Roasted Butternut Squash and Leeks with Orange Tahini Sauce, Walnuts, and Za’atar

Roasted butternut squash and leeks drizzled with orange tahini sauce and finished with toasted walnuts, fresh herbs, and za’atar. This side dish will knock your socks off! 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Leeks with Orange Tahini and Za'atar Walnut Crumble

This Roasted Butternut Squash and Leeks recipe might be one of the best side dishes that I’ve made all year. Don’t be surprised if it disappears before your eyes! We practically inhaled it. 

Drizzled with a creamy orange tahini sauce and topped with buttery toasted walnuts, chopped herbs, and za’atar, it also happens to be one of the prettiest too. In many ways, it reminds me of my roasted cauliflower with tahini recipe

If you’re looking for a gorgeous, flavor-packed side dish to add to your holiday table this season, look no further. This recipe also comes together with minimal effort, which let’s be honest, is the cherry on top. 

 

The Tahini Table Cookbook

This fantastic roasted butternut squash recipe comes from the cookbook, The Tahini Table, by Amy Zitelman (founder of my go-to tahini brand, Soom Foods). 

If you’re familiar with my recipes, you know that I’m no stranger to tahini. I’m convinced every vegetable (cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, just to name a few!) tastes better with a drizzle of lemon tahini sauce

 

It adds a unique creaminess and punch of flavor to so many dishes. If you’ve only used tahini in homemade hummus, you’ve barely scratched the surface.

The Tahini Table showcases tahini’s versatility in more than 100 recipes. You’ll find everything from sauces, dips, breakfast dishes, sandwiches, salads, and main courses recipes to sweets and desserts. A tahini lover’s dream! 

 

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • BUTTERNUT SQUASH – the star of this dish is butternut squash. For this preparation, peel and slice the squash into wedges and lay flat-side down on the sheet pan to maximize caramelization. Shopping Tip: I always look for butternut squash with long necks and small globe ends, as they have less seeds. 
  • LEEKS – we’ll add sliced leek rounds (roughly 1-inch pieces) to the sheet pan partway through roasting the squash. They are sweeter and more nuanced in flavor than regular onion, and add a great texture contrast to the butternut squash. Be sure to use only the white or light green parts only (discard or use the tougher ends for homemade stock) and wash them thoroughly. 
  • TAHINI PASTE – made from ground, pressed sesame seeds, tahini paste has a rich, savory, and slightly bitter flavor. Ethiopian tahini, such as Soom, is generally considered the best. 
  • ORANGE + LEMON JUICE – whisked into the tahini paste to create a thin tahini sauce for drizzling. The sweet orange pairs beautifully with the butternut squash and lemon adds some punch.
  • GARLICRED PEPPER FLAKESadded to the tahini sauce for added flavor and a subtle touch of heat
  • WALNUTS – walnuts are toasted in a small amount of olive oil, before adding fresh herbs and za’atar seasoning to create a delicious herbaceous topping that adds great texture
  • FLAT LEAF PARSLEY – for freshness and color! 
  • ZA’ATAR – this Middle Eastern spice blend has a toasty, herbaceous, and slightly tangy flavor. It is delicious, versatile, and one of my go-to seasonings in the kitchen. 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Leeks with Orange Tahini Sauce

 

How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash and Leeks:  

1) Turn the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2) Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on a large sheet pan. Roast until the squash starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Toss the leeks with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and add to the pan of squash. Roast until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife, about 15 minutes more.

3) While the vegetables roast, whisk the tahini and orange and lemon juices in a small bowl. Add enough water to make the mixture the thickness of a thin cream sauce. Season with the garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper.

4) Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and stir until they darken slightly and smell toasty. Scrap into a bowl, cool for a bit, and toss with the parsley and za’atar.

5) When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a platter. Season with flaky salt and black pepper. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and scatter the walnut mixutre on top. Serve right away.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Leeks with Orange Tahini and Za'atar Walnut Crumble

 

How to Prep this Dish Ahead: 

Roast the vegetables ahead of time and rewarm in the microwave or oven. The tahini sauce can be prepared a day or two in advance and kept in a small container in the refrigerator (if necessary, add a splash of water to thin). Just before serving, prepare the walnut herb topping and assemble. 

How to Serve This Dish: 

While this recipe truly stands on its own, you can bulk it up by serving it on top of cooked grains, such as farro or quinoa, or alongside a simple roast spatchcock chicken, lamb, or fish. 

Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, and dairy free, this is a wonderful dish for entertaining too. 

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Leeks with Orange Tahini and Za'atar Walnut Crumble

Roasted Butternut Squash and Leeks with Orange Tahini Sauce, Walnuts, and Za'atar

Yield: 6 Servings

Roasted butternut squash and leeks drizzled with orange tahini sauce and finished with buttery toasted walnuts, fresh herbs, and za'atar. This gorgeous side dish recipe from The Tahini Table cookbook will knock your socks off with it's incredible flavor. Serve warm, at room temperature, or even cold from the fridge. For make-ahead tips, see the recipe notes.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into wedges
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large leeks, cut into 1-inch pieces (white and pale green parts)
  • 1/4 cup (56 g) tahini paste (my favorite brand is Soom)
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water, plus more if needed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon za'atar spice blend
  • flaky salt (such as Maldon) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Turn the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on a large sheet pan. Roast until the squash starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Toss the leeks with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and add to the pan of squash. Roast until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife, about 15 minutes more.
  3. While the vegetables roast, whisk the tahini and orange and lemon juices in a small bowl. Add enough water to make the mixture the thickness of a thin cream sauce. Season with the garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and stir until they darken slightly and smell toasty. Scrap into a bowl, cool for a bit, and toss with the parsley and za'atar.
  5. When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a platter. Season with flaky salt and black pepper. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and scatter the walnut mixutre on top. Serve right away.

Reprinted with permission from The Tahini Table (Agate 2020).

Notes

How to Prep This Dish Ahead:

  • Roast the vegetables ahead of time and re-warm in the microwave or oven. The tahini sauce can be prepared a day or two in advance and kept in a small container in the refrigerator (if necessary, add a splash of water to thin before using). Just before serving, prepare the walnut herb topping. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 265mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

A Beautiful Plate provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.

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I received a complimentary copy of The Tahini Table; however, I was not obligated to share a recipe or review.  All opinions are my own.