I was introduced to dukkah, an Egyptian nut and spice blend, at a culinary conference years ago, and quickly became obsessed with this unique condiment and its warm spices. So much so that it’s become a pantry staple that finds its way into all kinds of dishes.
Although there are many variations, the most commonly used ingredients in dukkah are sesame seeds, coriander, cumin and coarsely ground nuts.
It’s most frequently used in Egypt alongside extra-virgin olive oil as a dip for warm bread, but dukkah is one of the most versatile condiments you’ll ever have in your kitchen. It can be used as a topping for hummus, yogurt dips or tahini sauce. Dukkah can be sprinkled over scrambled eggs, a green salad or avocado toast. It can be a crunchy coating for fish, chicken or beef. I love to brush lamb chops with pomegranate molasses and coat them in dukkah before roasting.
Dukkah also can be sprinkled over the top of roasted vegetables, as I do in this week’s recipe, Honey-Roasted Butternut Squash with Pistachio Dukkah.
Thick wedges of butternut squash are brushed with a mixture of olive oil and honey and roasted until lightly browned and tender. The wedges are arranged on a bed of arugula, sprinkled with a pistachio dukkah and drizzled with a little more olive oil and honey. Lemon wedges are served alongside it for a bright, acidic note that highlights the flavor of both the squash and the dukkah.
It’s a sophisticated side dish that’s easy to make, especially if you already have the dukkah on hand. Which brings me to another reason to make dukkah: It keeps beautifully in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Once you try dukkah, you’ll want to have it at the ready all the time, so feel free to mix up the flavor by swapping out the pistachios with hazelnuts or almonds. You also can include fennel seeds, black pepper or even red pepper flakes if you’d like a little heat in your own version of this one-of-a-kind spice blend.
Honey-Roasted Butternut Squash with Pistachio Dukkah
Serves 4 to 6.
Dukkah is an Egyptian nut and spice blend, often served simply with bread and olive oil. Here, it’s used as a fragrant and nutty addition to wedges of honey-roasted winter squash. From Meredith Deeds.
- 2 small butternut squashes (about 3.5 lb. total), seeded and cut, lengthwise into quarters
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tbsp. honey, plus more for drizzling
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. Pistachio Dukkah (see recipe)
- Lemon wedges
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey and salt.
Place butternut squash wedges on the prepared baking sheet, skin-side down. Brush oil-honey mixture all over the top of the squash and roast in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
Arrange arugula on a serving platter. Place the roasted squash on top of the arugula. Sprinkle some of the dukkah over the top and drizzle with a little olive oil and honey. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
Makes about 3/4 cup
Note: If necessary, salted pistachios can be used for this recipe. Just omit the additional 1/4 teaspoon salt. From Meredith Deeds.
- 2 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1/2 c. unsalted roasted pistachios, shelled (see Note)
- 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, toast the coriander seeds and cumin seeds, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the toasted spices and all remaining ingredients to a food processor and pulse a few times until the nuts and seeds look like coarse sand with some larger pieces of nuts remaining.
Store the dukkah in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks.
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