends.

If there's one ultimate way to make new friends, however, it's through food. Bring something delicious to any event and suddenly there's a whole crowd just waiting to make your acquaintence. Except, maybe if that food is salad.

There's a classic episode of the Simpsons, "Lisa the Vegetarian," where Bart and Homer taunt the newly-turned-veghead Lisa with the refrain, "You don't win friends with salad!" That may be true if the salad in question is some limp lettuce, but it's sure not true with the salad I'm posting about today. This warm butternut squash and chickpea salad is extremely filling and perfect for a cool fall day. It's easy to make ahead and reheat so you can have it waiting for you after a run.

It's only downfall? With all the raw onions in this salad you probably won't be kissing any of your new friends.

Get the recipe after the jump.

Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing

(Barely) adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For salad:

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 lbs), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

4 medium garlic cloves, minced 
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt

One 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
For tahini dressing:

1 medium garlic clove, finely minced

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tbls well-stirred tahini

2 tbls water

2 tbls olive oil

Combine the butternut squash, garlic, olive oil, and a few pinches of sea salt in a large bowl. Toss the squash pieces until evenly coated. Roast them on a baking sheet in a 425 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool.

While the squash is roasting, make the tahini dressing. In a small bowl (or measuring cup), whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini, and whisk together. Add the water and olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. You might need to add more water to thin it out.

Once your dressing is ready, combine the squash, chickpeas, and onion in a mixing bowl, drizzle on the dressing, mix, and enjoy!


  1. I am dying to try this, it looks delicious. Plus, butternut squash is the best. Thanks for the recipe!