As I cooked and shot these roasted vegetables, Ryan was out on a late afternoon bike ride on the trail that loops around the outside of the city, following the so-called “river” that is really a wash—a giant, used-to-be-a-river, sand-bottomed hole that snakes through the desert and rushes with water during the summer monsoon rains.
The weather is just cool enough to feel refreshing when you’re out, and though the sun is going down much earlier these days, the way the evening light hits the windows makes everything seem warm and cozy. I’m grateful that, in this season of our lives, we can do things like take short-sleeved bike rides or shoot recipes in the driveway (where the light is perfect) in the middle of December.
While Ryan was out making himself busy, and I was at home having a marathon cooking day, and both of us appreciated this hot tray of roasted vegetables when it was all over. Roasted veggies are a commonly-featured dinner over here. They’re easy and low-effort because you just need to chop them and season them and stick them in the over on a tray. Usually I’ll make rice or some other grain to go with them. I can do something else while they’re cooking, and I love meals that make themselves, friends.
Any seasonings are lovely on roasted vegetables, but I was going for something a little less typical with this recipe. The tahini adds a silkiness to the texture so they’re a little saucy, and the flavor of za’atar is definitely a step above our usual salt, pepper, and garlic combination. If you’re unfamiliar with za’atar, it’s a middle eastern spice mixture containing a blend of herbs. You’ll find different versions depending on the country of origin, but the one I use has ground sesame, thyme, and sumac. You’ll find it easily at a local middle eastern grocery store, so don’t be afraid to go looking!
I used winter vegetables here, because hey, it’s winter right now, and I like using local produce in season. I also just really love winter vegetables–Brussels sprouts, fennel, squash…yum! But if you’re making this at a different time of year, feel free to switch things up! Like most of my recipes, this one is flexible.
These roasted vegetables, especially with the tahini and herbal/spicy flavor of za’atar, make a great main dish or side dish for a quick and easy low-effort dinner. What are your favorite easy, plant-based meals?
Winter Roasted Vegetables With Tahini and Za’atar
Delicious roasted vegetables in season, with tahini sauce and za'atar seasoning.
- 1 delicata squash
- 1 fennel bulb
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts
- 2 teaspoons za'atar seasoning
- olive oil
- sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
Prepare your vegetables: slice the squash into 1/4-inch rings and scrape out the seeds (discard or save for something else). Cut each squash ring in half. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half. Slice the fennel bulb into slices about a half-inch wide.
Place all vegetables on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle generously with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of za'atar (save the other teaspoon).
Bake for 20-30 minutes (mine took 25) or until squash is golden brown on the bottom side, fennel is no longer crunchy, and Brussels sprouts are crispy on the edges.
Sprinkle with the other teaspoon of za'atar after baking and drizzle with tahini--use as much as you like. If your tahini is too thick to drizzle, just thin it with a little water.