They may not be pretty, but I have a couple of tasty salads that you can make during the winter months to share today. Sometimes big warm stews are exactly what I want when the weather gets cold, but then sometimes you just need a little freshness and lightness in the mix. These two salads are both delicious and keep well, which make them great for lunches.
The first is a warm butternut squash and garbanzo bean salad with tahini dressing from Orangette, and the second is a carrot quinoa salad my sister adapted from The Muffin Myth.
Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing, adapted from Orangette:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1 inch piecies
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground allspice (optional)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped (and briefly rinsed with hot water to curb bite, if desired)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced with a pinch of salt
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. tahini, well-stirred
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put peeled, seeded, cubed butternut squash on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle olive oil and spices over the squash (omitting the allspice if you're not a fan) and mix around with your hands to approximate an even coating on all squash pieces. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until soft. Let cool.
Meanwhile, make tahini dressing in a small bowl. Whisk together the garlic and lemon juice, then add the tahini and whisk to blend. Add the water and olive oil, and whisk well until all incorporated. Taste for seasoning.
Combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add tahini sauce to taste and toss carefully. (Tossing the salad with the dressing makes it look not so great though - see above - so if you're trying to be fancy, I would leave the salad undressed and let your guests dress it at the table.)
Serve either warm or cold.
Carrot and Quinoa Salad, adapted from The Muffin Myth:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
6-8 large carrots, shredded with box grater or food processor
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Bragg's liquid amino acids or soy sauce
1/2 tsp. cayenne
salt and pepper
Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve, and then put in a small pot with 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 10 minutes, and then fluff with a fork.
Make dressing in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk together juice of two limes, olive oil, amino acid or soy, a pinch of cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked quinoa, shredded carrots, and chopped cilantro. Mix well and taste for seasoning.