stuffed za'atar roasted acorn squash w/ pepper-lemon tahini sauce / by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

with thanksgiving approaching later this month (holy s#!@, is it really november already!?), i've been getting asked about what kinds of dishes i prepare for the holiday.  i have to admit that thanksgiving has probably been my least favorite holiday meal.  turkey was always meh.  in the past, i could get down with mashed potatoes, along with biscuits and cornbread.  but cranberry sauce, what-surprises-are-hiding-in-it stuffing, various casseroles, baby food looking sweet potatoes - perhaps it was all a sensory/food phobia of mine, but on thanksgiving i strictly hung out with all the carbs.

the past few thanksgivings i've been changing that situation, and have made some seriously tasty meals that could easily replace, or sit beside a thanksgiving classic.  i've been working on the ultimate gluten/dairy free cornbread, which is so super major, and i've also been playing around with a stuffing salad - kind of like a stuffing panzanella (?) if such a thing exists.  but today i'm sharing this super hearty za'atar squash dish, stuffed with lots of all-star ingredients: a spiced kale, shallot, and chickpea saute with quinoa, all topped off with a zesty tahini sauce with a bit of a peppery kick!  i love these acorn squash for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it's a quick meal that allows you to prepare everything while the squash are baking in the oven - yes, friends, these are the things that make me happy :)  

 have a good one, folks! xo

*also, i'm picking a winner for the giveaway of Amy Chaplin's cookbook today! so check your internet mail to see if you're the lucky winner! 

stuffed za'atar roasted acorn squash w/ pepper-lemon tahini sauce 

za'atar is an herby spice blend that can be found in most supermarkerts in the herb + spice aisle.  if you can't find a store that carries it, you can easily make your own.  i have a recipe here for za'atar -  i love making a big batch of this to have when i want to throw it into a meal.  

| 6 servings |


  • 3 acorn squash, washed and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons za'atar
  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked (or a 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed) 
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 3 large kale leaves, destemmed and shredded
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • salt + pepper
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

pepper-lemon tahini sauce

  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt
  • 1/4-1/3 water


  • preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.  place squash cut side up, and brush with olive oil; season with a pinch of salt for each, and evenly sprinkle the za'atar spice.  place in oven and bake until fork-tender; roughly 40-50 minutes.  remove from oven and set aside
  • while squash are cooking, heat a 8-10 inch skillet on medium, once hot, add the olive oil and shallot; saute shallot for a few minutes, until translucent and soft.  add the chickpeas, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and a couple pinches of salt; cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  add the kale and cook until a bit wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.  remove from heat and set aside
  • in a large mixing bowl, combine the sauteed chickpeas and kale, with the quinoa.  taste for seasoning and adjust if needed
  • stuff each squash half with roughly a 1/2 cup quinoa mix (more or less depending on the size of your acorn squash).  serve warm with a few drizzles of the tahini sauce, and sesame seeds


for the tahini sauce

  • in a small mixing bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice, pepper, garlic, a few pinches of salt, and 1/4 cup water.  if consistency is too thick, add more water.  taste and adjust.  store in a lidded jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.  (if the tahini sauce has thickened while refrigerated, add more water, a few teaspoons at a time, to thin it out.)