Every year in November, I like to post one new vegetarian main dish recipe. I find that Thanksgiving hosts often like to have a special option for vegetarians at their table, especially if they are newer to the family. But what people don’t know is that, for the most part, herbivores are usually just as happy to fill up on stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, roasted veggies, pumpkin pie, and more.
So this year, my “main dish” is doubling as a side dish. Instead of making giant acorn squash halves stuffed with everything and the kitchen sink, leaving me way too full to eat anything else, I’m making a platter of acorn squash quarters, filled with warmly spiced chickpeas and topped with a tangy chimichurri. It’s a delicious dish with unexpectedly bright flavors that everyone can enjoy.
I made these a few weeks ago for dinner for my extended family (which is how I test out Thanksgiving blog recipes) and they were a big hit next to some yummy mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts (that I will tell you about in a future post). Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, all of these fresh ingredients can be found so easily and affordably at ALDI. I often spend hours (and hundreds of dollars) at the grocery store for a big family dinner, but Jack and I gathered everything for our entire family meal in about 20 minutes at ALDI, including these seasonal acorn squashes.
For the recipe, you’ll first quarter the acorn squash and get it roasting.
As the squash roasts, start the chickpeas. I cooked the chickpea filling with yellow onion, and braised them in a little vegetable broth seasoned with lemon, cumin, and a touch of cinnamon. I know, it sounds like an odd combination, but it really works – the pinch of cinnamon brings out the sweet flavor of the acorn squash. I also want to mention that ALDI’s Dakota’s Pride chickpeas are my favorite canned chickpeas of all time – they have a more al dente bite than others, which means that they hold their shape nicely as you cook them.
For some fresh herbaceous flavor, I made a topping that’s a riff on chimichurri. Or rather, it started as a chimichurri, but I wanted the sauce to be thick enough to sit on top of the chickpeas, rather than fall within the crevices, so I added some ground pepitas for texture. They also provide a nice nutty flavor.
A drizzle of lemony yogurt adds a creamy touch. And for a little spice, I sprinkled each squash piece with a few red pepper flakes.
Happy Thanksgiving month! Stay tuned for some awesome mashed potatoes coming up next week, and until then, go check out all of the affordable fresh finds at ALDI!
Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri
- ½ cup Southern Grove Pepitas Roasted with Salt, more for garnish* (see note)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup finely chopped cilantro, more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup Simply Nature Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ teaspoon Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Simply Nature Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon Simply Nature Organic Ground Cumin
- Pinch of Simply Nature Organic Ground Cinnamon
- 1 (14-ounce) can Dakota’s Pride Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ⅓ cup Simply Nature Organic Vegetable Broth
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup Friendly Farms Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Simply Nature Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper. Roast, cut side up, 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender and browned around the edges.
- Make the chimichurri: Place the pepitas in a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in the red pepper flakes, garlic, cilantro, parsley, and freshly ground pepper. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and maple syrup and stir until combined. Set aside.
- Prepare the chickpeas: Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, a pinch of salt, and cook until soft, 5 to 8 minutes, until browned, turning down the heat as needed. Turn the heat to low and add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and chickpeas. Stir to coat, then add the broth, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pinches of pepper and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside, the mixture will thicken. Stir in the cilantro just before assembling the dish.
- Make the lemon yogurt: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.
- On a platter, assemble the squash quarters and top with the chickpeas and the chimichurri. Garnish with cilantro and pepitas and top with the lemon yogurt.
*Note: if you use raw pepitas, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt to the chimichurri.
Special thanks to ALDI for partnering on this post!