Jerusalem’s Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

One of my roommates recently picked up the Jerusalem cookbook. It’s always been one of my favorites to peruse, along with Ottolenghi’s other book, Plenty. I’ve never owned either of the books but have many friends who do, and from their pages, I have loved pretty much every recipe I’ve had the pleasure of helping to recreate.

Mediterranean cuisine may just be my favorite. And Jerusalem is packed with quality ingredients that bring this style of eating to life.

Winter Butternut

The first Ottolenghi recipe I ever made was essentially the non-pureed form of the one typed out below. That initial dish, a baked butternut and roasted red onion side, is one I make often. It introduced me to the heavenly combination of creamy tahini and nutty squash, which I knew wouldn’t let me down in this recipe.

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Here, that duo is topped with an intriguing addition – date syrup, or as an alternate, molasses. The cookbook explains that date syrup is an intense, natural popular sweetener in the Middle East, and is great for salad dressings, to sweeten stews, or to drizzle over morning porridge. While I am curious to seek that out, the recipe says that the date syrup can be also be swapped for molasses. I decided to go with the latter, one, out of convenience, but also two, because I love molasses yet feel it’s a rather underutilized ingredient in my kitchen. It, too, felt like a surprise ingredient for the dish, and I thought it worked quite well.

Winter Still Life

Creamy and intense, this essentially turns tahini into something that I would eat by the spoonful. However, it’s rich, and is even better when smeared across a crusty bread. Next time, I might add cayenne for some heat, and possibly even a bit of lime or balsamic to cut it a little bit further. Overall though, this was a hit, and would certainly act as a conversation starter if serving to guests. It has this whole sweet-meets-savory dynamic that begs for questions, and also double dipping. Definitely adding this one to the repeat list. Again, another one from Jerusalem that doesn’t disappoint.

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Yield: 6 servings

Recipe as seen in Ottolenghi and Tamimi's Jerusalem cookbook.


  • 1 lg. butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp. light tahini paste
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp. black and white sesame seeds (or just white)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. date syrup or molasses (I used molasses)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, optional
  • Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Spread squash out in a medium roasting pan. Pour over the olive oil and sprinkle on the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix together well, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and roast in the oven for 70 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. Transfer squash to a food processor, along with the tahini, yogurt, and garlic. Roughly pulse so that everything is combined into a coarse paste, without the spread becoming smooth. Stir in cilantro.
  4. Spread the butternut onto a plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and drizzle the date syrup/molasses on top. Serve with bread.



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  • Reply
    February 5, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Ottolenghi somehow manages to always get it right. I am obsessed with everything he makes! The butternut/tahini pairing is one of my favorites. Defintiely need to get this dip into my life!

    • Reply
      Grace @FoodFitnessFreshAir
      February 5, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Ah agreed – have not been failed by him yet! Have been buying tons of tahini because of him though…

  • Reply
    October 13, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    A friend let me borrow Jerusalem and requested that I make this from the book for her! I’m going to give it a try this weekend:)

    • Reply
      Grace @FoodFitnessFreshAir
      October 13, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      Nice! It’s definitely a winner on warm toast.

  • Reply
    Amaryllis @
    October 31, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I love Jerusalem- for far it’s proven endlessly inspiring. I also love how you’ve styled the dish- thanks for sharing, Grace!

  • Reply
    dips – a finer diner
    August 30, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    […] squash-tahini-maple syrup […]

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