Squash and chickpea salad with orange, ginger and black pepper dressing (or how to eat four portions of fruit and veg in one go)

by sophie on June 23, 2008 · 18 comments

Post image for Squash and chickpea salad with orange, ginger and black pepper dressing (or how to eat four portions of fruit and veg in one go)

Last week while I was busy not blogging I got predictably excited about an idea on Culinate for a breakfast salad.  The said salad can be prepared the evening before, kicking the day off to a great start with two portions of veg taken care of before even leaving the house

But the real world doesn’t always pan out like that and this weekend has been one of those weekends.  Suddenly it’s four o’clock on Sunday afternoon and my total fruit and veg consumption for the day has been a handful of dried fruit at breakfast (one portion down, at least four to go).

Big salads are the perfect cure to a day of vegetable dodging and have an endearing way of combining the best of all culinary worlds: raw and cooked, spicy and sweet, hot and cold.  This roast squash and chickpea salad is delicious and the perfect catch-up job; four portions of veg in one dish.  Definitely make the full quantities of the roast squash and marinated chickpeas even if you aren’t feeding four people and you will magically find yourself the owner of a ready made lunch to take to work the next day.

The recipe does have a few stages to it but there’s no rush; this is one of those good-natured recipes that will fit in happily around whatever else you might be up to.  I made the dressing and put the chickpeas in to marinade at about 3pm and then went off to sort out some paperwork.  I peeled and diced the squash and sliced the onion late afternoon before settling down to a bit of light blogging, finally roasting the squash and slow cooking the onions just before we wanted to eat.  With all of the prep done the actual cooking part seemed pretty trivial.

Orange, ginger and black pepper dressing

So how have I added these ingredients up to provide four portions?  Here’s how much a portion of each of these veggies is considered to be:

Spinach – 1 cereal bowl
Onion – 1 medium onion
Butternut squash – 1 cup*
Chickpeas – 3 heaped tablespoons

* there is no “official” value for butternut squash so I’m using the rule of thumb of 80g per portion, so about a cup full.

A serving of the recipe will contain a portion of spinach, a portion of chickpeas, a little over 1 portion of the butternut squash and a little under one portion for the onions.  I haven’t counted the orange juice in the dressing (in case you are wondering) as there isn’t really enough to count – the dressing by the way was inspired by A Life Time of Cooking’s take on an Elizabeth David recipe.

A bowl of plump British raspberries with orange and lemon greek yogurt for dessert takes me up to six portions for the day (including the dried fruit from breakfast).  Not perfect (it is so easy to forget that the five a day message is intended to be a minimum) but a much more nutritious day than it was shaping up to be.

More squash and pumpkin recipes on Mostly Eating
Comforting butternut squash and red lentil dal
Butternut squash, oat and ginger cake bites
Oven-baked Butternut Squash and Rosemary Risotto

Recipe for Squash and chickpea salad with orange, ginger and black pepper dressing

For a vegan version of this salad just leave out the goats cheese and add more hazelnuts. Make sure that you taste the dressing just in case you get a particularly bitter orange (easily rectified with a bit of honey)
Serves about 4

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
A big armful of washed baby leaf spinach
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tablespoons hazelnuts
100g soft goats cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the dressing
Zest and juice of one orange
A thumb-size piece of fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the dressing, grate the ginger straight into a large bowl so that you catch all of the juices. Add to this the zest and juice of the orange and copious amounts of black pepper. Stir the chickpeas into the dressing and leave to marinade for a couple of hours if you have time.

Prepare the squash into peeled cubes and toss it in a little olive oil, black pepper and a tiny pinch of salt.

Cook the red onions in a small frying pan on a very low heat for about 30 minutes so that they gently caramelise.

All of the above stages can be done in advance (the onion will need reheating briefly).

Just before you are ready to eat, roast the cubes of squash on a baking tray in a medium oven for about 35 minutes, turning once.

Place a good couple of handfuls of spinach in each bowl. Dish out the cubes of squash evenly. Spoon out the chickpeas then pour any leftover dressing across the bowls. Give it all a toss together. Top with the hazelnuts, goats cheese and hot caramelised onions.


kathryn June 23, 2008 at 22:54

Lovely recipe as ever Sophie. My mid-week eating is quite structured, but things tend to be more loose on the weekend. It’s then I’m most likely to drop the ball on the fruit and veg serves. So we’re often playing catch-up with dinner – with just this kind of meal: legumes + salad + roasted vegetables. Love the addition of toasted hazelnuts and the zesty orange dressing.

Johanna June 23, 2008 at 23:56

looks delicious. I love pumpkin in a salad (or in anything). I find that a lemon tahini dressing also goes well with pumpkin and spinach. but I was surprised that you said chickpeas are vegetables – I never count them this way, so maybe I should?

cookinpanda June 24, 2008 at 01:41

Sophie- The chickpea marinade sounds incredible. I’m debating whether I should throw it together right this moment, as I have all the ingredients readily available. (And, I’ve gone the day without reaching my necessary vegetable and fruit amounts…)

Helen June 24, 2008 at 08:07

I love the idea of the orange and ginger in this salad Sophie, it sounds delicious.

Patricia Scarpin June 24, 2008 at 19:00

Sophie, that is a magnificent salad. All the flavors are favorites of mine. And goat’s cheese!!! I love that stuff. :)

Wendy June 24, 2008 at 19:09

So very pretty. Cannot wait to try this out. Ha! Just realised I have all the ingredients in my cupboard! Tomorrow’s dinner sorted. Will let you know how it goes. :)

Sophie June 24, 2008 at 21:34

Kathryn – I work like that too. Lots of planned fruit and veg consumption during the week but at the weekend we’re usually busy and/or out with friends and you just have to be a bit more relaxed
Johanna – lemon and tahini dressing sounds great! I do make that roast squash and chickpea salad with tahini dressing from the moro cookbook quite often (I wonder if you mean the same one?).
I’ve slipped into inaccurate nutritionist language with the beans and legumes. Technically they are not vegetables but because they are plant based and contain lots of good stuff like soluble fibre, protein and iron, the people behind the UK Five-a-day campaign count a portion of beans as one of your five-a-day. To add to the confusion, although they count beans as a vegetable in this respect, they consider beans and legumes to only count as one portion no matter how many of them you eat in a day. This is essentially because despite being very healthy, beans are not a particularly good source of most of the vitamins you would find in most fruits and vegetables.
Cookinpanda and Helen – the dressing is really good for something so simple and also fat free!
Patricia – I’m a big goats cheese fan too. It’s also a little bit lower in fat than many of the harder cheeses that I love.
Fingers crossed Wendy! Look forward to hearing how you get on.

maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) June 25, 2008 at 02:03

Wow, this is an amazing salad. I am new to your bog and it is very nice.

michelle @ TNS June 25, 2008 at 14:52

this sounds so, so good – i’m hanging on to the recipe for when butternut squash season rolls around again. i love delicious food that’s also full of roughage! (i also love the word roughage)

desiree June 29, 2008 at 06:32

Looks fabulous! Always looking for more recipes with chickpeas and goat cheese. thanks for the delicious photos.

Hippolyra June 29, 2008 at 11:23

A lovely salad Sophie, I am always looking for new lunch ideas – I think I may sub chives for the onions for a work lunch as we are packed close together in an open plan office and I would not want to be antisocial! I may make a chilled summer soup version of this salad too.
Tahini, lemon and BNS together are the work of the Gods!

Rachel@fairycakeheaven June 29, 2008 at 18:22

This looks gorgeous, really summery and filling, must bring it to work for lunch this week

charlotte s June 29, 2008 at 23:20

wow! this looks and sounds delicious!

Lucy June 30, 2008 at 00:56

Delicious work, Sophie.
You were missed, but this more than makes up for it!
I often get into a bit of a panic come 4pm when I realise I’ve only eaten a fraction of what I should have. Beauiful flavours – summer is treating you well, I see.

Haley July 14, 2008 at 17:59

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email haleyglasco@gmail.com if interested. Thanks :)

David October 22, 2010 at 21:37

loving your posts and you pictures,
fresh and easy.

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