Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini It’s funny. I am always advocating the novelty that comes from reading an actual physical book. Forget the Internet’s endless library. Forget e-lit. Forget iPads. Forget Kindles. I want to read a real book. I want to turn pages, and breathe paper, and step away from the computer. Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini Yet these days I rarely look at cookbooks. I scan a handful of food blogs almost daily, instead, and shun the research for one of my greatest passions – food/cooking – away from my off-screen, unplugged glory time. Ridiculous. I do subscribe to Vegetarian Times mag, but that’s about it for my recipe-to-paper reading unless I’m stumbling through a bookstore or sitting on the couch at my mom’s house. My mom has loads of old school cookbooks, and it always feels like an adventure to scan through the hand-written pages of Moosewood’s first publishing. It also feels like an adventure when I randomly come across a cookbook elsewhere, and take the time to read it. I.E., how this recipe made it into my kitchen. Sesame tahini paste
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem was not new to my ears. Throughout last year, this cookbook received a ton of hype, as did Ottolenghi’s previous book, Plenty. That says something. With so many gorgeous food blogs sprung into creation, I’m not the only going against my own advice and shifting away from cookbook reading. These days, if you want your cookbook to go viral, you better guarantee it offers something NEW to the table. butternut_tahini_blog My friend had Jerusalem laying around her house, thus giving me the opportunity to finally scan its pages. Glorious. It’s definitely one in which I’d like to cook through all of its vegetarian inclusions. And has me wondering about Plenty, which Ottolenghi comprised entirely of meat-free recipes. Roasted Butternut and Red Onion with Tahini Thank god a few of my friends enjoy, and actually buy, cookbooks. When I have more space, hopefully I’ll invest in more of them too. Don’t, but also please do, hold me to that. Scanning through a stack of them aside Jerusalem in quest to create a Saturday feast, this recipe here made the night’s multi-course menu. Of all of the recipes we chose — Carrot, ginger, mulled apple juice; Arugula, kale, persimmon, tahini salad; Beet and lentil borscht; Pear & Almond muffins; — this one was one of the simplest. It was also my favorite. 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini

Round 1

The creaminess of the tahini with the velvety roasted butternut squash and caramelized red onions literally blew me away. So much so that I made this again, 2 weeks later, for my family at Christmas. So good. Definitely a must-try for yourself. Tahini Paste

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini

Serving Size: Serves 4


  • 1 large butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 large red onions, cut in half, and then cut each half into about 5 wedges
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 3½ Tbsp tahini paste
  • 1½ Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (I used pan-toasted sesame seeds instead)
  • 1 Tbsp za'atar
  • 1 Tbsp roughly chopped parsley


  1. Heat the oven to to 220C/425F. Put the squash and onions in a large bowl, add 3 Tbsp. of oil, a tsp. of salt and some black pepper, and toss well. Spread, skin down, on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions: they may cook faster than the squash, so may need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  2. Put the tahini in a small bowl with the lemon juice, water, garlic and a 1/4 tsp. of salt. Start with 1 Tbsp. of water, and whisk to the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini as necessary.
  3. Pour the remaining oil into a small frying pan on a medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and half a teaspoon of salt, cook for two minutes, stirring, until the nuts are golden brown, then tip the nuts and oil into a small bowl. (If using sesame seeds, place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds, and toast until brown, stirring constantly. No oil needed.)
  4. To serve, spread the vegetables on a platter and drizzle over the sauce. Scatter the pine nuts/sesame seeds on top, followed by the za'atar and parsley.

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  • Reply
    January 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Grace – wow these pictures look beautiful!

    • Reply
      January 6, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Thank you, and thanks for stopping by Julia!

  • Reply
    dishing up the dirt
    January 6, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I love that cookbook! Lovely and simple dish.

  • Reply
    Ariela Rose
    January 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Love. I will be re-creating this dish as well, and wishing you and Em were here to share it with me again — Soon enough!

    • Reply
      January 9, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Philly misses you lady!

  • Reply
    Trish @infinebalance
    January 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Just stumbled onto your blog. Love your photos. This recipe has me swooning. I love these ingredients but had not thought to but them together. Lovely!

    • Reply
      January 23, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Trish, so glad you stopped by!

  • Reply
    Renee P.
    March 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I made this a couple of months ago and REALLY enjoyed it! I had to stop tasting from the dish or else I was going to eat the whole thing!

    I’m making it again today with some of the last butternut squash from the farmers’ market. Can’t wait to eat it again! Good thing I’m the only one in my family who likes it – that means I don’t have to share!

    • Reply
      March 22, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      So nice to hear Renee! This is one of my favorites. It’s surprising how simple it is!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2015 at 1:52 am

    Just made this…amazing! Salad was gone within 20 minutes. Rave reviews from the entire family! Thanks for posting.

    • Reply
      Grace @FoodFitnessFreshAir
      May 25, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Awesome! This is definitely one of my favorites. So simple, but delicious.

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