If there’s one thing I could have for lunch/dinner/anytime every day, it’s got to be this roasted vegetable salad. It’s unlike any other salad I’ve ever had — the vegetables are soft and crispy on the edges, so full of flavor and cooked to perfection. You can use a range of vegetables besides butternut squash, cauliflower and red onions — I’m thinking eggplants, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots and bell peppers — giving this salad a new twist each time. I’ve made it at least 5 times since winter squash season came back, and can’t wait to indulge in it all winter long.
Tahini has always been one of my favorite foods. This thick sesame paste is an integral part of hummus — one of my favorite treats — and is used in many Israeli dishes as a salad dressing. I had kind of forgotten all about the power of tahini until I discovered Yotam Ottolenghi‘s recipes, inspiring me to bring it back to my kitchen in so many creative ways.
Ottolenghi and Tamimi share a delicious butternut squash recipe in their Jerusalem cookbook. The recipe calls for roasting sliced butternut squash with red onion and olive oil, and serving it topped with za’atar, tahini, parsley and toasted pine nuts. I have fallen in love with it ever since I’ve tried it for the first time. I raved about the cookbook to my mom, who then fell in love with both the recipe and the cookbook too, and now we’ve both been busy roasting mixed vegetables and topping them with tahini, za’atar and pine nuts! Give this a try, you’ll surely become just as addicted as we are.
For more ways to cook vegetables, click here
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 medium cauliflower head
- 1 big red onion
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 3 ½ tablespoons tahini paste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon za'atar
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 220°C.
- Peel the butternut squash and cut it into thin wedges, about 2cm thick. Chop the cauliflower head into florets. Peel the red onion, cut in half, then cut each half into 4 thick wedges. Add all the vegetables to a big mixing bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Spread all the vegetables on a baking sheet.
- Roast the vegetables for 40 to 45 minutes, keeping an eye on the cauliflower and red onion as they might be ready quicker. If so, remove them from the baking sheet and let the butternut squash roast until cooked through. The vegetables must be golden and tender.
- While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the tahini sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl. The consistency should be like honey; if too thick, add some more water. If too thin, add some more tahini paste. Set aside.
- In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and cook the pine nuts, stirring often, until golden on all sides. Set aside.
- Move all the vegetables to a serving platter and top with za'atar, pine nuts and their cooking oil and chopped parsley. Drizzle tahini sauce over the top (or serve it on the side) and serve warm.
FOR A COCKTAIL PARTY: Put the salad in small verrines