Today is day one of post vacation. This means three things.
1) I have a Kilimanjaro size mountain of laundry to wash.
2) I have 83 bazillion emails to return.
3) I can’t have donuts and mimosas for breakfast anymore.

Crispy Chickpea & Butternut Squash Salad, Mountain Mama Cooks

It’s always bittersweet coming home from a great vacation. I love sleeping in my own bed and being back in my kitchen but I dread all the “catch-up” that comes with the first few days of being home. And even more so, as much as my taste buds and alter ego love splurging on all the treats I allow myself on vacation, my waistline and conscience know that too many days of eating indulgently leave me moody and chubby. So last night over this awesome salad as dinner, I planned out a weeks worth of menus that includes lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and no donuts. Said but true.


Because we’ve been gone for two weeks, I didn’t have much in the way of groceries in the house. I had a small butternut squash from my CSA that I didn’t get a chance to cook before I went to California. My garden is finally starting to produce more than a cherry tomato here and there so I picked some fresh arugula. I had a lemon and an orange that traveled home from California and the rest of the ingredients were stuff I had in the pantry. Not bad for throwing a quick dinner together.

Quinoa, Arugula, Butternut Squash, Chickpeas & Dried Cherry Salad

The butternut squash and chickpeas are roasted together at 400 degrees. While the squash gets caramelized and tender, the garbanzo beans get crispy and savory. The dried cherries and orange juice lend just enough sweetness to the spicy arugula and tangy lemon. And can you ever go wrong with quinoa in a salad? I think not!

Happy Monday to you and if you don’t hear back from me by Thursday please send help. I’m probably lost in the mountain of laundry sitting in my mud room.

Crispy Chickpea & Butternut Squash Salad


  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled & cut into an 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1- 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 2 hearty handfuls fresh arugula (about 2 packed cups)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut squash, garbanzo beans, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garam masala, curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Roast for about 30 minutes until butternut squash is soft and garbanzo beans are crispy.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat to low, cover and cook about 20 minutes until quinoa is cooked. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
  4. To the quinoa, add the roast butternut squash and chickpeas, arugula, dried cherries, lemon juice, orange juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  5. Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish. Refrigerate any leftovers and bring to room temperature before serving.
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31 Responses to Crispy Chickpea & Butternut Squash Salad

  1. Ah yes, the post-vacation purge…of the inbox and the body. I’m glad you had such a fabulous vacation! This salad is so pretty and sounds like the perfect way to get back on track with tons of flavor.

  2. Love all the zesty flavours !! What a treat !!

  3. Deborah says:

    I haven’t even been on vacation, but I feel like I need more healthy food like this in my life lately. This sounds so delicious and I can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

  4. i adore roasted chickpeas, but never thought to add them to a salad. genius! and i’m totally with you on the vacay eating thing…it’s just SO GOOD when it’s happening until you get back!

  5. Cassie says:

    Mimosas are always a win for breakfast but I would take this in exchange. I love crispy chickpeas!

  6. Oh daaang this looks so insanely good!

  7. Healthy and gorgeous! And I totally get that post vacation blues thing. It sucks. I wish we could eat donuts and drink mimosas everyday of our normal lives.

  8. carrian says:

    Oh friend, I would totally come do the laundry for you if I lived closer. I hate post vacation laundry. Lovely recipe at least!!

  9. kellie says:

    oh, this looks so yummy!! thank you!

  10. Kathy L. says:

    I made this to take to Christmas dinner at my Mom’s – delicious! It was a huge hit – even with the unhealthy eating crowd. And I just finished off a bowl of leftover salad for breakfast. Yum!

  11. I have been on a chick pea kick lately. This salad looks so good! Mm mm mm MMM!

  12. Cynthia says:

    ohhhh, found your website this year (2013) and made this salad tonight. Mmmmmmm. Very yum and right up my healthy eating alley!! Only problem is, I could eat the whole salad.

  13. Made this salad tonight and it was fantastic! I used tricolor quinoa, cooked in low sodium chicken broth. I also substituted sweet potato for the squash because that’s what I had on hand. We ate it with baked salmon… delicious!

  14. valerie says:

    i made this for lunch today and really enjoyed it! unfortunately, i didn’t have the garam masala, which surely changed it a lot. the curry powder was delicous though! i never had roasted garbanzo beans before, it’s a new favorite!! thanks for sharing your creation with the world πŸ™‚

  15. Robyn says:

    Do you think goats cheese would taste good in this salad?

  16. What a gorgeous salad. I love all the components and the idea of roasting the chickpeas along with the butternut squash. Just saw it on Pinterest.

  17. Kayla Kopke says:

    I really really enjoyed this salad. Will be adding it to my “recipe hall of fame”. Thanks!

  18. Joann says:

    Can I freeze the roasted squash and then add the quinoa and
    arugula to serve?

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