Butternut Squash & Red Onions with Tahini

Dinner party to attend? In-laws to impress? Just enjoy delicious food?

Make. This. Dish.

Butternut Squash & Red Onion 2

Don’t have lots of prep time? No problem, make your veggies ahead of time and serve at room temperature.

Your guests don’t like it? Unlikely, but, who cares! It tastes great the next day.

This is a simple dish of roasted butternut squash and red onions topped with a tahini lemon dressing, za’atar, and toasted pine nuts. It’s a snap to prepare and the result is divine!

Seriously, all I heard from Michael for the first 30 seconds of dinner were non-verbal sounds of gustatory delight.

Za’atar is a versatile Middle Eastern spice blend that I’m clearly not incorporating enough into my day-to-day cooking. Its main ingredients are sumac, sesame seeds, and a mixture of herbs (most commonly thyme, but other recipes incorporate oregano and marjoram, too). In Charlottesville, you can take your pick of pre-made za’atar at Afghan Grand Market. If you can’t find it around you and need to make it this instant, Trader Joe’s dukkah might work well as a substitute for za’atar and pine nuts.

What to serve with it? We ate this with thick cut, bone-in pork chops that were lightly dusted with berbere, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and grilled. A roast chicken would work well, too.

Butternut Squash & Red Onions with Tahini
from Yotam Ottolengh and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem

  • 1 butternut squash (peel or don’t peel, works either way), cut into wedges
  • 2-3 red onions, cut into 6ths
  • 3.5 T. olive oil
  • 3.5 T. tahini paste
  • 1.5 T. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (I was out, so I sprinkled in some garlic powder)
  • ~1/4 c. pine nuts
  • 1 T. za’atar
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 T. finely chopped parsley (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 475.
  2. Toss butternut squash and red onions with 3 T. of the olive oil, a hefty pinch of salt, and some fresh ground black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast, 30 to 40 minutes, or until they are beginning to color slightly and are cooked through. Keep an eye on your onions, as they might cook faster than your squash. If they do, take them off and set them aside, then return the squash to the oven.
  3. While the squash and onions are roasting, mix together the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and a small pinch of salt (1/4 t.). It should be nice and thick, with a consistency like honey. Add more water or tahini to get the consistency right, and adjust lemon juice and salt to your liking.
  4. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 T. olive oil over medium heat. Saute the pine nuts, shaking/stirring frequently, and keep a close eye on them as they will start to brown (and then burn) quite quickly. When they are looking nice and toasty, remove them from heat and pour the nuts and oil into a small bowl (or, save this until the very end and just pour on top of the whole thing and skip dirtying a bowl).
  5. Arrange the squash and red onions on a platter or serving dish. Drizzle with the tahini dressing. Sprinkle with za’atar and toasted pine nuts (and parsley, if using).
  6. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash & Red Onions


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