The deep reds, oranges, and golden yellows of the leaves signal the start of the Holiday season and summon the urge to be seek coziness and warm comfort foods, while visions of Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas parties dance in our heads.
The time has come, and this year I greet the Holiday season with fresh determination to present our loved ones with flavorful, vegetable based dishes. As I've said before, squash is to Fall as tomatoes are to Summer. Which means I try to fit squash into everything we are eating, from stews, soups, chilis, pastas, salads, you name it.
You know what else I love?
Toast. The ultimate comfort food, in my humble opinion. I was inspired to try a 'toast' recipe after a visit to The Bachelor Farmer during our summer trip to Minnesota.
I think you'll agree, toast + butternut squash spread = LOVE.
My original recipe for this spread was great, but then I read about Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Squash on Toast and incorporated the onion jam into my recipe, adding apples for a kick of tart flavor. Most of the apple onion jam gets mashed up with the butternut squash, but some of it is set aside to be used as a topping for the toast.
Take a piece of toasted bread, spoon a dollop of butternut squash spread, top with apple onion jam, sprinkle toasted nuts and seeds.
To make your Holiday meal-planning oh-so-easy, I've complied a list of reasons why this is a great recipe to serve at Holiday events:
- Everything can be made days ahead of time!! You're welcome!!
- Your vegetarian friends will not be stuck with hummus and vegetables as their only option
- Relatively inexpensive, unless you want to splurge on the bread
- Creates an interactive experience for guests if you serve the spread in a dish with toasted pieces of bread
- It looks sooooo pretttttty!
Try it out and let me know what you think!! Leave me a comment below! Post a photo of your lovely creation on Instagram, make sure your tag me @corrielanderson and use #itsallofit!
Now all I need is a fancy toast holder......
Vegetarian Butternut Squash Spread with Toasted Nuts and Seeds on Toast
Recipe Author: Corrie Anderson, with inspiration from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Squash on Toast as featured in the New York Times
Recipe Type: Vegetarian, Breakfast, Appetizer
Serves: 8, spread lasts for a week in the refrigerator
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
- ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
- Mixture of fresh herbs, chopped (optional)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- ½ apple, diced
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 or 2 small loaves of bread, sliced and toasted
Toasted Nuts and Seeds Topping: ¼ cup raw pepitas, 1/4 raw almonds, chopped, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange butternut squash slices on parchment paper. Distribute herbs and red chile flakes evenly over butternut squash. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Roast for 40 minutes.
While the butternut squash is roasting, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium pan over medium heat. Add onions and apples. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring regularly for about 15 minutes. Then add the apple cider and maple syrup. Cook until the onions and apples reach a gelatinous state, probably about 15 minutes. Scoop out ¼ cup of mixture and set aside to use as garnish. The rest will go into the food processor.
In a dry, medium pan over moderate heat, add pepitas, almonds, poppy seeds, and seasame seeds. Turn and toss the nuts and seeds constantly to avoid burning. When you start to notice a nutty, caramel smell, they are done. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
Add the butternut squash, the onion apple jam mix, vegetable stock, crème fraîche, and freshly ground black pepper to a food processor or blender. Pulse until a smooth, spreadable consistency has been reached. If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can mash them together by hand!
When serving in a bowl, add the butternut squash spread, then spoon onion apple jam mix on top and sprinkle with toasted nuts and seeds. Follow the same method if you’re serving on slices of toast.