All recipes reprinted with permission from The Tahini Table by Amy Zitelman, Agate Publishing, November 2020.

Mom’s Chicken with Turmeric Tahini, Chickpeas, and Onions

Serves 4

This easy sheet-pan dinner exudes exotic aromas and makes an exciting colorful presentation. It smells like the butter chicken I get from my favorite Indian restaurant. As it roasts, the sauce sets up on the chicken, giving you a thick, crunchy-on-the-edges, chewy-moist-in-the-middle texture—amazing.

1 (3 ½- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into parts, or 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups Turmeric Tahini Sauce, divided
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced, divided
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarsely chopped leaves from 1⁄2 bunch cilantro
¼–½ teaspoon hot sauce

Rub the chicken pieces with a generous amount of salt and pepper and put in a large zip-top plastic bag with 1 cup of the tahini sauce. Seal the bag, leaving one corner open about ½ inch. Massage the bag to coat all of the chicken pieces with sauce, then squeeze as much air as you can out of the bag and seal the bag completely. Let it sit out for 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Turn the oven to 425°F.

Toss the chickpeas and half of the onion with the turmeric, cumin, and coriander on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss everything to coat. Push everything to the edges of the pan and put the chicken pieces in the center in a single layer. Bake until the onions are crisp, the chicken skin is brown, and an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F when inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, about 50 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, toss the remaining onion with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

When the chicken is done, transfer it to a serving plate along with the chickpeas and onions. Drizzle with some of the remaining 1 cup of tahini sauce and the hot sauce. Scatter the onion-lemon mixture and cilantro on top. Serve any remaining tahini sauce on the side.

Turmeric Tahini Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

Turmeric has eye-popping color, earthy flavor (sunbaked, a little citrus, a hint of chile), impressive nutritional content (its antioxidants are off the charts), and seemingly limitless versatility.

3 garlic cloves, minced with coarse sea salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup premium tahini paste
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¾ cup ice-cold water

Combine the garlic and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk the tahini, turmeric, cumin, and coriander into the garlic mixture until just combined. Don’t worry if it gets thick and grainy. Whisk in the water, ¼ cup at a time, until the sauce is smooth and creamy. It should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing, like ranch.

Store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Orange Tahini, Walnuts, and Za’atar

Serves 6

Wildly pretty and so easy, these vegetables can be roasted ahead. Simply refresh them in the microwave or a warm oven and finish with the sauce, freshly toasted nuts, freshly chopped herbs, and toast made from a crusty artisanal bread.

1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into wedges
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, cut into 1-inch pieces (white and pale green parts)
¼ cup premium tahini paste
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1–2 tablespoons water
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon za’atar
Flake salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Turn the oven to 475°F.

Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on a large sheet pan. Roast until the squash starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Toss the leeks with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and add to the pan of squash. Roast until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife, about 15 minutes more.

While the vegetables roast, whisk the tahini and orange and lemon juices in a small bowl. Add enough water to make the mixture the thickness of cream sauce. Season with the garlic, fine sea salt, and crushed red pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and stir until they darken slightly and smell toasty. Scrape into a bowl, cool for a bit, and toss with the parsley and za’atar.

When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a platter. Season with flake salt and black pepper. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and scatter the walnut mixture on top. Serve right away.

Pumpkin Hummus

Serves 4

I grew up thinking pumpkins were for carving and pie, nothing else. But when I got to Israel, pumpkin was all over the place, and most of the time it was eaten like other squashes: baked into stews and casseroles, roasted, or fried. When it was puréed, it was more often incorporated into mains than pies. Pumpkin hummus is moister and fresher tasting than typical hummus bi tahini. This one is made with white beans instead of chickpeas for better color and purer vegetable flavor.

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 dates, pitted and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced with coarse sea salt
½ cup canned pumpkin purée
¼ cup premium tahini paste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch crushed red pepper
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup white and black sesame seeds

In a food processor, combine the beans, dates, and garlic and process until mushy. Add the pumpkin purée, tahini, olive oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper and process until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed, pulsing briefly to mix.

To serve, spread the hummus on a serving plate, drizzle with more olive oil, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.