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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Winter Squash Puree With Tahini

Martha Rose Shulman  
  Time one hour 
 Yield About 3 1/2 cups
Middle Eastern

This popular appetizer from the Middle East is a sort of sweet-tasting hummus, in which winter squash substitutes for chickpeas. This recipe is an adaptation of one by the cookbook author Clifford A. Wright.

Featured in: Tahini: The Taste Of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine.

2 ½ pounds winter squash, like butternut
1/3 cup sesame tahini, stirred if the oil has separated out
2 large garlic cloves, halved, with green shoots removed
 Salt to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
 Pomegranate seeds for garnish
 extra virgin olive oil for garnish

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and brush lightly with olive oil. If using butternut squash, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy membranes, and lay cut-side down on the foil-covered baking sheet. If using a thick slice of squash, scrape off any membranes. Bake 45 minutes to one hour, or until very soft. A knife should cut through it without resistance, and the skin should be wrinkled. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then peel and transfer to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the tahini, and puree until smooth and creamy.
Step 2
Combine the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle, and mash to a paste. Add to the food processor along with the lemon juice and cumin, and blend together. Add salt to taste.
Step 3
Mound the puree in a wide bowl or on a plate. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top, and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve with warm pita bread.

Advance preparation: You can make this a day ahead, but it will stiffen up, so you may want to process again and thin out with a little more tahini or olive oil before serving. Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)
219 calories; 11 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 30 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 6 grams sugars; 6 grams protein; 34 milligrams sodium

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