Tahini Creamed Yellow Squash with Caramelized Shallots, a flavor and nutrient packed alternative to mashed potatoes that is lower in carbs, high in fiber and healthy fats!
Tahini Creamed Yellow Squash
I serve this awesome creamed squash as a side with Pan Seared Cod Fish and it is always a big hit. I am often on the lookout for experimentation and it is not always a total success in the very first attempt. This one though, worked out like a charm.
This creamed yellow squash has an intense taste of the squash along with the rich flavor of tahini. And it is quite easy to prepare. When paired with the scrumptious pan seared fish, it makes a quick and healthy meal that will make you think that you have been transported to a nice Mediterranean restaurant.
When compared to traditional mashed potatoes, this creamed squash has 30 percent fewer carbohydrates, double the amount of fiber and has mostly healthy fats. Whereas mashed potatoes is traditionally prepared with butter or cream, here I have used Tahini - a ground sesame paste with amazing health benefits.
Yellow squash is an excellent source of manganese and copper; a very good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, vitamin K, folate and vitamin B6; and a good source of certain B vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, calcium, iron etc. As a watery vegetable with good amount of fiber it provides bulk to the meal while being low in calories.
It is a good source of anti-inflammatory carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, that are protective against age related macular degeneration and cataracts. The skin of the yellow squash is considered to be antioxidant rich, so it is advisable to purchase the organic vegetable and utilize the skin in your cooking as much as possible.
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Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Dip)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Prick the eggplants with a fork in couple spots and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the skin turns darker and shrinks. Check foot notes for grilling, broiling or stove top options.
- The eggplants should be cooked through completely in the center. To check, press the back of a fork on the eggplant. It should compress easily all the way into the center without any resistance.
- Cut through the eggplant skin and scoop out the soft cooked flesh and mash it with a fork and set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, discarding some seeds if you wish. See note below for peeled and deseeded tomatoes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan at medium setting. Add the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne or chili powder, ⅓ teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes are softened, stirring in between, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the mashed eggplants and cilantro. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, mashing it if needed, into a thick but slightly textured dip like consistency.
- Stir in lemon juice and salt. Adjust as per taste, let it cool and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate it overnight before serving.
- Take the zaalouk from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and let it come to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes if you prefer.
- Chunky Zaalouk: To make a chunkier but less traditional zaalouk, insert garlic cloves into eggplant and roast it in the oven at 400˚F, along with the tomatoes. Chop the eggplants and tomatoes. Add the spices, herbs, half the olive oil, salt and mash it up to desired consistency. Drizzle olive oil and serve.
- Cooking Eggplants:
- Grill: Roast eggplants on charcoal or gas grill for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them slowly in between, until skin turns darker and shrinks.
- Broil: Cut eggplants lengthwise into halves and place the cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Place on the second rack and broil until skin turns darker and shrinks, about 20 minutes.
- Stovetop: Peel the eggplants completely, only some stripes or leave the skin on if you don’t mind it. Cut the eggplants into small pieces. Steam on high heat until soft or cook in a pan with some water until soft and mushy.
- Easy Zaalouk: Combine all ingredients with ⅓ cup of water and cook it over stove top until softened. Mash it up well and drizzle olive oil.
- Peeled and deseeded tomatoes: If you prefer, you can blanch the tomatoes. Cut a small cross on the surface of tomatoes and dump them in hot boiling water. After a minute, pick out the tomatoes and peel the skin, cut them into halves and deseed. Chop them into small pieces.
- Use more tomatoes if you want the dip to be saucy. You may even try using a little bit of tomato paste to give it thickness.
- Leftovers: Can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze zaalouk for couple months. Thaw and reheat. Adjust the consistency, evaporating or adding water as needed. Check the seasoning as well.
- Nutrition facts not including any added salt.
- For other variations, tips and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
Tahini Creamed Yellow Squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds yellow squash organic
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic grated
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt as per taste
- ½ cup shallots chopped
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts roasted, optional
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes Aleppo variety or paprika
- 1 teaspoon zaatar
- Few pinches sumac optional
- Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F.
- Scrub the surface of the organic yellow squash using a vegetable brush. Rinse and wipe dry.
- Brush a few drops of olive oil on the yellow squash, prick with a fork and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes until done. It is well done when a fork can be pierced through easily.
- May peel away about half the skin from the squash and discard. The retained outer skin will give the mash a slightly coarse texture. Less skin - less coarseness and vice versa.
- Cut the roasted yellow squash into pieces and drain the juices out through a colander. For a firmer creamed squash, squeeze it out as much as possible, otherwise the mash will be like a thin puree. A little bit of the collected liquid may be used while pureeing, if and as needed.
- Puree the drained yellow squash, tahini, grated garlic, lemon juice and salt in a food processor until very smooth and creamy.
- Check the seasonings and adjust. Transfer the creamed squash into a serving bowl and set aside.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a small sauté pan. Add the chopped shallots, sauté until golden brown and caramelized. Spoon the caramelized shallots all over on the top of the creamed squash.
- Garnish with roasted pine nuts and a sprinkle of zaatar and red pepper flakes or paprika.
- Serve the tahini creamed yellow squash immediately. It pairs well with broiled/seared fish, roasted chicken or even a thick gravy meat dish.
- I have given a range for certain seasonings in the recipe so that you may adjust it to suit your individual taste.
- Nutrrition facts not including any added salt.