Roasted Pumpkin Squash with Red Onion and Pepitas

Charlie Carrington

Ingredients:

  • 1kg (2 lb 3 oz) butternut squash in a 3 cm (1¼ in) dice, skin on is fine
  • 3 red onions, 2 quartered and 1 sliced into 1 cm (½ in) wide wedges
  • 100g (3½ oz) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 40ml (1¼ fl oz) grape seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 50ml (1¾ fl oz) white vinegar
  • 50g (1¾ oz) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar (if you can’t find the za’atar crack some black pepper over the seeds once toasted)

Pepita Tahini

  • 120g (4½ oz) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 120g (4½ oz) tahini
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 40ml (1¼ fl oz) olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Line two baking trays with baking paper. Toss the diced squash in a large bowl with a little bit of grape seed oil and a pinch of salt. On one tray put the butternut squash at one end, and the red onion quarters at the other. In a bowl combine the pepitas with half of the vegetable oil, then sprinkle them over the other prepared tray as flat as possible so they cook evenly. Put both trays in your oven. After 15 minutes the seeds will be ready – take them out and let them cool to room temperature. The squash and onion mix will need a further 10 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan over a high heat, combine the sliced red onion, the remaining grape seed oil, sumac, vinegar and sugar. Bring it to a rapid boil then remove from the heat and let the onions cool to room temperature in the liquid.
  3. For the pepita tahini, blitz all the ingredients and 85 ml (2¾ oz) water at a high speed in the blender. Check the seasoning once it’s puréed – it should be acidic and delicious.
  4. To serve, divide the butternut squash and roasted onions evenly between plates and then pour over the pepita tahini in a wild fashion. Cover the dish with the vibrant pickled onions and sprinkle over the toasted pepitas

I’m not going to lie. For a long time I thought butternut squash was a pumpkin. It tastes and looks a lot like one, but this vine-growing squash is typically sweeter and a brighter orange than its pumpkin doppelganger. For the dressing, I’ve mixed actual pumpkin seeds with tahini, which add a nutty depth to this moreish vegetarian winner.

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