Roasted Butternut Squash With Tahini Sauce


Tahini is basically the national sauce of Israel—we put it on everything!

Roasted Butternut Squash With Tahini Sauce Recipe
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Hands On Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
55 mins
4 serves

I moved to the U.S. 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. And this dish reminds me of home three times over. 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.

About 10 years ago, I was visiting a chef friend in Israel. She made a version of this tahini sauce for my toddler son, drizzled over cucumbers and radishes and served in a bowl. Liam was an adventurous eater, and I knew he liked cucumbers, but 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 of Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking


  • 1 3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1- to 2-inch chunks

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ½ cup tahini

  • 1 clove garlic, grated

  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons toasted pepitas

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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