I love butternut squash, but I hate chopping it up. It's always this epic faceoff - me, rolling up my sleeves and wielding my heaviest knife, squaring off against this winter-hardened, broad-hipped nemesis. After a minor victory, chopping her in half at the waist, she smirks as I frantically try to remove the knife I've wedged into her rock-hard belly. Callouses creep over my palms as I hack away at her, while she rolls languidly, tormenting me in my struggle for perfectly sized cubes.
So I'm pretty stoked about those big packs of pre-cubed squash. They're especially perfect for this dip, a super easy and delicious spread flavored with caramelized butternut squash, nutty tahini and a drizzle of sweet date syrup.
It makes a perfect dinner party starter or take-along app. Use it like hummus and serve it with pita chips, brown bread or sliced red peppers. It also makes a great spread for a veggie wrap the next day.
Use maple syrup or molasses if you can't find date syrup. You can find it in Middle Eastern shops or near the sweeteners in the natural foods section of the grocery store or Whole Foods.
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem
Easy Roasted Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 hour 10 min
20 oz / 567 g package cubed butternut squash, or 1 large (approx 2 lb) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs tahini paste
1/3 cup / 80 g Greek yogurt
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sesame seeds (mix black and white if you have them)
1 tsp date syrup (or maple syrup or molasses)
Preheat oven to 400F / 200C.
Line a roasting pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss squash, cinnamon, olive oil and about 1/2 tsp salt. Spread out in pan, cover with foil, and roast about 1 hour, mixing once midway through. The squash is ready when it is totally soft and a little bit caramelized. Cook a bit longer, when in doubt - the extra browning adds amazing flavor. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Pour squash into large bowl, and stir in tahini, Greek yogurt and garlic. Mash with a potato masher until creamy and smooth. Taste and season with salt.
Spread the squash dip onto a flat plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with date syrup.
Serve with pita chips, bread or sliced red bell peppers.