Ottolenghi’s Roasted Butternut Squash

March 18, 2015

This roasted butternut squash with cardamom and nigella seeds is from the brilliant Yotam Ottolenghi. If you want a show-stopping vegetarian dish, this is it!

This roasted butternut squash with cardamom and nigella seeds is from the brilliant Yotam Ottolenghi. If you want a show-stopping vegetarian dish, this is it!

I’ve never worked with nigella seeds. Nigella sativa seeds are also known as kalonji, fennel flower, nutmeg flower, black caraway, and Roman coriander. They are often used as a substitute for black cumin.

Nigella is used as part of a five-spice mixture commonly referred to as paanch phoran or panch phoron in Indian cuisine, and is also used by itself in naan bread and other recipes in Bengali cuisine. You can purchase them online or at Indian grocers.

This roasted butternut squash is so delicious and just bursting with flavor. The sweet squash pairs beautifully with the cardamom and other spices. I served this with cauliflower rice and green vegetables and it was a huge hit!

If you love exquisite food, if you’re looking for innovative recipes, if you love stunning food photography, if you’re a cookbook fanatic, or you just don’t want to be the only person on the planet that doesn’t own a copy of Plenty More, I urge you to snag a copy of this extraordinary book!

I’ve been an Ottolenghi fanatic for years, ever since I started reading his column for The Guardian. I own all of his wonderful books: Ottolenghi, Plenty, and Jerusalem. And more recently, I’ve been obsessively cooking my way through his latest triumph, Plenty More. Every time “I’m in the kitchen with Ottolenghi” (Oh, I wish!) I feel like I’m getting a cooking lesson from the master of flavors. His food is so rich and full of dimension that you go on a journey to unknown places every time.

Plenty and Jerusalem were such bestselling, award-winning phenomenons, that people were clamoring for “plenty more” from this culinary superstar. Well, he doesn’t disappoint in this latest offering. You really do get plenty more brilliance! This time around, he features 150 vegetarian dishes organized by cooking method: tossed, steamed, blanched, simmered, braised, grilled, roasted, fried, mashed, cracked, baked, and sweetened with an emphasis on spices, seasonality, and bold flavors. From inspired salads to hearty main dishes and scrumptious desserts, there is a wide variety of mouth-watering options.

Some of my favorite recipes include: tomatoes and roasted lemon salad, raw beet and herb salad, fig salad, sprout salad, miso vegetables and rice with black sesame dressing, sprouting broccolini and edamame salad, thai red lentil soup with aromatic chile oil, alphonso mango and curried chickpea salad, eggplant with black garlic, brussels sprouts with caramelized garlic and lemon peel, udon noodles with fried eggplant, walnut, and miso, and  quince poached in pomegranate juice,

Get your copy of Plenty More and learn more about Yotam Ottolenghi.


Ottolenghi's Roasted Butternut Squash

This roasted butternut squash with cardamom and nigella seeds is from the brilliant Yotam Ottolenghi. If you want a show-stopping vegetarian dish, this is it! 

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 to 6
Author Tess Masters


  • 1 1/2  tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced (1½ cups/170 g)
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/4-inch/3-cm chunks (2 3/4 lb/1 kg)
  • 3 1/2  tablespoons  raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/4  teaspoon  nigella seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 1 green chile, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon  super-fine sugar
  • 1 scant cup (200ml) vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup (150g) vegan Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon  finely chopped cilantro
  • Celtic sea salt, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC.
  2. Place the butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 8 minutes, until soft. Add the squash, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to color. Remove from the heat and add the pumpkin seeds, 1 teaspoon of the nigella seeds, the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, chile, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well and transfer to a baking sheet large enough to hold the vegetables in a single but snug layer, about 10 by 12-inches/25 by 30-cm. Pour the stock over the squash and roast for 30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Set aside for about 10 minutes: the liquid in the pan will continue to be absorbed.
  3. Serve warm, with the yogurt spooned on top or on the side, along with a sprinkling of the cilantro and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon nigella seeds.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.
Photography: Jonathan Lovekin © 2014


Comments 8

  1. Hello, I recently found your recipe and wanted to give it a try. I’m making this dish right know and I’m struggling with the instructions. I’ve made the step two until I have to transfer the mix to a baking sheet. I don’t get why I should use a baking sheet. The stock will get everywhere. Why not use a non sticky oven baking plate? You don’t really mention what to do with the baking sheet and at the end of the step 2, there goes the pan again.

    Would you be kind and give me more info please?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Hey Celine, I am sorry you were confused. This is a recipe from the Plenty More cookbook and those were the instructions Ottolenghi gave. You can absolutely use a non-stick sheet instead of baking paper. Because the vegetables are snug, I didn’t have an issue with the broth. It’s really just to prevent sticking. You just transfer the vegetables from the tray to serve. I hope this helps.

    1. Have been enjoying your Blender Girl cookbook, but have a question about a substitution of one ingredient in the chocolate pudding because of sensitivity issues. (ie Almond Milk) Would appreciate your help. Thanks!

    2. Thanks Natalie, so happy you’re enjoying the book. You can substitute coconut milk or rice milk in that recipe. In fact, full-fat canned coconut milk is the bomb! Enjoy.

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