Tender butternut squash and bright cranberries top off tangy goat cheese in this perfect holiday appetizer.
Are you guys getting pumped for eating
9 different kinds of pie turkey and gravy this week?
When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was always at my great Aunt Pauline’s house. It was The Event of The Year in my 7-year-old eyes. (Never trust me when I say I was 7 years old. The truth is that I can’t remember anything chronologically before roughly the age of 12, so all childhood memories fall under my favorite number, 7.)
Anyway, Thanksgiving at Pauline’s was awesome. Even though all I liked was the mashed potatoes and white turkey meat. I would literally fill my entire plate with white meat, potatoes, gravy, and a roll. Then I would wait around impatiently for all the old people to finish eating their third plates so that we could get on with dessert.
But before dessert we always went on our annual walk. You only have 2 options after eating that much food: Sink into the couch in a turkey-induced coma, or walk it off. We chose the walk. We always brought a football to toss around (and I always avoided it. Footballs and I do not get along. I mean, balls of any kind are horrible, but footballs are painfully pointy. On both ends. It’s a sport-phobic’s worst nightmare.)
One year we couldn’t find a football but couldn’t kick the tradition, so we tossed around a roll of toilet paper. (I played that year. I mean, it was Quilted Northern. It’s like getting a blanket thrown at you. I can handle that.)
So what did you guys do for Thanksgiving when you were kids? Don’t pretend you were the kid eating the salad and token green vegetables. I know you’re lying.
This fun little appetizer would be perfect for all your guests to munch on while you put the finishing touches on your turkey. If you have the butternut squash chopped beforehand, it is really easy to throw together. (There is a tutorial on how to chop butternut squash below the recipe, check it out.) You could even toast the crostini the day before to have even less work to do the day-of. I love butternut squash, but when you combine it with goat cheese something magical happens…magical, I tell you!
Butternut Squash, Cranberry, and Goat Cheese Crostini
- 2 & 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 12 inch sourdough baguette, thinly sliced (1/4” pieces)
- 3 ounces goat cheese, softened
For the topping:
- 1 & 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 & 1/2 cups butternut squash, 3/4 inch cubes, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- 2 & 1/2 tablespoons thyme, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start by chopping the butternut squash. See tutorial below.
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Set out the goat cheese to soften. Slice the baguette thinly. (Quick tip: if you're baguette is stale, wrap it in a damp tea towel and microwave for 5-15 seconds. Works like a charm.)
- Use a pastry brush to coat each side of the sliced baguette pieces with the 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, flip each sourdough, and continue to bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Don't worry if they have not browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
- For topping: Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons oil into a large, heavy bottom skillet, and place over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add squash and continue to sauté for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and 2 tablespoons of thyme and stir together.
- Cook mixture for 5 minutes, then add cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cook for another 4 to 10 minutes, or until squash is fork tender. (If the squash is chopped large, it will take longer.)
- To assemble: Spread some goat cheese onto each crostini and top with a spoonful or two of the squash mixture, pressing it in slightly to make it stick. Sprinkle with remaining thyme and serve!
There she is. She’s a beaut.
Place a super-sharp chef’s knife straight down into the top. Carefully push straight down, then start to move down the side.
Go all the way down then back up the other side.
Place both halves down and chop off the tops and bottoms.
Clean out the gunk. Use the lid of a canning jar, it’s sharper than a spoon.
Peel that baby up. Make sure you get off all the tough skin, you want it to be nice and orange.
Chop em in half.
Flip it up vertically and slice.
Then slice it…like that.
Then dice! Cutting it like this will get you the fine dice that you need for this recipe. I recommend dicing like this for the cup and a half you need, then chopping into one-inch cubes to freeze and/or save for another use, like butternut squash soup.
This appetizer looks amazing!!! Can I use garlic and herb goat cheese?
Hi Maddie! Yeah I think that would be delicious! Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
Using a canning jar lid to scoop out the innards of a butternut squash? Genius! Thanks for posting this – I’ll be making it this weekend for a good friend’s birthday dinner!
It is the best tip I learned in a floral design class, of all things! So glad you are trying out the crostini Elizabeth, enjoy!
These were absolutely delicious!!! It’s so nice to have a healthier option at holiday parties that taste so good.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it Amy! I agree, sometimes all the holiday food can be overwhelming. Thank you for commenting!
Is there a way to use fresh cranberries instead of dried?
Hi Alisha! I’ve never tried that, and I think it would really change the flavor of the topping. The cranberries would pop and make it a lot more saucy. Let me know how it goes if you try it out!
What if…(and I think I am the only person) I don’t like goat cheese. What cheese could I substitute?
Hey Catherine! No you are not alone I’m sure! You could use ricotta, although it would be much more mild. Do you like feta? The perfect sub would be a feta spread (feta beat together with a little cream cheese). But if you don’t like goat you probably don’t like feta either? Try the ricotta :)
Thanks for the photos of how to slice a butternut squash.
No problem Judy! Glad you found it useful. Happy Thanksgiving!
This is the second time in two weeks that I have made these. All I can say is WOW. And they couldn’t be easier–so impressive–and I love to EAT them. They have inspired me to have dinner parties. My husband is actually eating butternut squash. Is it overstating to say that this is a game changer?
That’s awesome Kathryn! Aren’t these crostini the best? I’m super impressed that you got your husband to eat butternut squash :) Have fun at your dinner parties!! Thanks for commenting Kathryn, I love it.
This looks phenomenal! I was looking for inspiration for a holiday party appetizer and this will be perfect. Thank you!
Thanks Lindsey! I’m so glad you are trying it out. These appetizers sure are a crowd-pleaser. Come back and tell me how it goes! (PS Chocolate pomegranate cookies?? Those look awesome!!)
I didn’t have time to make it for our Christmas party, but I made it last night for a New Year’s party. Everyone absolutely LOVED it. I replaced the thyme with fried sage and used honey goat cheese. Thanks again for the amazing recipe.
Fried sage!! Love it! Oh my gosh that would be so good. I’ll have to try that next time. I’m so glad you guys liked it. Thanks for commenting Lindsey, I love hearing from you! (PS I just looked over at your blog and can I just say there is nothing cuter than your Grandpa in that elf hat dancing it up. haha!)
My husband I have an ongoing joke (based on some hormonal tears one day): “goats cheese makes everything gourmet!” And it does! Each of my kids picks a Tgiving dish to make with us. They are so invested that they are willing to eat it whether its a healthy green veggie or the ever popular pie. (Some years we have to limit the pies to 2 kinds/2 kids can make, so the meal isn’t simply pie…not that that would be bad…. Don’t forget to rinse and low-roast the squash seeds while you are at it!
I agree, goat cheese DOES make everything gourmet!! Love it! And I love your family T-day tradition, what a great idea. I’ve never tried roasted butternut squash seeds! I feel like I’m missing out, so trying that next time!
This looks pretty dang delish! I’m such a sucker for goat cheese. So I’m all in! Your About Me is completely adorns!!! :)
Thanks Chels! Goat cheese is the best, I can’t get enough.
Hey, I made this today and it was delicious! The squash did take a bit longer to cook than the recipe states, but I guess I didn’t cut it as small as needed. Excellent recipe!
I’m glad you loved this Chelsea! Thanks so much for your comment. Yeah, if your butternut squash is not chopped pretty small, it takes a bit longer. I will go back and change the recipe to say that. Thanks again for the feedback! Happy Thanksgiving, I hope it was the best!
We’ve decided to try soccer this year. We normally play football but since most of the kids are in soccer, some of the girls are pregnant and all the men are crippled, it seemed like the safer choice. :)
Yes, that does seem much safer. Try not to kill yourselves in the name of Thanksgiving :)
I loved thanksgiving as a kid. We always had an annual football game. I played as a child, but then as I got older I just sat inside with the girls. It cracks me up every year when the guys go play. They come in dirty, and wet… and someone has tackled someone too hard. This is the only time all year they play.. maybe they are inspired by the Lions or something :) These appetizers look fabulous!
Thanks Laura! That is awesome that they always play football! I hope this is all going on before the food is eaten. Playing tackle football after a Thanksgiving feast doesn’t sound very fun to me :)