Butternut Squash Rounds with Miso, Walnuts and Tahini

by Valerie on December 9, 2009 · 2 comments

Update: this is a go-to winter recipe for me – I use all sorts of different winter squashes, cut into whatever shape accomodates the Miso, Walnut and Tahini topping. Therefore, I am submitting it to Real Sustenance’s Seasonal Sunday, which is all about showcasing seasonal ingredients – in this case, winter squash and walnuts are both winter ingredients.  I am also submitting the recipe to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday over at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free because the topping tastes so indulgent.

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Do you ever discover a recipe and tweak it and next thing you know, you are eating the final result for lunch several days a week, three weeks in a row? That is exactly what happened after I started tweaking Just Bento’s Miso, Tahini and Walnut Paste for broiled or baked root vegetables.  I increased the nuts, decreased the miso, added scallions instead of leeks, added more scallions and tried it as a topping on carrots and squash and sweet potato. Now, please pardon me while I polish off a couple more of the the butternut squash version, which has pulled ahead as the distinct favorite.

Here is what I love about this recipe: you get the sweetness of the butternut squash and then this salty-meaty combo of the paste.  The miso, walnuts, tahini, ginger and scallions combine into something a big pate like, minus the meat.

Butternut Squash Rounds with Miso, Walnuts and Tahini
Adapted from Just Bento 
Makes 4-6 servings
2 medium or 3 small butternut squashes, peeled (I find smaller ones are easier to cut through)
1-3 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper, optional 
3/4 cup raw walnut halves or pieces
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
4 scallions, white and green parts, roots removed
3 tablespoons gluten-free miso (i.e. avoid any miso made with barley.  While most miso is made with soy, there are soy-free options, see Note, below)
4 tablespoons tahini (I like the Artisana Raw Tahini)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squash where the longish part meets the bulb-like part that has the seeds in it.  Cut the long part into 1/2 inch thick slices. I sometimes reserve the part of the squash with the seeds for cubed roasted or steamed butternut squash to use in other dishes. To do so, take the remaining squash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, cube the squash and roast or cook as you desire. Sometime, however, I just cut that section into large chunks and use the same method as below (adjusting cooking times slightly to account for the large pieces) and top them with the miso walnut tahini paste.   

Line baking sheet with parchment paper, arrange squash slices on parchment paper and drizzle or brush with olive oil.  Season if you would like {I usually skip seasoning at this point because the miso paste is so rich but it is up to you}. Bake for about 15-18 minutes, until the squash rounds are tender.

While the squash is baking, use a mini-prep or food processor to chop the walnuts, scallions and ginger.  Add the miso and the tahini and pulse until you get a thick paste.  Spread the miso paste over the squash rounds and bake for an additional ten minutes until the tops are browned {if you don’t have a mini-prep or food processor, you can finely chop the walnuts, scallions and ginger by hand and combine with the miso and the tahini}.

If you  have leftover miso paste, it apparently keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, and freezes well too.  I would not know,  as I invariably end up eating the leftover bits straight out of the food processor after I have topped the squash rounds.  Just Bento gives some good ideas on how to use this type of miso topping, including to top roasted carrots.

Note: deciding on which miso to use is really up to you.  Be sure to choose a gluten-free miso above all.  Additionally,  Just Bento has a miso primer that explains the different kinds very well.  I have used several kinds of miso for this recipe, and they all are delicious.  The first time I made the recipe, I used South River Sweet Tasting Brown Rice Miso, which I believe is a blend of red and white miso.  If you are sensitive to soy, I highly recommend South River Chickpea Miso.  I am really liking the various kinds of South River Miso I ordered last month, but there are many different kinds of miso out there.  A white miso might be a little too mild, so you would want to up the miso quantity by a tablespoon.  Whatever kind of miso you use, be sure to use a kind that does not have barley (which would make the miso not gluten-free) or MSG (which would be a less naturally produced miso than others).

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 E December 15, 2009 at 5:39 pm

This looks soooo delicious!!!!


2 Maggie December 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Yum!! I've been so burnt out on squash because I grew so many this year and I really need something new to try. This sounds so good and perfect for all the little butternut squash I have stored away.


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