These Butternut Squash Crostini are the perfect mix of somewhat sweet and savory. Made with roasted butternut squash, shallots, and fresh ricotta or goat cheese, you'll love this vegetarian appetizer.
A Vegetarian Appetizer
If you've been watching Top Chef Colorado this season, you'll know that contestant Carrie Baird has been winning many of the challenges with some version of toast. While all the contestants threw judgmental looks Carrie's way, she was laughing her way to immunity with something most of us make once a week. This is a recipe I tried out over Thanksgiving and I figured I better post it before squash season is over! It's the perfect holiday appetizer or easy meal that I usually make when I have the bare minimum in the fridge.
I first tried a version of this toast a few years ago while visiting my sister in law in NYC. We happened upon ABC Kitchen and decided to stop in for lunch. After walking around in the freezing cold all morning, these warm toasts hit the spot. Luckily there are a plethora of recipes for the exact toast on the internet, but unfortunately none of them are migraine safe as they contain lots of onion and aged vinegars.
For the ricotta, I love Calabro whole milk as it doesn't have a lot of additives. You can usually find this brand at Whole Foods, but any clean ricotta is fine. Just be sure to check your labels as many have additives like carrageenan or lots of gums. Usually this also means it's way more creamy and better quality. Fresh chèvre goat cheese is another great substitute that pairs well with the butternut squash.
I get my bread from a local bakery, but you can use any kind you can tolerate including gluten free. If it is fresh out of the oven, like a quick no-knead bread, remember to wait a day for the yeast to die off.
You may also think the mint isn't necessary. I was one of them. But I promise you, it makes a huge difference and it's worth the extra grocery addition. Sage would also be wonderful here as a substitute.
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Substitutes
If you'd like to make these butternut squash crostini dairy or gluten free, just use gluten free bread and omit the cheese. This would also make them a great plant-based recipe. You could even put this on greens or fresh pasta and it would be fantastic.
For more delicious appetizers, dips, and spreads like this, check out these recipes:
Butternut Squash Crostini
- 2 lb butternut squash peeled and cut in ½ inch cubes *You can buy the pre-cut kind to make life easier
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
- kosher salt and pepper
- 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon organic apple juice
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 6-8 slices of bread, lightly toasted
- ½ cup fresh ricotta cheese or goat cheese
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped
- Heat oven to 450 degrees F and toss cubed squash with 2 tbsp of olive oil, chili flakes, kosher salt and pepper. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, place the butternut squash cubes on the baking sheet, and roast 20-30 minutes, flipping about half way through.
- Heat 2-3 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped shallots with a little bit of salt. Cook until it begins to soften and brown. This should take around 10 minutes. Add vinegar, apple juice, and honey and reduce the heat to medium. Continue stirring as the mixture becomes thick, about another 10 minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven and mash together with the jammy shallots. Spread ricotta (or goat cheese) on toasted bread (I usually just brush mine with olive oil and set it under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes and top with the squash/shallot mixture. Top with chopped mint.
- These would work well dairy-free without cheese as well.