Roasted pumpkin with tahini & zatar

Roast pumpkin with tahini & zatar (Seasonal Saturday: 1 June 2013)

I’ve chosen a gorgeous autumnal recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook. It’s easy, fun and flavoursome, and a great accompaniment to a range of meats.

This dish is a perfect excuse for a trip to one of Sydney’s fresh food markets to pick up a selection of the delicious range of pumpkins and butternut squash currently available.

Eveleigh Farmers' Market, Sydney

We love heading to Eveleigh Markets in Redfern on a Saturday morning, to pick up some lovely fresh produce and soak up the atmosphere. The place was packed on the sunny autumnal Saturday before Mothers’ Day, with the stallholders on top form and the old railway shed swarming with a menagerie of dogs, children, adults of all ages. After a superb coffee, and bacon and egg roll from the Eumundi Smokehouse, plus an armful of fresh flowers from my favourite flower seller, it was time to shop for produce. The stallholders are always up for a chat, and the apple seller from Mudgee enjoyed regaling us with tales of wombats chasing the apple-pickers.

It was a soul-warming morning, followed by an enjoyable afternoon playing with produce in the kitchen; just a great way to start the weekend.

This dish was a real success for our six-person Mothers’ Day lunch as an accompaniment to a fantastic orange and clove-glazed ham hock courtesy of Mum. And our worm farm got the great benefits of all those delicious pumpkin and cauliflower offcuts!

Quick info

  • Serves 4 (readily adapted to serve 6 or more)
  • Preparation time: 30 mins
  • Cooking time: 30–40 mins


  • 1 large butternut squash or piece of pumpkin (approx. 1.1kg in total), cut into 2cm x 6cm wedges (Note: making a larger quantity gives the option of using different types of squash/pumpkin—I used parts of 3 types, for 6 people—and a few days later used up the rest to make pumpkin soup)
  • 2 red onions, cut into 3cm wedges
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 3 ½ tbsp light tahini paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped flat leafed parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Preheat the oven to 240°C (220°C if fan-forced)/Gas Mark 9
  2. De-skin and cut up the pumpkin and/or squash; place in a large mixing bowl with 3 tbsp olive oil, plus salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. To make sauce, while pumpkin/squash is roasting, place tahini in a small bowl with the lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, garlic and salt to taste
  4. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini as necessary


  1. Roast the pumpkin/squash pieces and the onion pieces together on a large baking tray for 30–40 mins until fully cooked (note onion pieces may take less time and need to be removed earlier)
  2. Remove from the oven and leave to cool


  1. Spread the vegetables on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini
  2. Sprinkle with za’atar and parsley

This recipe is wonderful paired with the lovely roasted cauliflower with pomergranate & hazlenut dish, which requires a similar oven temp, so they’re very easy to prepare together and cook one after the other.