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I moved to the United States more than 20 years ago to make my career in restaurants, but in many ways, when I think of home, I still think of Israel. This dish reminds of there three times over. First, tahini is basically the national sauce of Israel—we put it on everything! Second, when I was growing up outside Tel Aviv, my mother cooked sweet vegetables (like butternut squash and pumpkin) a lot, usually with raisins and spices. She still lives there, and when I eat one of those foods, it takes me back to her kitchen.And then, about 10 years ago, I was visiting a chef friend in Israel. She made a version of this tahini sauce for my toddler son. She drizzled it over cucumbers and radishes and served it to him in a bowl. Though Liam was an adventurous eater, and I knew he liked cucumbers, I figured he would ignore the radishes. But Liam finished the bowl—every last cucumber and radish—and asked for more! I credit it all to that sauce. Salty, sweet, creamy, and delicious, it makes the dish.Now, when I serve it on top of roasted butternut squash with plenty of crunchy toppings, it reminds me of where I come from, my mother’s cooking, and when my son was a little boy discovering how good food can be.Einat Admony (@chefeinat)Chef, restaurant owner, and author ofShuk


Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Recipe Summary

15 mins
55 mins
Serves 4


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss squash with oil and ½ teaspoon salt on a large baking sheet. Roast until tender, lightly browned, and crisp in places, about 40 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine tahini, ¼ cup cold water, garlic, honey, soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more water to thin sauce to a pourable consistency, if necessary.

  • Transfer cooked squash to a serving platter and drizzle with desired amount of sauce, saving remainder for another use. Top with pepitas, sesame seeds, and cilantro.