Roasted Butternut Squash with Orange Tahini, Walnuts, and Za’atar

Reprinted with permission from The Tahini Table by Amy Zitelman, Agate Publishing, November 2020.


Serves 6


Wildly pretty and so easy, these vegetables can be roasted ahead. Simply refresh them in the microwave or a warm oven and finish with the sauce, freshly toasted nuts, freshly chopped herbs, and toast made from a crusty artisanal bread.


1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into wedges

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 large leeks, cut into 1-inch pieces (white and pale green parts)

¼ cup premium tahini paste

5 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1–2 tablespoons water

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper

⅓ cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon za’atar

Flake salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Turn the oven to 475°F.


Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on a large sheet pan. Roast until the squash starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Toss the leeks with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and add to the pan of squash. Roast until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife, about 15 minutes more.


While the vegetables roast, whisk the tahini and orange and lemon juices in a small bowl. Add enough water to make the mixture the thickness of cream sauce. Season with the garlic, fine sea salt, and crushed red pepper.


Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and stir until they darken slightly and smell toasty. Scrape into a bowl, cool for a bit, and toss with the parsley and za’atar.


When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a platter. Season with flake salt and black pepper. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and scatter the walnut mixture on top. Serve right away.


Photo © Jillian Guyette


About the Author:

Amy Zitelman (Class of 2011) co-founded Soom Foods, a certified women-owned business, with her two sisters Jackie and Shelby in 2011. Now CEO, Amy works through Soom Foods to bring Israeli style Tahini to American households. Amy also recently published the cookbook The Tahini Table, and was nice enough to share her Roasted Butternut Squash with Orange Tahini, Walnuts, and Za’atar from the book to help you have an extra special Passover.


Before founding Soom Foods in 2011, Amy was a student at UD studying interpersonal communication and leading Blue Hens for Israel. Passionate about Judaism and Zionism, Amy introduced her peers to Tahini, Falafel, Hummus, and other delicious Mediterranean food during a Blue Hens for Israel event. She was surprised to find that many of her peers were unfamiliar with this nutrient dense food, providing her first piece of evidence that underscored the potential market for Tahini in the United States.


Since their first batch of imported Tahini in 2013, Soom Foods have increased sales sixfold, providing their product wholesale to restaurants, in more than 500 stores from Washington, DC to NYC, and delivered directly to homes through Soom Foods and Amazon.


*Tahini is made from pressed sesame seeds and is therefore categoried as kitniyot. Kitniyot is typically included in the definition of Kosher for Passover Sephardic tradition and excluded in Ashkenazi tradition. Whatever your tradition, we hope you enjoy this recipe sometime soon and support this Blue Hen Business owner by purchasing a Soom Foods product.




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