This chickpea fall salad is a hearty vegetarian meal with roasted sweet potatoes, delicata squash, cranberries, feta and a maple tahini dressing.
If I could combine all my ideal fall components into one dish, I think this chickpea fall salad might be it. If not, it’s damn close.
*This chickpea fall salad recipe is sponsored by USA Pulses & Pulse Canada, a 2017 partner of Running to the Kitchen.
Honestly, pumpkin is not even in my top 10 when it comes to fall ingredients. Give me almost any other squash (just not acorn, yuck), cranberries, herbs like rosemary and sage, apples, brussels sprouts…the list goes on and on, before pumpkin.
It’s cute on my doorstep (until the savage squirrels in our yard peck it to death) and that’s where it can stay as far as I’m concerned.
I got suckered into buying a squash knife from the Cutco rep whom I was dumb enough to let come sharpen my knives for “free” in my home a few years back. In fact, she just left me a voicemail last night but I’m now smarter and screen that yearly call so I never feel the need to spend $125 on a tool designed solely for cutting hard, round vegetables with seeds.
In order to make myself feel justified for that dumb purchase years ago, the second I see winter squash in the market, I start buying it. I get home, whip out my trusty “squash knife” and take great satisfaction in that one cut down the center (which, I will say is significantly easier than using a different knife, just not $125 more easy). I then throw it in the sink, wash it, dry it and put it away until next time while I grab my chef’s knife for the rest of the meal prep.
I’m rolling my eyes at the ridiculousness of all that in case you can’t tell.
The delicata squash in this chickpea fall salad was this year’s first squash acquisition. My trusty squash knife came out and actually got double use this time because I went crazy and used it for the sweet potato too. Woohoo!
As I ate this for lunch the other day, I actually sat there contemplating vegetarianism. For a few fleeting moments I thought “you know what? If I could eat something like this all the time, I might be able to do it.”
The combination of hearty roasted potatoes and squash with the burst of tartness from the cranberries, the salty bite of feta and the fresh herbs combined with a sweet maple tahini dressing all bulked up with a healthy, plant-based protein from the chickpeas – it was really hard to want for anything else.
At least until a rare steak looks my way.
A serving of this hearty chickpea fall salad also fits right in with the Half-Cup Habit challenge – a 4-week challenge to eat ½ cup of pulses (chickpeas, lentils, dry peas and beans) three times per week. Pulses are super easy to cook and packed with protein, fiber and essential nutrients, making them a great healthy addition to your diet!
Check out these other pulse-inspired dishes great for fall: butternut white bean gnocchi, cherry lentil turkey sausage stuffed sweet potatoes and avocado lentil cranberry salad.
They bulk up this salad perfectly making it either a lovely fall inspired vegetarian meal or an equally delicious side dish to meat, like a nice juicy pork chop.
So much for that vegetarian life.
FOR THE SALAD
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 small delicata squash, seeded and chopped (you can leave the skin on)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- salt and pepper
- 1 - 15oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (I used sage and rosemary)
FOR THE DRESSING
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
FOR THE SALAD:
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Toss sweet potato and squash with the olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet.
- Roast for about 15 minutes, tossing halfway through.
- Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- When squash is finished roasting, add to the bowl and toss to combine.
FOR THE DRESSING:
- Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
- Pour into bowl with the salad ingredients and toss until evenly coated.