This flavorful, bright side is a must-have at my Thanksgiving table, and it suits vegetarians, vegans and those who keep gluten-free. It can counterbalance traditional, heavier holiday dishes.

Chunks of yielding, slightly sweet squash and wedges of caramelized onions are brightened by a lemony, garlicky tahini sauce and crunchy toasted pine nuts, and finished with a shower of fresh parsley and za’atar. You’ll be hard-pressed deciding if this side looks better than it tastes — or vice versa.

And although the spirit of Thanksgiving is about sharing, this dish may make you want to keep it all to yourself.

Where to buy: Tahini and za’atar can be found at Middle Eastern groceries, well-stocked supermarkets and online.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


  • 1 medium butternut squash (1 pound 8 ounces) peeled and cut into 1-by-2 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 large red onion (8 ounces), cut into eighths
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tahini, or more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons water, or more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • 3 tablespoons raw pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Step 1

Position a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 475 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the squash and onion and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, a few twists of the pepper grinder, and toss to combine. Spread the vegetables on a large, rimmed baking sheet, leaving space among the pieces, and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through with a little char. (Keep an eye on the onion: If it starts to burn before the squash is cooked, you may need to remove it and finish roasting the squash.) Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Step 2

While the vegetables are roasting, in a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt until the sauce is the consistency of honey. You might need to add more water or tahini, depending on the consistency.

Step 3

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil until shimmering. Add the pine nuts and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring often until the nuts are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.

Step 4

To serve, spread the vegetables out on a serving platter and drizzle with the tahini sauce. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, and garnish with the za’atar and parsley. Sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and serve.

Nutrition Information

(Based on 4 servings)

Calories: 320; Total Fat: 22 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 588 mg; Carbohydrates: 29 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g; Sugar: 7 g; Protein: 5 g.

Adapted from “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ten Speed Press, 2012).

Tested by Olga Massov; email questions to

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