The ingredients that make this recipe so special are as basic in my pantry as salt and pepper. Zaa’tar, tahineh, and extra-virgin olive oil are my kitchen staples, but they add a degree of complexity and depth to so many dishes. And as I have recently discovered, one of the best partners to tahineh is one of autumn’s most delicious bounties – butternut squash. The sweetness and rich nuttiness of the roasted squash combined with the delicacy and tanginess of a good tahineh sauce make for a really tasty side dish. Finished with a generous topping of zaa’tar, it is nothing far from bliss.
INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 2
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes of your liking
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, about 10 sprigs
sea salt, to your taste
a good grinding freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika (smoky or sweet)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon tahineh paste
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons zaa’tar
fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 220 C/ 425 F and add the squash to a bowl with the olive oil, minced garlic, fresh thyme, salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin. Toss together the ingredients and spread onto a baking pan, making sure not to overcrowd.
2. Roast the squash for 30-35 minutes until tender and golden. In the meantime prepare your tahini sauce by combining the tahineh paste, lime juice, and water. Whisk vigorously in a small bowl until light and creamy. Set aside.
3. Transfer the roasted squash to a serving platter, drizzle with the tahineh sauce, and top with zaa’tar. Enjoy right away.