I started a new teaching job a couple of weeks ago. There’s a lot to say about the Chinese education system and the way students are being educated. The combination of its education system and the one child policy does not really make for an ideal situation.. surprise. The way these kids are growing up is so much different from the way I grew up. It is not uncommon for a kid in primary school to have extra English classes at night after having a normal 7.30 am to 7 pm school day. I had half the amount of classes and I didn’t even have any homework at that time.

Butternut squash

Even though I’m neither a fan of the education system nor of many of the teaching methods, I am a big fan of the kids. They are so sweet, playful, smart and they are studying so hard. Too bad my already crappy immune system can’t handle full days of 4-10 year olds coughing and sneezing in my face. So along with the new job I also got a nonstop cold.

Butternut squash 2

If I’m really going to pursue this teaching career I should probably build up my immune system a bit better and a vitamin overdose should help me with that. Preferably something with exotic flavors that makes me think I’m in a warm, sunny place, instead of freezing, smoggy Beijing.

Recipe adapted from Jerusalem: a Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi.

1 large butternut squash (a little bit over a kilogram), cut into 2-6 cm wedges (mine were a little bigger – the recipe uses skin on squash, but I took mine of)
2 red onions, cut into 3 cm wedges (mine ended up as chunks)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tahini paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp water
1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated
1 tbsp za’atar
1 tbsp parlsey, finely chopped
salt and pepper

The recipe also calls for some roasted pine nuts. I didn’t have some at home, but next time I would definetly use pine nuts or almonds.

Preheat the oven to 475˚F/240˚C.

Put the squash and onion on a roasting tray. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and place the tray into the oven. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, until the veggies are cooked through (you don’t want to end up with mush though). Remove from the oven and leave to cool a bit.

To make the sauce, mix the tahini, lemon, water and garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more ingredients to your liking.

To serve, spread the veggies on a large plate, drizzle over the sauce. Finally, sprinkle over the za’atar and the chopped parsley.


9 Responses to “Roasted butternut squash and red onion with tahini and za’atar.”

  1. memo2munch

    Mmmm isn’t butternut squash DELISH? And it’s a great pop of color during a muted winter. We make a similar dish with butternut squash, red onion, and red pepper roasted with olive oil, s&p!

  2. Two Peas & A Wad

    Fellow teacher and food blogger here! I look forward to reading more about your adventures! Check out my blog any time, perhaps some of the recipes I plan on posting can work over in China as well. Best of luck!


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