Roasted Squash with Tahini and Za'atar

roasted squash with tahini

If you enjoy roasted winter vegetables as much as I do and the tastes of the Middle East, then this recipe really needs no introduction. Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's latest book Jerusalem, this substantial and easy-to-prepare vegetarian main is an ideal nutty and earthy dish with a most pleasing layering of creamy textures and flavors to warm up the kitchen and the diners at the table. Serve anytime of year with your favorite variety of seasonal squash to nourish the body and mind.

Zahtar, a wonderfully tangy, zesty and salty blend of herbs, spices, seeds and nuts that's surprisingly hearty and often served with olive oil coated bread, is easy to prepare at home and keeps for several months if stored in the fridge in a well-sealed glass container.

Roasted Squash with Tahini and Za'atarRoasted Squash with Tahini and Za'atar
Recipe by
Adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Published on January 14, 2013

Sweet roasted butternut squash and onions served with a rich, creamy and tangy tahini and lemon dressing and tossed with za'atar and fried pine nuts

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

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  • 1 large butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lbs or 1 kg)
  • 2 to 3 small onions, red or white, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili power
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • water as needed
Other ingredients:
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons za'atar (zahtar, dukkah)
  • 2/3 teaspoon nigella (Kalonji or black onion) seeds (optional)
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)
  • Preheat an oven to 450°F and brush a baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.

  • Wash the squash, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and cut into 2 to 3 inch wedges or cubes. Transfer to a large bowl along with the onion. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, chili powder, salt and black pepper. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange so that the skin side of the squash is facing down. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for about 40 minutes or until the squash is tender and cooked all the way through. Leave to cool.

  • To make the dressing, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Add enough water to achieve a rather thick dressing of honey-like consistency.

  • Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When hot, toss in the pine nuts, sprinkle with some salt, and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes or until they begin to brown. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

  • To serve, transfer the roasted squash and onion to a serving plate or individual plates. Drizzle the dressing over top, sprinkle with pine nuts, za'atar and black onion seeds if using. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

roasted squash

Other Middle Eastern recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Zahtar (Dukkah)
Turkish Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts and Zahtar Dressing
Ash-e Anar (Persian Split Pea and Pomegranate Soup)
Mesopotamian Barley, Chickpea, Lentil, Tahini Soup


Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Mmmmmm, this is my kind of dish Lisa. I love it!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Yotam Ottolenghi is a genius in the kitchen.