In this recipe, warmly spiced chickpeas bring out the acorn squash's sweetness, which is perfectly offset by bright chimichurri & lemon yogurt.
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, acorn 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!
Still looking for vegetarian holiday recipes? I love this salad or these vegan mashed potatoes, but our recipe index is full of more ideas!
This post is in partnership with ALDI.
This post is in partnership with ALDI.
Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri
- 2 acorn squash, seeded and cut into quarters
- Simply Nature Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 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, 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.
Special thanks to ALDI for partnering on this post!
This was so yummy! The chimichurri was easy and unique. Everyone liked how all the flavors and textures worked together. Plus the presentation looks like a gourmet dish. Thanks! 😊
Hi Ash, I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it!
Yum. That was so good. I loved the chimichurri with pepitas. All the flavors merged so well together. Thanks again for an unexpectedly awesome dish.
Made this with parsley and a mixture of acorn and delicata squash. Absolutely fabulous. I was amazed at how all the flavors came together. My teenagers and hubby were big fans. I’m doubling the chickpea part next time! Yum – thank you!!
Oh I’m so glad everyone loved it so much!
We made this the other night for dinner and loved it! The chimichurri really makes it!
I used dill in place of cilantro because that’s all I had, and the chimichurri was delicious! This is a great, simple, protein-packed meal 🙂
Hi Sara, ooh I would have never thought to use dill, I’m glad it was yummy!
I made this last week as a trial run for thanksgiving. A huge hit! The combination of all the flavors is perfect. And the extra chickpea mixture plus chimchirri were great additions to other dishes. I’m making this today to bring with me to tomorrow’s thanksgiving dinner. How long do you think the various components will last in the fridge? I do hope it will be as good when made a day ahead. The only thing I’m going to do tomorrow is roast the acorn squash . Fingers crossed.
Hi Liz, I’ve made both components in advance, it sounds like you’re good to go! I think it’s a great plan to roast the acorn squash the day-of. The only slight thing is that the chimichurri will become less green overnight in the fridge – you could always stir in some extra minced cilantro tomorrow if the color is important to you. It’ll taste great either way 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
I noticed there is parsley in the directions but not in the ingredients list … unless I’m missing something? Was wondering how chimichurri could be made without it, so I should have read the whole recipe. So I didn’t buy fresh parsley and am wondering if I can get away with dried? Probably not … so I will try this with cilantro pesto anyway and am sure it will still be good!
You can make it with just cilantro, as listed exactly in the ingredients – I had parsley in an early testing round but ultimately simplified it to just use cilantro. Thanks for pointing that out, I just fixed the recipe instructions. So sorry about the confusion!
Thank you! It was delicious. Elevates chickpeas into something a lot more substantial, and love the way the herbs and spices balance with the sweetness of the squash. We are lucky enough to get garden fresh squash from my husband’s workplace (a local private school with a gardening program) and I thought I had done everything that could be done with squash, so this creative, tasty dish saved me!
PS–Sorry I freaked out a little in my initial post but we live in the mountains outside Aspen, CO and the nearest supermarket is 10 miles from our house!
Hi Ali, ooh, I’m so so glad to hear that you loved it! I’ve been on a mission this fall to figure out all kinds of different ways to mix up squash. So sorry for the parsley panic, I’m not sure how that one slipped by – I would never want you to go to the store twice 🙂
We really loved this meal. I served it on salad with some quinoa too and it made a special meal
I made this recipe tonight and loved it! So delicious!
I made this last night for dinner as our main dish!
It was so amazingly delicious. I used 2 whole acorn squash, quartered them and my husband and I each had two quarters and we so stuffed. (This rarely happens)
Only thing I will change is that the chickpea mixture is so good, I’ll double the recipe for next time.
Thank you for sharing this, we really loved it!
How many squash are in this recipe?
2 acorn squash (it’s fixed now up in the recipe)
This is the most exciting vegetarian recipe I’ve seen in a very long time. Looking forward to trying it.
This looks soooo yummy! How many acorn squash are needed?
2! Corrected that in the recipe 🙂
Looks very healthy!