Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini and Za’atar

This may be a new cool weather side dish favorite. A recipe from Milk Street, it combines roasted butternut squash and red onion, then finishes them with a tahini-lemon-garlic sauce and a dusting of za’atar—a Middle Eastern herb, spice and seed blend.

Before roasting, the squash and onion are tossed with olive oil and honey to encourage browning. After sprinkling on the za’atar, you scatter on chopped parsley or basil chiffonade for color and fresh, herbal notes.

Don’t worry if the pieces of squash are in different shapes; this is unavoidable. But when cutting the squash quarters crosswise, be sure they’re no thicker than ¾ inch and that the chunks don’t measure larger than 1½ inches in any dimension or they’ll take too long to roast.

We had less than half a red onion on hand, so we threw in a small shallot to help compensate. But the onion was so good roasted, that I want to make sure to have a large whole one when we make it again.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini and Za'atar

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded and cut crosswise ¾-inch thick
  • 1 medium red onion, root end intact, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tsp. za’atar
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, or lightly packed fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons


  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, the honey and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the squash and onion, then use your hands to rub the mixture over the vegetables until well coated.
  2. Distribute in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip the vegetables, then roast until nicely browned and a skewer inserted into the squash meets no resistance, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon water; the mixture should have the consistency of thin yogurt (if too thick, whisk in additional water 1 teaspoon at a time to thin). Set aside.
  4. When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a serving platter. Drizzle with the tahini-lemon mixture, then sprinkle with the za’atar and parsley.

Adapted from a recipe from Milk Street

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