CHIRSHI (Tripolitan Pumpkin Spread)

This delicious appetizer is the perfect thing to kick off the new year in a healthy way. It can also be served as a side dish, but served with pita crisps and/or veggies, its both vegan and vegetarian.


  • 1½ lbs butternut or buttercup squash
  • 1 lb sweet potato(es)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  •  2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated (or pressed)
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice or to taste
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 tsp harissa*
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika or to taste
  • 1 to 2 tsp kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • ½  jalapeno pepper, seeded and veins removed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • *Available at Relish Cooking Studio


  1. Cut squash and sweet potato(es) (if large) in half and rub cut surfaces with oil, salt and thyme. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in a preheated 400F oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until tender. Cool. Remove squash and potato pulp from skin and mash with a potato masher or fork, or puree coarsely in a food processor. You should have about 3 cups.
  2. Mix in garlic, lemon juice, tahini, harissa, smoked paprika and salt. Season to taste. Spread onto a platter or in a bowl. Drizzle with Z’hug if using or serve as is, sprinkled with chopped cilantro and perhaps a drizzle of thick yogurt.
  3. Z’hug: In a blender or food processor, combine cilantro, jalapeno pepper, garlic and salt until well blended. With blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until it is completely mixed.