I regret that 42 years have passed, before I discovered the wonderment that is dukkah: an Egyptian blend of toasted nuts, spices, and herbs. Make this fantastic mix and you’ll want to sprinkle it into everything that you eat. It’s an elevation of taste and texture that I can no longer live without. It serves as the crunchy coating for the “Honey Dukkah Roasted Pumpkin & Tofu,” from Veggie Num Num, and is surely a big reason why this is such a great, great dish.

First, you’ll prepare the dukkah mix, which allows you to flexibly choose your own nuts and seeds. I combined cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds, roasting them for 6 minutes. For the “mixed dried herbs,” I used herbes de Provence, which seemed perfect.

Next, you’ll marinate your tofu cubes and pumpkin chunks. I used buttercup squash, which is a turban-shaped winter squash with a hard, dark-green skin and sweet, creamy, orange flesh. It’s firm, like a sweet potato. How great to massage the pieces of tofu and squash with the dukkah, honey, and olive oil, then leave in the refrigerator for three-and-a-half hours. It was too easy to then dump this mixture into a baking dish, to roast for 40 minutes.

I went ahead and prepared some Israeli couscous, which is a favorite accompaniment in my family. I drizzled my cooked couscous with dukkah (can’t get enough!), olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh thyme. Once roasted, the tofu chunks had cooked perfectly, slightly crusted by that dukkah. Do try this fantastic dish.

And just to include something green with my meal, I also made the “Roasted Asparagus with Garlic, Lemon & Thyme,” from Noob Cook. This was a very easy way to produce tangy asparagus, with the added benefit of roasted garlic. The bay leaves were a fine addition. And what was best? My young child enjoyed this too. I always regard asparagus as a vegetable that requires little fuss to be gratifying.

PRICES
Firm Tofu (1 lb.) = $1.55
Buttercup Squash (2 lbs.) = $1.80
Asparagus (1 bunch) = $3.71

RECIPES: realize the pride of living in a world that includes dukkah, while coasting on the simple glories of roasted asparagus
PREP TIMES:
marinate the tofu and pumpkin for hours, but roast in 40 minutes; asparagus can be eaten after 30 minutes of prep and cooking
TASTES: cumin/coriander/turmeric/paprika warmly combine with mixed nuts and seeds in a coarse crumb, to superbly crust tofu and squash; roast asparagus with garlic, lemon, thyme, and bay leaves and be pleased

Perhaps I’m sort of entranced by the foods of the Middle East right now. Next time, I want to cook “Fesenjan,” as described by Whats4Eats. It’s a thick, rich, sweet/sour chicken dish, made with walnuts and pomegranate syrup and served over rice. See how mine turns out, when you come back to my site on Thursday, February 3.