Squash & red onion with tahini, hazelnuts & za’atar

An easy recipe for a Friday night, inspired by a recipe in my beloved and pretty well-worn copy of Jerusalem. I’m on a bit of a healthy, lean eating kick at the moment, which could to some some dull, but to me is far from it! Luckily I love food that’s just naturally good for you, and generally enjoy food flavoured with spices and herbs as opposed to meat. So cutting back on the bad stuff should be easy. It has been this week I tell you! I’ve made a rather delicious purple broccoli and chard rice noodle dish, plus a broad bean, thyme and ricotta (only a little! It was still healthy, promise!) soup and eaten a few brothy udon soups, seaweed salads and sushi for lunch. Eating like this is not dull, but a little expensive. However, today I felt like stepping back into my favourite, familiar and comforting territory and eat a dinner full of fragrance, spice, nuts and drizzled with smooth tahini and (non-fat) yoghurt sauce… perfect for a little tiny Friday blow out. Proof you need neither meat, cheese nor full fat dairy products to make a delicious dinner.

You will need:

For the squash:

2 small, or 1 large, squashes (I used 1 small butternut and 1 small onion squash, for variety of texture and flavour)
2 red onions, cut into segments
1 tbspn za’atar
3 tbspn olive oil
Salt, pepper

For the spiced nuts:

2 tbspns hazelnuts, bashed up lightly in a mortar and pestle
1 tbspn sesame seeds
1 tbsp za’atar
2 tspns hot chilli powder
Salt, pepper

For the tahini sauce:

1 tbspn tahini paste
4 tbspn non-fat Greek yoghurt
The juice of 1/2 lemon (make sure it’s a juicy one!)
1 garlic clove, crushed
Water, as needed


Handful of chopped parsley
Mini flour tortillas or flatbreads (2 per person)


1 – Preheat the oven to 220 degrees
2 – Peel, de-seed and roughly chop you squash; toss together in a roasting dish with the onion segments, olive oil, za’atar and seasoning; roast for 30-40 minutes
3 – Meanwhile prepare the tahini sauce by mixing together the tahini, yoghurt, salt, lemon juice and garlic with enough water to reach a runny honey-like consistency (around 3tbspn)
4 – Now move onto the spiced nuts; toast your hazelnuts til fragrant and golden and then stir in rest of the spices and sesame seeds into the pan with some seasoning; leave to cool
5 – Just before the squash is ready, heat your tortillas/flatbreads in a hot, smoking griddle pan
6 – Serve in bowls for people to help themselves, or spoon a little tahini sauce over a tortilla/flatbread, top with some roasted squash and onion pieces, a sprinkle of nuts and finish with parsley



11 thoughts on “Squash & red onion with tahini, hazelnuts & za’atar

  1. Looks and sounds delicious! I have never thought of squash as a Middle Eastern vegetable (perhaps travelling in Middle-Eastern countries during springtime and late summer might be an explanation), but then, I have eaten tons of winter squash soups with different spices and nuts… and I love them! So I am sure I would love this!

      1. I haven’t made that many things with it yet, but I also like to sprinkle it over Greek yoghurt which I first have mixed with chopped mint, coriander and parsley. By the way, I just took another look at your post and I realized that the first time I used za’atar was with this exact same recipe, the pictures are waiting to get posted in one of the next couple of weeks.

      2. That sounds nice! I really enjoyed it with roasted cauliflower recently. What a coincidence – seems we keep falling for the same recipes from this book, we must have similar tastes!

  2. Yum!!!! Aha, anything from Jerusalem is a guaranteed winner, in my opinion. Ottolenghi is my food guru at the moment, I’m loving the learning experience of using my favourite spices etc in new ways. These wraps look wonderful. I’m also a bit obsessed with combining dukkah or za’atar with roasted squash and tahini, particularly if I can also drizzle over some pomegranate molasses. Need to try this. Glad that your clean eating is going spectacularly (oh, and as far as za’atar goes, I’m currently loving it with yoghurt and homemade baba ghanouj. So, so good with Persian bread xx

    1. Glad you’re enjoying it too, I really hope he’s bringing out a new book soon as its just a constant source of dinner inspiration, and I’ve never worn this copy out!
      Zaatar in baba ghanouj I can only imagine is wonderful. Yet to make baba ghanouj which is weird because its one of my all time favourite foods. Maybe I’m scared of insulting the baba ghanouj gods by getting it wrong! X

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