When I have a good recipe on my hands, I make it repeatedly until I either run out of ingredients and get over the craving.I can incorporate the same leftovers into three meals a day and not feel bored at all. That’s the story of this little recipe for roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, and chickpeas in a tangy tahini vinaigrette.
I’ve only officially served this dish twice: on Valentine’s Day with rack of lamb, and for lunch with my sister. But I’m not going to admit how many times I’ve made it for a quick weeknight dinner (hint: more than twice) or even a savory breakfast quinoa bowl (or two).
I used just cauliflower in the version that I served my sister (pictured at the top of the post). I also used half parsley and half cilantro in the vinaigrette and added a bit of fresh basil. I happened to have all three on hand and I have no restraint to speak of when it comes to fresh herbs, so in they all went to the food processor. Although I am a huge fan of cilantro, I may actually prefer the vinaigrette with just parsley.
On Valentine’s Day, I incorporated butternut squash and chickpeas into the vegetable assortment. Because they’re two of my favorite things to roast. That seems like as good a reason as any. I served the dish on the side of the lamb with a mustard-red wine sauce and soft Italian polenta.
Sidenote: I modified Food & Wine’s recipe for the rack of lamb (I used red wine instead of white and doubled the whole-grain mustard) and Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for creamy polenta (I added bacon, corn, garlic powder, and chive and herb cream cheese).
The chickpeas become slightly crispy when roasted at 425 Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. I think that crunchy chickpeas are divine, but if you don’t agree, you may add them halfway through the roasting process to keep their soft consistency. I think that this dish would also be great with roasted carrots and beets.
I’ve kept a jar of this vinaigrette in the refrigerator since whipping up my first batch. I have been pouring it on absolutely everything. Pictured below: a quinoa bowl I made with sauteed broccoli, summer squash, baby kale, leftover smoked pork, and (you guessed it) tahini vinaigrette.
In addition to the
daily occasional quinoa bowl, I’ve been pouring the stuff on salads as a dressing and dipping celery and carrot sticks into it as an appetizer. I’ve also been drizzling a good tablespoon or two of the vinaigrette on top of baked sweet potatoes and topping with fresh avocado for a quick and healthy lunch. The tahini flavor adds a great nutty depth and creaminess to a light dressing flavor. The dressing is thick and is great as a spread on sandwiches, too. Really, what can’t this vinaigrette do?
As I said at the start of this post: I can live on the same recipe or dish
until everyone else completely hates it. I think I’ll re-brand this characteristic as evidence of my dedication to the pursuit of recipe perfection. How very noble of me.
Roasted Cauliflower, Butternut, and Chickpeas in a Tangy Tahini Vinaigrette
Serves 2 as a main course / 4 as a side dish
For the roasted vegetables, you will need:
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed
- One 16 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
For the tangy tahini vinaigrette, you will need:
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon light agave nectar
- Dash cayenne
- Optional: 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, 10 basil leaves
- Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit.
- Remove the majority of the stems from the cauliflower. Chop into thin slices and chunks; no need for uniformity.
- In a large bowl, toss together cubed butternut squash, chickpeas, and chopped cauliflower. Pour in olive oil, garlic, and spices.
- Toss to combine, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until cauliflower is golden brown.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tahini vinaigrette.
- Coarsely chop parsley, discarding stems. Add parsley and remaining ingredients to the bowl of a food processor (or blender) and puree until smooth and light green in consistency. Add additional olive oil if needed.
- Transfer roasted vegetables to a large bowl and toss with tahini vinaigrette. Serve warm.