I love this recipe. It oozes Ottolenghi(ish) sex appeal without much culinary effort.
Like an Ottolenghi recipe, however, it does require two less-than-staple spices: smoked paprika and sumac. If you can, it’s worth sourcing these if you don’t have them already. I have a feeling you just might use them again. Sumac is a great lemon replacer in salads (see: any Middle Eastern fattoush salad) and smoked paprika makes just about everything taste smoky and a little bit exciting.
This plate is great as a side dish, at a BBQ, or as a take to work lunch. Full of flavour with a tiny bit of spice, and above all, easy. After all, you’re busy, I’m busy.
Okay. Let’s do this thing.
Smoky Butternut Squash with Tahini and Sumac
Makes: enough for two as a side dish.
Contains dairy, but can be veganised (see below)
For the Squash.
1 medium butternut squash
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (spicy, but the smokiness is worth seeking out. Regular paprika will give a different quality and be even spicier)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp sea salt
For the Dressing.
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp boiling water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup (about 60g) of goat’s yoghurt (or your favourite, high-quality plain cow’s milk yoghurt)
If you’re moo-free or vegan, just replace the yoghurt with a few tbsp more of boiling water until a pourable consistency is achieved.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Generous handful of chopped herbs (or coriander, mint, chives, parsley, or a mix)
1-2 tsp sumac spice
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- Top and tail a whole butternut squash. Cut them in half and scoop out the seeds with a dessert spoon. From here, cut into quarters, or eighths lengthways. (depending on the size of the squash).I keep the skin on for it is crispy and good.
- In small bowl, combine the spices, herbs and salt,
- Arrange the squash segments in a row on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Try to get some on the underside skins as well.
- Sprinkle the flesh with the dry herbs, spices and salt.
- Bake for 30-40 mins (longer for large squash, test with a skewer or fork prong)
- Meanwhile, mix the tahini with 2 tbsp boiling water until to loosens and becomes smooth, add the juice of half a lemon. Once smooth, mix with ¼ cup (about 70g) of goat’s yoghurt (or plain/Greek yoghurt) and season well. Add more water if the dressing is not pourable. If you’re not using yoghurt, add extra boiling water until a pourable consistency is achieved.
- Let the squash cool to room temperature, sprinkle with a little more sea salt and drizzle with the tahini yoghurt – Jackson Pollock style.
- Anoint with your favourite chopped herbs. I used coriander here but mint, chives parsley, or a mix will also work.
- Top it all off with more sprinkles of zesty, purple-hued sumac.
Pimp with: sesame or pomegranate seeds
This recipe has been simplified since its original publication.