Roasted Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad with Goat Cheese

A few days ago I went out to eat at Caravan, one of my favorite restaurants in London, and I got the most amazing butternut squash and goat cheese salad. Pairing rich and creamy goat cheese with sweet and savory butternut squash was a flavor combination that I couldn’t seem to get out of my mind.  So obviously I needed to try and recreate these flavors on my own.  I ended up being thrilled with this easy to make salad that can be served as either a hearty main or a delicious side.

Makes 2 main meal servings or 4 side salad servings

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 4-5 cups cubed squash – buy pre-cubed raw squash to save time)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided in half

1/4 teaspoons each: sea salt and black pepper

1 teaspoon dried cilantro

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas beans, rinsed and drained (about 1.5 cups cooked beans)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon soft goat cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss squash, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried cilantro.  Place squash in a pan or baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until squash is cooked through.

While the squash is baking, toss together chickpeas, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, goat cheese, and mint.  Once the squash is cooked toss it with the chickpea mixture, season with sea salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.

Recipe Note: The goat cheese melts when the warm squash is added and creates a creamy delicious texture.  Also, I used mint because I thought the flavors would go nicely together (which they do) but I think cilantro or parsley would work well too.

Nutrition facts per serving (2 main meal servings): 528 calories, 20 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 635 mg sodium, 73 g total carbohydrates, 18 g fiber, 19 g protein

Nutrition facts per serving (4 side servings): 264 calories, 10 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 317 mg sodium, 37 g total carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 10 g protein

BALANCE IT OUT:  This versatile salad makes a great main meal if you divide it into two servings.  Cut it into four servings and you have a colorful starter or side salad.



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