Roast Squash and Chickpeas with Spicy Apricot Sauce

Surprise – I got new cookery books for Christmas! As usual this means I read through the recipes excitedly and have to cook something straight away.  Being that it’s January I dived into Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls book “More Veg” first and decided to cook this vegan dish.  Tbh I might have been a bit influenced by my friend Mags (whose an amazing cook and recommended this) but I am so glad I went with it as it’s delicious.  

The recipe itself is straightforward.   It roasts the squash, adding the chickpeas for a final 10 mins at the end, and serves them with the spicy fruity sauce!    Needless to say I like to adapt things slightly (to suit my taste) so I have cut down on the preserved lemons and upped the apricots in the sauce.  Although I used butternut squash this time I can see it would work swapping the squash out for aubergines, pumpkin, courgettes or even fennel (adjusting cooking times if needs be) and of course you can use any other canned bean you fancied or had in the cupboard.

If you want to get ahead roast the squash and make the sauce up to the end of stage 7.   This will then keep for a couple of days.   Do remember if you do choose the get ahead option to add a little extra heating time in the following stages

Ingredients (serves 3-4 depending on greed factor)

  • 1kg (a medium) butternut squash
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 400g tin chickpeas or half a large jar
  • salt and pepper

For the sauce

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 4 banana shallots or a medium onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 100g ready to eat dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 preserved lemon, chopped and pips removed
  • 4tbsp chopped coriander or parsley
  • spritz of lemon to serve (optional)


  1. Wash the butternut squash.  Leaving the skin on, cut into wedges about 3-4cm wide at fattest end and remove the seeds and surrounding “string” (see waste not want not tip at end of recipe to avoid wasting these)
  2. Brush or rub over the wedges with 2 tbsp oil on a baking sheet and season well with salt and pepper
  3. Roast in an oven set at 220c for about 45 mins or  until the squash is soft and the skin is slightly brown (see photo)
  4. Whilst squash is roasting, get on with the sauce.   Peel and finely chop the shallots and sauté them over a medium heat with salt and olive oil for about 10mins or until they are soft and translucent
  5. Add apricots, cumin seed, grated ginger, garlic and chilli flakes to the shallots and stir to soften over the heat for another 2 mins
  6. Add chopped tomatoes and sugar and stir to combine.   Simmer gently for 10 mins
  7. Add chopped preserved lemon and stir again.  Put pan to one side

8.  Add chickpeas to the tray of roasted squash and     season to taste.   Continue roasting for a further 5-10 mins

9.  To serve, return sauce to heat and add 3 tbsp of chopped coriander or parsley

10.  Arrange roasted squash and chickpeas on plate and spoon over some of the chunky sauce.  Garnish with remaining chopped coriander or parsley





I first read about using the leftover squash “string” and seeds to make a seasoning in an article by Tom Hunt in The Guardian. All you do is to put the seeds/string onto a tray with a couple of teaspoons of salt and roast on the shelf beneath the butternut squash for the initial 45 mins or until crisp and dry   Whizz up in a blender to a salt like texture   I use like a dukkah adding toasted sesame seeds   It’s great on avocado in particular as it adds texture.  Feel free to customise – say add some chilli flakes for a kick.




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