Kürbis aus dem Ofen mit Zatar und Tahini

This Roasted Winter Squash with za’atar and sumac is an easy, flavourful side dish with a Middle Eastern flare. Served with a drizzle of lemon-tahini-sauce and garnished with toasted slivered almonds, pomegranate seeds, and flat-leaf parsley. Together, all these amazing Middle Eastern flavours elevate a simple sheet pan of roasted winter squash to a deliciously new level. Perfect side dish for the holidays that’s simple enough to make for weeknight dinners too!

Inspired by Ottolenghi

This recipe is inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for butternut squash roasted with red onion, which is featured in his and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook “Jerusalem: A Cookbook”. In the original recipe, the roasted squash and onion are first cooled and then topped with a tahini-lemon-garlic sauce, generous sprinkle of za’atar and toasted pine nuts. In this version, the winter squash is roasted in the oven with plenty of za’atar and sumac (for extra lemony flavours) and then served with a drizzle of tahini sauce, and garnished with toasted slivered almonds, pomegranate seeds, and flat-leaf parsley for colour and fresh flavour. The result is an easy, flavourful side dish with a Middle Eastern flare.

KRoasted Winter Squash with Za’atar and Tahini

What is za’atar?

Za’atar is an aromatic blend of spices consisting sun-dried herbs (thyme, marjoram, oregano), ground sumac (which has a terrace lemony flavour) and toasted sesame seeds. You can find it at your local Turkish supermarket, spice market or online. It’s one of my favourite spice blends; full of flavour, it goes perfectly with all sorts of vegetables!

Roasted Winter Squash – best varieties

I like to use Hokkaido (Red Kuri), Delicata, Sweet Dumpling or another variety of winter squash that doesn’t require peeling. I recently discovered Sombra squash (winter sweet) which has a green-greyish skin and a lovely dense texture and slightly sweet, nutty taste when roasted. It too does not need to be peeled, which makes it a great choice for roasting. If you don’t mind the extra work of peeling the squash, then I would recommend trying this recipe with butternut squash.

Sombra Kürbis
Sombra Winter Squash

Sombra Kürbis geschnitten

Ofen-Kürbis Vorbereiten auf Blech

How to make roasted squash with za’atar and sumac

Toss squash wedges with olive oil, za’atar and sumac. I like to use my hands for this directly on the baking sheet, however you can also do this in a bowl. Spread out a parchment lined baking sheet, season with a little sea salt, then bake at 425°F / 220°C for ~35 minutes, adding the onions and tossing once, about halfway through (after about 15 minutes, depending on how browned you like your onions). The squash is done when the edges are browned slightly and its tender. Voila!

How to serve roasted squash

Roasted squash is quick and easy to prepare and makes a delicious side dish that can be served warm or at room temperature. Serve it as an accompaniment to your holiday meals or alongside a wintery kale salad. It’s sweetness is a perfect compliment to the richness of meat dishes or other vegetable dishes.

This dish can also easily be turned into a meal. Simply, serve it over some massaged kale leaves and add some roasted chickpeas. I like to toss the chickpeas in some za’atar spice, add a pinch of chili flakes and roast in a hot oven (430°F / 220°C) for 20-25 minutes. You can also try topping it with some crumbled feta cheese.

Roasted Winter Squash with Za’atar and Tahini

Looking for other oven roasted squash recipes?

Try one of these favourites:

Kürbis aus dem Ofen mit Zatar und Tahini
5 from 1 vote

Roasted Winter Squash with Za’atar and Tahini

This roasted winter squash recipe is an easy, flavourful side dish with a Middle Eastern flare.Use your favourite winter squash (Sombra, Hokkaido, Butternut…)
Course Salad, Side Dish
Category Levante, Middle Eastern
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 189 kcal
Autor Elle


For the roasted winter squash:

  • 1 kg winter squash or pumpkin, cut into 2-2,5 cm thick wedges (I used sombra)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon za'atar
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into wedges

For the tahini sauce:

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons tahini, well-stirred
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons cold water, plus for to thin if needed
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Sea salt, to taste

To garnish:

  • seeds from half a small pomegranate
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • Handful roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Heat the oven to 430°F / 220°C (200°C fan-assisted) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Toss the squash wedges in the oil, za'atar and sumac. Spread in even layer, on the prepared baking sheet, careful not to crowd, and season with salt.
  3. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Add the onions, toss everything to combine and then spread in an even layer again. Roast for an additional 20 minutes, or until squash is tender and edges browned.
  4. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly before transferring to a serving plate.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the tahini sauce ingredients (tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and salt) until well-combined, adding more water to thin, if necessary.
  6. To serve, spread the roasted squash on a serving platter and drizzle over a little of the tahini sauce. Scatter the pomegranate seeds, almonds and parsley on top. Serve the remaining tahini sauce on the side. Enjoy!


  • For this recipe, you can use any type of edible winter squash or pumpkin. Sombra (pictured here) Hokkaido (Red Kuri), Sweet Dumpling, Butternut, etc are all great choices that don’t require peeling. If using butternut I recommend peeling the tough skin before roasting it.
  • If you don’t have both za’atar and sumac on hand, then simply omit the sumac. Za’atar spice mix also contains sumac, so you will still get to taste some of it’s unique lemony flavour.

For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist on Spotify.


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