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Butternut Squash Hummus


Middle Eastern cuisine treats pumpkin as a vegetable, and the concept of using canned pumpkin puree for desserts doesn’t exist. Pumpkin or butter squash (relatively new in the region) is peeled, sliced into large chunks, and cooked in soups or stews or roasted in the oven with olive oil. Pumpkin is a key ingredient in Couscous, a dish brought to Israel by North African immigrants, and made of cooked vegetables and meat served on top of steamed semolina. I often cook the couscous recipe that runs in my in-law’s family and serve it with cooked chickpea on the side. This got me thinking about the idea of combining pumpkin and hummus, which eventually evolved into the following roasted butter squash hummus dip.


Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 medium size butternut squash, unpeeled, roughly sliced into 1” chunks

1/2 can (1 cup) chickpeas, drained (freeze the rest of the can content for future use)

2-3 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons tahini paste

1 garlic, unpeeled, sliced into 2 halves

1 stem of sage, or thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Lemon juice form half lemon

Pumpkin seeds (optional), dry roasted in a skillet.


Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 440-degree F.

  • Place the butternut squash cubes and the garlic halves on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil, scatter sage or thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes until squash and garlic are soft.

  • Let the roasted squash and garlic cool, then peel off the skin and transfer to a bowl. Add in the roasted garlic cloves (it should be easy to squeeze it out of the skin at that point). Discard the sage or thyme leaves.

  • Add the chickpeas into the bowl, the tahini paste, cumin, paprika and lemon juice. Puree it all together using hand blender until smooth.

  • Taste and adjust seasoning.

  • Transfer to a shallow serving bowl. Form a crater in the center and drizzle a bit of olive oil. Dust with paprika and scatter roasted pumpkin seeds.


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