12 April 2013

IHCC - Ottolenghi's Chard, Squash, and Chickpea Sauté

I wish I could say that  I was completely in love with this particular recipe ... which is a shame, as the freshness of the chard was terrific! And had I followed my instincts instead of the recipe, I might have been raving right now, instead of delivering a 'meh' review of Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe for a warm sauté of chard, winter squash, and chick peas. It all 'went South' when I added the yogurt dressing over all that fresh and beautiful chard, squash, and chickpeas - far too much tartness for my taste.

I think I want to make this again and have the dressing on the side, as a dipper for an accompanying flat bread. I really think that a warm bread alongside this vegetable dish would make for a perfect meatless meal - much more authentic than having it sit beside a medium rare steak, as I did this evening.!

Okay ... so that being said I do have to say that the combination of chard, squash, and beans works really well. The combination of onions, caraway and cumin aromatics make for a strong flavour base for the vegetables and beans. Because the latter all have good substance, they stand up well to the former! As I think further about the pairing of flat bread with this dish, I keep taking it a bit further - put the vegetables on the baked flat breads with a bit of feta cheese, get it hot in the oven, drizzle just a tad of the cool dressing over top and make a middle eastern bruschetta/pizza! Yum!

Yes, I will be re-visiting this recipe, but I'll be tweaking it- for sure.

Sauté of Chickpeas, Butternut Squash, and Chard
a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe


70 g dried chickpeas
1 tsp. baking soda
7 tbsp. olive oil, divided as per instructions
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. caraway seeds
½ tsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. cumin
100 g Swiss chard leaves, washed and cut into ribbons
Juice of  1½  lemon
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro, for garnish
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
200 g butternut squash, peeled and trimmed to bite-sized chunks
80 g. Greek yogurt (plain)
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 tsp. fresh mint, minced

Making the Dish:

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight, in a big pan of water/baking soda solution.
  2. The next morning, drain the beans, rinse with fresh water, place in a deep pan and cover with copious water. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, but having a semi-firm ‘bite’. Drain the beans, rinse with cool water, set aside, covered.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Peel and chop the squash, toss with 2 tbsp. of the olive oil, sprinkle on some Kosher salt and pepper, and place on a roasting pan. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes (toss to turn the pieces after 15 minutes) or until the squash is browned on the outer edges and semi-soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit.
  4. While the squash is roasting, make the dressing by mixing the yogurt, garlic, mint, and 3 tbsp. of the olive oil. Add Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Place in the fridge to chill slightly.
  5. When the squash is almost perfect, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large fry pan, adding the onion, caraway seed, cumin, and sugar. Fry the mixture until the onions begin to caramelize- about ten minutes.
  6. Add the Swiss chard to the hot onions and cook until the chard begins to wilt nicely tossing frequently.
  7. Add the drained chickpeas, and the squash bites, tossing to combine.
  8. Place the vegetables on a warm platter and drizzle the yogurt dressing over top.
  9. Serve hot with flat breads or a grilled meat of your choice. 

Head on over the the I Heart Cooking Club to see what other greens- based recipes are making their way to the links! Ottolenghi is not short of creativity and the bloggers involved in this club always do justice to the recipes!


  1. Love the flavour combinations, I am with you, grilled on flat bread with a little feta sounds just wonderful, but then I do think feta makes most things better ;)

  2. It looks so healthy Susan. I have to say the flavors appeal to me also. For an experienced cook like yourself, I'd say follow your instincts. Don't you hate when you are not head over heels for a dish.

  3. I have cooked and eaten this recipe and also felt the same about it... I can understand what you mean entirely... I pepped mine up with some goats cheese which gave it some added zing... looks so pretty though, that can't be argued with!

  4. Hi Susan,
    This is a lovely dish! I have not eaten Swiss Chard before, not sure whether I can get it over here! I like all the other ingredients, so this dish would definitely be a winner for me!

  5. It is such a pretty dish, I am sorry it didn't hit a home run for you. I find I am always happier when I go with my instincts too. ;-) Hopefully with a few tweaks, it will be what you are looking for next time!

  6. You know, Deb? I think it's important to hit a wall every now and then with recipes ... it makes you really remember that your instincts are pretty good when it comes to what works for you and your palate! It also keeps thingsreal in the kitchen - not every recipe IS a winner! They can be rolled around and changed up ... that's what keeps cuisines changing and evolving! That's a good thing!

  7. I really like your attitude about the whole experience, Susan. And I like your future plans for the recipe! The dish certainly looks inviting as is, but on top of flat bread with feta sounds fantastic.

  8. Susan, your recipes and presentation are always something I look forward to; thank you

  9. Definitely had me at "squash and chickpeas" - two of my favourite ingredients, and my instinct would probably be to combine them with unwilted spinach - just because I love warm spinach salads. I think some flatbread and feta would also be great accompaniments. Sorry you were a little disappointed with the dressing, but great to get your feedback to know how you would tweak it.

    I think that's the great thing about cooking - it's not in the taking a recipe and necessarily following it to the letter - but in using that recipe for inspiration, and then trusting your instincts to take it in the direction that will appeal to your own palate. Would love to hear about it if you make it again.

  10. At times, the tanginess of yogurt is a little too much for me as well. I find that I usually cut back a bit when it comes to adding yogurt in recipes.

    I love the shot of your chard. It looks absolutely gorgeous! I also love your idea of piling all that goodness on top of some flatbread with a little feta and a drizzle of the yogurt sauce. I like how your brain works;)


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