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Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash with Whipped Tahini

Whip it real good.

Roasted spiced butternut squash on whipped tahini topped with pepitas, pomegranate, and finely chopped mint.

Tired of squash soup and pumpkin pie spice and ready for a new spin on fall flavors? You’ve come to the right place. Roasted spiced butternut squash is piled on top of creamy whipped tahini and showered with a confetti of pepitas, pomegranate seeds, and mint for fresh take on the standard squash side.


Roasted spiced butternut squash on whipped tahini topped with pepitas, pomegranate, and finely chopped mint.

The key to getting great caramelization on this squash is to arrange it flat-side-down on a bare metal baking sheet and roast it undisturbed at high heat. Yes, you can peek under a piece after 25 minutes, just to make sure it’s not getting too caramelized (it won’t be!) But otherwise try to leave it be as much as possible. Just like when searing a steak in a pan, you won’t get that great color and flavor if you’re constantly moving the food around and disturbing its contact with the pan.


Letting the finely chopped garlic and salt soak in the lemon juice before adding the tahini tames the astringency of the raw garlic and dissolves the salt, allowing both to be incorporated into the tahini more easily. Streaming the cold water into the food processor while it’s running creates a seamless emulsion, resulting in a light and fluffy texture. After a half cup water, the whipped tahini will be aerated, but still fairly thick. You can try to add more water if you want to lighten the tahini even more, but be aware: too much water will deflate the tahini, turning it into a sauce. It’ll still taste great, but it won’t have that light, airy quality anymore.


Enjoy!

 

Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash with Whipped Tahini

(Serves 4-6)


Roasted spiced butternut squash on whipped tahini topped with pepitas, pomegranate, and finely chopped mint.

For the whipped tahini:


1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. kosher salt

¾ c. tahini

½ c. cold water, plus more as needed


For the squash:


1 ½ lb. butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1” chunks (about 6 cups)

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt

1 ½ tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. sweet paprika

½ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. honey

2 tbsp. pomegranate seeds

2 tbsp. toasted pepitas

2 tbsp. finely chopped mint


Special equipment: food processor, large metal baking sheet


Method


For the whipped tahini:


Add garlic, lemon juice, and salt to the bottom of a food processor bowl. Let sit 5 minutes. Add tahini and pulse until combined.


Switch the food processor to on and, with the processor still running, slow stream in ½ cup water until tahini mixture is light and fluffy. Turn off processor and taste whipped tahini. Season with additional salt as needed. If tahini mixture is too thick, continue to process and add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture reaches desired consistency.


Roasted spiced butternut squash on a baking sheet.

For the squash:


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, kosher salt, garam masala, sweet paprika, cumin, and cayenne until combined. Add butternut squash and toss to coat with the spiced oil. Drizzle over honey and toss again to combine.


Arrange squash on an unlined metal baking sheet, flat sides down, spacing as evenly as possible. Roast until tender in the center and caramelized on the bottom, 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheet.


Cover the bottom of a large serving platter with swooshes of whipped tahini. Arrange butternut squash on top and scatter with pomegranate seeds and toasted pepitas. Sprinkle finely sliced mint on top.

Roasted spiced butternut squash on whipped tahini topped with pepitas, pomegranate, and finely chopped mint.

Originally published November 11, 2023.

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