Recipe: Pumpkin "Hummus"

Based on the dish prepared by Lebanese chef and food writer Anissa Helou.

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

    • 2 pounds (1 kg) peeled and seeded (see Note) pumpkin or butternut squash (not spaghetti squash) cut in 2-3 inch cubes
    • 12 cup tahini paste
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 13 -12 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon salt or more, to taste
    • 12 teaspoon cumin
    • 12 teaspoon sweet paprika, and more to sprinkle
    • 12 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more, to taste
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Boil the pumpkin pieces in water for 10 to 15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain well and transfer to a blender with the tahini, garlic, a third of a cup lemon juice, salt, cumin, one teaspoon paprika, and ground black pepper to taste. Pulse several times to make an homogeneous paste. Taste and adjust seasoning, probably adding more lemon as both pumpkin and tahini are quite sweet. I also like to fold in the lemon zest, which was not part of Anissas original recipe. Let cool and refrigerate, covered. Sprinkle with paprika and serve with crudités or toasted pita triangles.

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Aglaia Kremezi writes about food in Greek, European, and American magazines, publishes books about Mediterranean cooking in the U.S. and Greece, and teaches cooking classes. More

Aglaia Kremezi has changed her life and her profession many times over. She currently writes about food in Greek, European and American magazines, publishes books about Greek and Mediterranean cooking in the US and in Greece, and teaches cooking to small groups of travelers who visit Kea. Before that she was a journalist and editor, writing about everything, except politics. She has been the editor in chief and the creator of news, women's, and life-style magazines, her last disastrous venture being a "TV guide for thinking people," a contradiction in terms, at least in her country. She studied art, graphic design, and photography at the Polytechnic of Central London. For five years she taught photography to graphic designers while freelancing as a news and fashion photographer for Athenian magazines and newspapers. Editors liked her extended captions more than the pieces the journalists submitted for the events she took pictures for, so she was encouraged to do her own stories, gradually becoming a full time journalist and editor. You can visit her website at

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