Thinly sliced, crusty baguette topped with roasted, sweet butternut squash, creamy whipped feta, shallots, za'atar and rich tahini. These Caramelized Butternut Squash Crostini are absolutely delicious and perfect for the appetizer portion of your Thanksgiving meal!
2CupsButternut Squash– peeled and cut into small cubes
2TBSUnsalted Butter, melted
1TBSLight Brown Sugar, packed
8ouncesGood Quality Feta Cheese– at room temperature, crumbled
3ounceswhipped cream cheese, at room temperature
1TBS+ ½ tspLemon Juice, divided
1Baguette– sliced thinly on the diagonal
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for brushing
1Shallot– thinly sliced
Za’atar, to taste
Fresh Parsley– roughly chopped (optional)
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
Roast the squash: Place the butternut squash cubes on baking sheet and drizzle with butter and sugar. Season generously with salt and pepper. Toss all the ingredients together with your hands and spread out in a single layer. Transfer to the oven and roast, stopping to turn the squash a few times with a spatula, for 40-50 minutes or until the squash is tender beginning to caramelize.
And toast the bread: On a separate baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices and brush generously with oil. During the last 10 minutes of butternut squash roasting, add the crostini to the oven. Bake baguette slices until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the whipped feta: Place the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until cheeses are mixed. Add in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/8 tsp pepper. Continue to process, scraping down the sides as necessary, until feta is whipped and creamy. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Prepare the tahini: In a small bowl combine the tahini, ½ teaspoon lemon juice, garlic, honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk until creamy and combined, adding a bit of water if a thinner consistency is desired.
Assemble the crostini: Arrange the crostini on a serving platter. Spread with whipped feta and top with a spoonful or two of butternut squash and a few slices of shallots. Drizzle with tahini. Sprinkle with za’atar and parsley (if using). Serve and enjoy.
YIELD: 18-20 Crostini 1. The whipped feta and tahini drizzle can be prepared a couple days in advance. Just keep them covered and stored in the refrigerator.2. If you want to make this appetizer even easier where the prep is concerned, purchase the already diced butternut squash in the produce isle of your grocery store.3. Since the bread portion of crostini is pretty essential, make sure you purchase high quality bread. Go for a fresh baguette from a local bakery, or the bakery section of your grocery store. Slice the bread about ½’’ thick, you don’t want it too thick OR too thin. And DO NOT skip brushing the bread with generously with oil before baking.