Adding 'oomph' is the name of the game today. We're taking the Red Kuri (or onion) squash and making it impressively delicious. Fear not, we're keeping it simple. These roast squash wedges are not only super simple, but they also taste absolutely AMAZING. Also, we'll be peppering our roasted squash wedges with the Middle Eastern spice blend Za'atar. Oh, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
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We're nearing the end of winter squash season, but not before we get these gorgeous onion squash wedges on the menu. The beauty of this dish lays entirely in its simplicity. A little while back I shared with you a recipe for stuffed acorn squashes, but I think today's way in the best way to roast squash. The flavours of this dish are just made for each other.
Inspiration for this dish comes from a couple of sources. The first is a super chef and good friend of mine, Kimberley Duke. Kim has been a patient mentor, a sounding board and all-round legend to me over the years I've known her. We used to serve a similar dish when we worked together at a pub in South East London. The second source of inspiration is "The Science of Spice". It's an awesome book all about spices by Dr Stuart Farrimond - it's WELL worth a read, I'm constantly using it as a reference point in my cooking and spicing of dishes.
For today's roasted squash recipe, we're only in the market for EIGHT ingredients, 3 for the wedges, and the remainder for the Za'atar.
For the onion squash wedges you will need; one onion squash and two tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil. In addition, we need a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup. We will drizzle the maple syrup over at the end.
For the Za'atar you will need:
- One tablespoon fennel seeds
- Half a teaspoon of salt
- A tablespoon of sumac
- One tablespoon dried oregano
- A tablespoon sesame seeds - you can use either white or black sesame seeds here
A quick note on oregano - my boyfriend is from Madeira, a gorgeous Portuguese Island way off the mainland. We're super fortunate that his family always bring us this amazing naturally dried oregano that is absolutely delightful. If you can ever get your hands on the stuff, I'd highly, HIGHLY recommend it. Otherwise - I'd recommend trying to find oregano that has naturally dried, rather than has been freeze dried - it'll ready add more flavour.
What is Za'atar?
Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that offers many, many regional variations across the Middle East. You can expect to see sumac, salt and toasted sesame seeds in every version.
To start, Syrian style Za'atar is typically a blend of cumin seeds, salt, sumac, oregano and toasted sesame seeds. You'll also find Israeli versions that replace the cumin seeds, with dried thyme and dill. Finally, there's this Lebanese za'atar from Samira at AlphaFoodie, which blends sesame seeds, oregano and sumac with salt and optional dried thyme.
Well - then there's my version of this famous spice blend, that started as an accident - the accidental chef is starting to finally make sense now, huh? It contains fennel seeds, sumac, dried oregano, salt and toasted black sesame seeds. I literally picked up fennel seeds from the spice rack instead of cumin seeds, but truly, it was a tasty mistake. Indeed, this accidental za'atar creation works gorgeously with roast squash.
Where can I find onion squash?
Your best bet to find these vibrant winter squash varieties is a farmers market. Alternatively, you may get lucky if you live close to a big, big supermarket.
I'm lucky enough to live within walking distance of Borough Market, which always has seasonal vegetables in abundance, so the tracking down of gorgeous things like the vibrant orange onion squash is a breeze when they're in season. If you're interested, my two favourite fruits and veg stalls are Elsey & Bent and Turnips. I love the variety they both have.
How do I cut the squash?
First up - be careful. You don't want to slip and end up doing a mischief. Please, no missing finger situations around here, thank you!
Other than being careful, it's easy. Cut the squash in half lengthways, then in half again. Once in quarters, scoop out the seeds and fibrous flesh. Then carefully carry on chopping, until you've reached your desired thickness of wedge. This is on you. You got this.
How long to roast squash wedges?
Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius and roast this lovely, little wedges for 40 minutes. Remove them from the oven toss in two teaspoons of that lovely accidental za'atar we made, and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Voila, crispy, tender and fragrant hunks of beautiful, tasty squash.
Can you eat squash skin?
Ooooh YES! If you follow this roasted squash recipe you'll end up with lovely tender, edible squash skin that is a JOY to eat.
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That's it - seasonal, roasted squash topped with a scattering of my new accidental za'atar blend, and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. That was easy wasn't it?
If you enjoyed this recipe, and our journey through squash, za'atar and Borough Market please do pop a rating and a comment in the boxes below. I love reading them and getting feedback from y'all.
You may also consider giving me a follow over on Instagram - I'm planning some SUPER exciting stuff over there in 2021 and I'd hate for you to miss it.
Finally - please, please consider pinning the above pin to your vegan snack or wedged food(?!) boards on Pinterest. I don't know how you organise stuff, and you know what, as long as I see these wedges on your boards I'm not going to judge you. Deal? DEAL.
Roast Squash Wedges w/ Za'atar
- 1 onion squash
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sumac
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds I prefer black sesame seeds, but white works too
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees
- To cut squash: chop in half lengthways, and in half again. Scoop out fibrous flesh and seeds, and discard. Carefully continue chopping each piece in half until you have thin wedges
- Toss the wedges in oil, and season with salt and pepepr. Roast for 40 minutes.
- Toast fennel seeds over medium heat, until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Tip the fennel seeds into a mortar, add the salt, and grind together using a pestle.
- Stir in sumac and oregano. Lightly toast the sesame seeds, and add to the rest of the spices. Set aside.
- Toss wedges in 2 tsp of za'taar and pop back into the oven for 5 minutes.
- Stack the wedges on your serving plate of choice, scatter over a tablespoon of za'atar and drizzle over maple syrup.