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Roasted butternut squash & red onion with tahini & za'atar

A divine vegetable dish from Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi’s bookJerusalem’ – still one of our absolute favourites. We served this on a platter as a light starter but it would also work really well as a vegetarian/vegan main or as a side with other dishes. There were happy diners at our table!

Wine Suggestion: this worked excellently with Massaya’s le Colombier from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, a very Rhône blend with a touch of  Tempranillo which gives it hints of North African / Eastern spices.

Roasted butternut squash & red onion with tahini & za’atar – serves 4

  • 1 large butternut squash, cut into wedges (about 2cm x 6cm)
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 3½ tbsp light tahini paste
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat your oven to 240C/220C fan/Gas 9.

Put the squash and onion wedges into a large mixing bowl and toss with 3 tbsp of oil, 1 tsp of sea salt flakes and some black pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and starting to crisp and brown at the edges, leave to cool.

Make the sauce by putting the tahini into a small bowl with the lemon juice, 2 tbsp of water, the garlic & ¼ tsp of sea salt. Whisk until the sauce is “the consistency of honey”. You may need to add more water or tahini.

Pour the rest of the oil into a small frying pan and warm over a low-medium heat. Add the pine nuts with ½ tsp of sea salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until golden brown. Remove from the heat and pour the nuts and oil into a bowl so that they stop cooking.

Spread the vegetables out on a serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and their oil, the za’atar and parsley.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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