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.
(Another bonus to preparing your own squash: being able to roast the seeds, which I like even better than roasted pumpkin seeds.)
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.