Warm winter squash + olive-oil fried chickpeas

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I’m on a squash kick lately. It’s the season for pumpkin, butternut squash, spaghetti squash and acorn squash, and since moving back to California, I’m happy to see that we have plenty in the produce aisle, despite a Mediterranean climate and July temperatures in November. I’m throwing it into curries, pureeing it into soups and dreaming of ways to make squash-style sweets. But my favorite way to prepare winter gourds is easy: throw them cubed into a hot pan with olive oil and onions. The result is rich, sweet and so much more than the sum of its parts.

For lunch today, I chose butternut squash and finished off the whole thing with chickpeas fried in the same pan, seasoned with coarse salt and pepper. If you’ve never tried fried chickpeas before, now is the time: they pop in the pan and develop a crispy crust after just a few minutes in hot oil. Try a bowl seasoned with savory spices and never make popcorn again 😉

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  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 small yellow onion, or 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + additional oil for frying chickpeas
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • salt and pepper
  • small handful cilantro

How to:

  1. Peel and slice the onion thinly into half-moon wedges. Heat up 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat, add the onions to the pan and turn the heat to low. Leave onions over low heat for a couple minutes while you prepare the butternut squash: slice into wedges, scoop out the seeds and then cut into cubes, cutting around the hard shell.
  2. Add the butternut squash to the pan and mix to make sure everything is coated well. Season the squash with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-low and cover the pan or tent with aluminum foil. Cook for 30 minutes, occasionally stirring to make sure the squash and onion don’t stick to the bottom.
  3. When the squash is soft and the onions are browned, remove pan from heat. Add in an additional teaspoon or two of olive oil, turn heat to high and when oil is hot but not smoking, add chickpeas to the pan. Be careful of splattering oil, and toss chickpeas around a little bit. When they begin to make a popping noise and brown on the outside, they’re ready. Remove from the pan and add to the squash and onions. Divide into two balls and garnish with a bit of cilantro, torn into pieces.

Serves two.

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