By Melissa Clark, The New York Times
I have a little problem when it comes to roasted winter squash. When I take a pan out of the oven, those soft orange cubes caramelized and glistening, I can’t stop myself from gobbling piece after piece until the batch is decimated and my dinner derailed.
A similar thing happens with spiced, roasted chickpeas, with their oily, brittle skins that get ever-so-slightly crunchy. By the time I’m ready to slide them into the big bowl I set out to catch them, I’ve eaten so many that a tiny bowl would be better suited.
It doesn’t matter how many pounds of squash or how many cans of chickpeas I start with. Unless I muster every ounce of willpower, there’s never enough to share.
So you can understand how serving this sheet-pan meal of spiced, roasted squash and chickpeas to my family was an exceptional feat of discipline.
Happily, that is the only hard part about making this dish.
The prep work is a breeze. Honey nut and butternut squashes are so easy to peel; just slip a vegetable peeler over the skin, and it will slide off in pale wide ribbons. The flesh is soft enough to cube up without resorting to the kind of heavy-duty cleaver you’d take to a leathery kabocha.
Of course, you can also use precubed squash. However, it’s rare to find precubed honey nut squash in supermarkets, where butternut is the rule. But honey nut will be well worth the trouble — sweeter and more velvety — if you can find it and don’t mind cutting it up.
While the squash gets a head start in the oven, you can dry out the chickpeas to encourage crisping. Give them a rinse, pat them dry, then spread them out on a dish towel for 20 to 30 minutes. It makes a big difference. But try to use chickpeas that have been prepared with salt, since the no-salt-added brands are often very bland.
Topping the squash and chickpeas with a drizzle of hot honey and a dollop of yogurt pulls the dish together, and a handful of fresh herbs makes it pretty and fresh.
Now the hard part: Serve it quickly before your willpower falters — and while there’s still plenty of roasted squash and chickpeas to go around.
Recipe: Roasted Honey Nut Squash and Chickpeas With Hot Honey
Colorful and meatless, sweet and fiery, this sheet-pan dinner is an exuberant combination of cold-weather vegetables and warming spices that will perk up any weeknight. Although the recipe takes about an hour from start to finish most of it is hands-off, and the actual prep time is relatively short. If you don’t have hot honey, you can substitute regular honey and a pinch of cayenne. And try to use canned chickpeas prepared with sea salt; the unsalted kind are bland. — Melissa Clark
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 1 hour
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans chickpeas (preferably not “no salt added”), drained and rinsed
- 2 1/2 pounds honey nut or butternut squash, peeled, trimmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baharat, garam masala or another spice blend
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt, plus more as needed
- 5 thyme sprigs
- 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves or dill sprigs, or a combination
- 1 to 2 tablespoons hot honey, plus more to taste
- Plain whole-milk yogurt or sour cream, for serving (optional)
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line one sheet pan with parchment paper and a second sheet pan with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Place drained chickpeas on the towel-lined sheet pan and gently rub them dry. Place the pan on the back of the stove and let the chickpeas dry as you prepare the other ingredients.
2. Place the squash on the parchment paper-lined pan and toss with 1 teaspoon baharat, 1/2 teaspoon salt, thyme sprigs, red-pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons oil. Spread squash into an even layer and roast for 20 minutes.
3. After 20 minutes of roasting, in a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, red onion, remaining 3/4 teaspoon baharat, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil, and toss until well combined. Add the mixture to the pan of squash and stir everything well. Continue roasting for another 30 minutes, tossing the mixture halfway through, until the squash is golden brown and tender, and the chickpeas and onions are slightly crispy.
4. Remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle vinegar and herbs on top and toss. Drizzle with hot honey and toss again to combine. Taste and season with more salt, more hot honey and vinegar to taste. Serve with dollops of yogurt if you’d like.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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