Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar

July 22, 2013

Jerusalem – For many reasons, this is the cookbook I keep coming back to

Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion Tahini and Za’atar 10

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Always sitting on the edge of my desk

Don't get me wrong.  In the past, there have been a handful of others I've also kept close, mainly because I was beginning my cooking journey and knew they offered tried and true recipes, sloppy joes, summer potato salad, winter stews, baked beans, chocolate cake

But as I've gotten older, they're nostalgia more than anything else, reminding me of another time and place.  When church ladies cooked in basements painted all shades of pastel, while kids played tag outside.  I can't remember where the men were

(Hopefully at home smoking cigars .. )

I'd love to have most any of the meals they offer, but as I've wound my way along my cooking journey, they just aren't an active part of my day-to-day anymore.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Sumac 1-2-1024x

After reading great review after great review online, I bought the cookbook to try a recipe for our Swap in March: Ethnic Food from Around the World.

It introduced me to a world of middle eastern spices, complex flavor combinations that have become more comforting to my tastes than mayo

Our local ethnic grocery used to be mysterious, not anymore.  I move through with the confidence of a regular, instead of the hesitancy of an outsider who's exploring.

Pretty fun stuff

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Sumac 2-1-1024x

So this weekend, when the inevitable question came up, what are we making for dinner?   We both couldn't help but include this one

I'm so glad we did; it was incredible.  After deeply roasting the onions and butternut squash wedges, the creamy tahini sauce kissed with garlic and lemon was the perfect accent.  Za'atar added a pop of sharpness, with pine nuts offering their crunchy contrast.

Add your favorite protein and dinner is served



ps:  If you're having trouble tracking down za'atar, or just want to try your hand at making your own, you can find a great recipe for za'atar here

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~ Adapted from the Jerusalem

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar


  • 1 large butternut squash, cut into small, uniform pieces
  • 2 red onions, cut into small to medium size wedges
  • 3 ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 ½ Tbsp light tahini paste
  • 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 - 2 heads roasted garlic
  • 3 ½ Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 Tbsp za’atar
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  • Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, some roasted garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, some black pepper and toss well.
  • Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. (Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to come out a bit earlier)
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  • To make the sauce, combine the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.
  • Pour the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat.
  • Add the pine nuts along with the ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown.
  • Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.
  • To serve, spread the vegetables out and drizzle the tahini sauce over. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 272
Total Fat 21.5g
Saturated Fat 3.1g
Carbohydrates 20g
Sodium 6mg
Fiber 6g
Sugars 5.2g
Protein 4.4g
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1 Comment

  • Reply kathryn Maher February 15, 2017 at 5:48 am

    I love this dish another great vegetarian option. I love butternut squash and am always looking for more recipes to cook with it.

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