sesame seeds

stuffed za'atar roasted acorn squash w/ pepper-lemon tahini sauce by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

with thanksgiving approaching later this month (holy s#!@, is it really november already!?), i've been getting asked about what kinds of dishes i prepare for the holiday.  i have to admit that thanksgiving has probably been my least favorite holiday meal.  turkey was always meh.  in the past, i could get down with mashed potatoes, along with biscuits and cornbread.  but cranberry sauce, what-surprises-are-hiding-in-it stuffing, various casseroles, baby food looking sweet potatoes - perhaps it was all a sensory/food phobia of mine, but on thanksgiving i strictly hung out with all the carbs.

the past few thanksgivings i've been changing that situation, and have made some seriously tasty meals that could easily replace, or sit beside a thanksgiving classic.  i've been working on the ultimate gluten/dairy free cornbread, which is so super major, and i've also been playing around with a stuffing salad - kind of like a stuffing panzanella (?) if such a thing exists.  but today i'm sharing this super hearty za'atar squash dish, stuffed with lots of all-star ingredients: a spiced kale, shallot, and chickpea saute with quinoa, all topped off with a zesty tahini sauce with a bit of a peppery kick!  i love these acorn squash for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it's a quick meal that allows you to prepare everything while the squash are baking in the oven - yes, friends, these are the things that make me happy :)  

 have a good one, folks! xo

*also, i'm picking a winner for the giveaway of Amy Chaplin's cookbook today! so check your internet mail to see if you're the lucky winner! 

stuffed za'atar roasted acorn squash w/ pepper-lemon tahini sauce 

za'atar is an herby spice blend that can be found in most supermarkerts in the herb + spice aisle.  if you can't find a store that carries it, you can easily make your own.  i have a recipe here for za'atar -  i love making a big batch of this to have when i want to throw it into a meal.  

| 6 servings |


  • 3 acorn squash, washed and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons za'atar
  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked (or a 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed) 
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 3 large kale leaves, destemmed and shredded
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • salt + pepper
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

pepper-lemon tahini sauce

  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt
  • 1/4-1/3 water


  • preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.  place squash cut side up, and brush with olive oil; season with a pinch of salt for each, and evenly sprinkle the za'atar spice.  place in oven and bake until fork-tender; roughly 40-50 minutes.  remove from oven and set aside
  • while squash are cooking, heat a 8-10 inch skillet on medium, once hot, add the olive oil and shallot; saute shallot for a few minutes, until translucent and soft.  add the chickpeas, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and a couple pinches of salt; cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  add the kale and cook until a bit wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.  remove from heat and set aside
  • in a large mixing bowl, combine the sauteed chickpeas and kale, with the quinoa.  taste for seasoning and adjust if needed
  • stuff each squash half with roughly a 1/2 cup quinoa mix (more or less depending on the size of your acorn squash).  serve warm with a few drizzles of the tahini sauce, and sesame seeds


for the tahini sauce

  • in a small mixing bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice, pepper, garlic, a few pinches of salt, and 1/4 cup water.  if consistency is too thick, add more water.  taste and adjust.  store in a lidded jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.  (if the tahini sauce has thickened while refrigerated, add more water, a few teaspoons at a time, to thin it out.)

a warm salad of roasted turmeric-chili chickpeas + pear by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

after being in europe for 10 days it feels so good to be home.  i have to admit i'm not the best traveller, and by day 8 or 9 i was ready to be back in our little apartment.  i was also super antsy to get back to my equally little kitchen and make some home cooked meals.   the food in europe was delicious and wonderful!  but i'm person who prepares lunch each day to take to work, so after 10 days of relying on others to nourish my bod i was pretty close to cooked - like, stick a fork in me.  the past few days i've been consumed with eating all the veggies i can get my hands on.  i was all over laura's recent raw salad, as well as a variation of this salad, only i seasoned and roasted the veggies and cut out the dressing.   i loved that both salads/meals were large enough that i was able to enjoy them for a few days.  veggies for the win!  i also can't wait to make molly's spatzle, and this beautiful harvest salad!

whenever i think of fall and winter rarely do i dream up of salad or get excited by them, more often than not i am dreaming of hot, hearty soups.  in my stubborn mind salads are reserved for spring and summer when certain vegetables are at their height, and a cool, refreshing salad is what is needed to replenish a hungry soul.  i guess this salad seeks to bridge the gap between warm weather salad and cold weather soup.  the warm, spiced chickpeas lend a cozy feeling to the salad, one that reminds me of a hot cozy soup; just what i needed after a long day of travel accompanied by some major jet lag!  i've made this salad with canned beans and with dried, both work well, but the dried, soaked, and cooked method always does the beans more justice.  here's to cozy salads on a chilled day :)

a warm salad of roasted turmeric-chili chickpeas + pear | gluten free + vegan


  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (or 1 can organic chickpeas drained)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • about 2 cups lettuce of choice, i used some pretty mesclun that i picked up at the farmers' market
  • 1 cup kale, de-ribbed and torn into pieces
  • 2 ripe pears, sliced thin
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, sunflower seeds etc.

shallot dressing - adapted from 101 Cookbooks

| makes 2/3 cup | 

  • 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • preheat oven to 400°. line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  • in a medium sized bowl, combine the soaked chickpeas with the oil, turmeric, chili powder and salt; stir to combine.  place chickpeas in oven and roast for 30-40 minutes - until they're crisp and slightly browned.  remove from oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes

make the dressing

  • on a cutting board, sprinkle the minced shallots with the salt and smash through the pile until you have a shallot-y paste.  transfer to a bowl and add cider vinegar and honey.  mix and set aside for about 10 minutes.  slowly add the olive oil to mixture, whisking into an emulsion.  taste and adjust to your liking.  refrigerate until using (the longer you let the dressing sit, the better the flavor will become.)

assemble the salad

  • *assemble the salad while the chickpeas are roasting so you can toss them into the salad while they're still hot!  
  • in a large serving bowl, combine the lettuce and kale; add about 2-3 tablespoons of the shallot dressing (or more depending on what you prefer).  toss to coat
  • serve lettuce/kale mixture in individual bowl, and top with sliced pear, avocado, roasted chickpeas and seeds.  drizzle with more dressing and serve.  (i like to serve it individually because when tossed in a large bowl most everything falls to the bottom) 


heirloom pumpkin bread w/ sesame seeds + orange zest (and some chocolate chips too!) by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal


a lot has happened in only a short week.  we booked plane tickets, train tickets, hotels, b&b's and did some research on places we would like to visit if time permitted.  within that week we were on our way to our first destination: berlin, germany.  frank needed to travel for work, so we scrounged around and made it possible for me to join him.  berlin has completely exceeded my expectations and the little that we have seen has totally altered my opinion of this city.  as a history major in college, i studied a lot about european history as well as the world wars.  so my idea of germany and berlin was somewhat couched in a historical context.  the first half of our day was devoted to getting some sleep (as we did not sleep at all on the plane ride over, enter monster-lindsey) and explore a bit.  after a power nap and a shower we took to finding some lunch.  i went off the recommendation of ashley from oh, ladycakes and her fiance who are currently travelling europe.  on their travel blog they recommended factory girl!, and it did not disappoint.  it was just the kind of lunch one needs after a long travel: a salad with torn romaine, bitter arugula leaves, pinto beans for protein and sustenance, sweet, crunchy pomegranate seeds, grapes, tomatoes, walnuts, with splashes of aged balsamic vinaigrette.  is was quite the mashup salad but it totally hit the spot!  from there we walked through the mitte section of berlin, and to the berlin wall memorial - quite overwhelming given its important role in recent history.  from there we visited the brandenburg gate, the reichstag building, and the holocaust memorial.  i'm not sure i have words yet to really describe the importance of seeing these landmarks and monuments, all while sharing these moments with my sweet husband.  i'm excited for the next few days and our european journey ahead of us.   

so, from europe i bring you an heirloom pumpkin bread.  a few weeks ago a shop (saipua, you may have heard of them before - seriously talented florist, floral designer, and soap maker!) down the street from us had an heirloom pumpkin sidewalk sale (say that 5 times fast).  frank and i stopped by and picked up a few little beauties to make the apartment feel all autumnal and festive.  not knowing what i would do with them, i asked if they were edible.  they indeed were, but i had no intention of using them for anything specific.  a couple weeks later i decided to use up a can of pumpkin puree i had in the cabinet for a banana bread recipe that i wanted to adapt for pumpkin bread.  the bread came out nicely, but i was looking to make a few adjustments to the recipe and tried a second time.  this time i spotted that beautiful knobby pumpkin with the most perfect wooden stem sitting in our windowsill and i went to chopping it up. she gave me quite the workout - my wrist and forearm was sore for a good 5 days after.  in the end it was all worth it as the homemade pumpkin puree made the second version of the pumpkin bread insanely moist - not dense - with a super velvety texture.  can i say, that this by far, has been my most favoritest pumpkin bread ever?  seriously people, give homemade pumpkin puree a shot!  

heirloom pumpkin bread w/ sesame seeds + orange zest (and some chocolate chips too!) - gluten free + dairy free

 | makes 1 loaf |


  • 1 1/2 cups heirloom pumpkin puree (instructions below) or canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond oil (or another vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 organic free range eggs
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup enjoy life chocolate chips (optional) 



  • preheat oven to 350° and grease and line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper, extending edges up and over the sides of the pan
  • in a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, olive oil, vanilla, eggs, sugar and zest.  in a separate, and also large bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, salt and spices.  using a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry - stir until combined.  fold in walnuts, sesame seeds (reserve ~1 tablespoon for sprinkling the top of loaf) and chocolate chips if using 
  • transfer batter to prepared loaf pan and bake in the center of your oven for 60-75 minutes (rotating halfway through), until a cake tester inserted comes out clean
  • remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to let the loaf cool completely
  • loaf will stay fresh at room temperature under a sheet of parchment paper for 3-4 days

slice and enjoy!  


homemade pumpkin puree


| makes about 3 cups | 

  • 1 medium sized pumpkin or 2 small
  • coconut oil to coat pumpkin pieces

preheat oven to 350° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.  carefully, cut the top off the pumpkin.  then slice pumpkin in half, cut in half once more until you have 4 pieces.  slice each of the 4 pieces into one-inch pieces.  using a pastry brush, lightly coat the flesh of each pumpkin piece.  transfer to oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the flesh is fork-tender.   let the pumpkin cool, about 10 minutes, before cutting.  slice or peel the skin from the flesh, and transfer to a food processor.  pulse the pumpkin, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides, until the mixture is smooth.  transfer to an airtight container or use immediately