Lebanese Spiced Squash with Roasted Fennel Salad

Lebanese Spiced Squash with Roasted Fennel Salad

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Let’s talk sides. I’ve got two for you today.

Thanksgiving sides are, IMO, more important than the bird itself.  I love the turkey, but it’s everything else that makes the meal and sets the table.  I’m sure you agree that the table would look pretty blah without the color added by a bowl of red cranberries, a bright green salad or the golden squash.

It’s the latter two edibles that get the attention today.  I’ve jazzed up traditional acorn squash with the taste of za’atar seasoning**, and vamped up the salad by spicing up the chickpeas and roasting the fennel.

Don’t like fennel?

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Yes, you do.  Trust me.

Both are finished off with a tahini lemon dressing/dollop/dribble.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s good stuff.  Try to contain yourself from licking the bowl.  But no judgment from me if you do.

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Inspired by the flavors of Jerusalem, these side dishes are so easy, they’ll give you time to watch most of the parade on the big day. Or football. Whatever the chef fancies.

**Za’atar seasoning is a Lebanese style spice mix that combines sumac, salt, sesame and thyme. A few days ago in my wanderings, I made a mental note to go to the Spice House to buy some and, lo and behold, the brilliant author over at Kevin is Cooking just so happened to make one THAT VERY SAME DAY.  Freaky.  Anyway, hop over to Kevin’s to see how it’s done.

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Lebanese Spiced Squash with Tahini Dressing
Serves 4
Acorn squash roasted with Lebanese spices
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
For the squash
  1. 2 whole acorn squash (squashes?)
  2. 2 TB olive oil
  3. 2 tsp za’atar seasoning
For the tahini dressing
  1. 4 TB tahini
  2. 1-2 TB water
  3. 2 TB lemon juice
  4. 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  5. 1 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Halve each squash, cut off the stem and remove the seeds. Drizzle ½ TB olive oil and sprinkle ½ tsp za’atar on each half.
  3. Place each half, cut side down, in an oven safe baking dish and bake about 1 hour until tender.
  4. Drizzle with tahini dressing.
Adapted from Ottolenghi
Adapted from Ottolenghi
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/
Roasted Fennel Salad
Serves 4
Tossed salad with roasted fennel and spiced chickpeas
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
For the salad
  1. 6 cups mixed greens
  2. 2 bulbs fennel, fronds removed
  3. 2 TB olive oil
  4. 1 tsp kosher salt
  5. 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  6. 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  7. 1 tsp all spice
  8. 1 tsp cardamom
  9. 1 tsp cumin
  10. ½ tsp salt
  11. ½ tsp black pepper
  12. 2 TB lemon juice
  13. 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  14. ½ cup parsley, chopped
For the dressing
  1. 4 TB tahini
  2. 1-2 TB water
  3. 2 TB lemon juice
  4. 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  5. 1 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Prepare the fennel by slicing off the bottom, and then half and slice the fennel bulb into chunks. Coat with the olive oil, add the salt and pepper and roast in an oven safe dish for an hour or until golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the chickpeas. In a small skillet, add the chickpeas, allspice, cardamom, cumin, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Toss to coat, and toast over medium heat until most of the liquid has been cooked off. Set aside.
  4. Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients until smooth, adding more or less water until it reaches a honey-like consistency.
  5. Assemble the salad. In a large bowl add the lettuce, fennel, chickpeas and feta, and toss thoroughly with the dressing, starting with half the amount and adding more as desired.
Adapted from Jerusalem
Adapted from Jerusalem
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

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Written that time when I woke up at 4 am and COULD NOT go back to sleep.  That’s cool.

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