Fall’s bountiful butternut squash serves as the centerpiece of this healthy, crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Crostini is Italian for “little toast,” and this butternut squash and ricotta version of the classic Italian dish is a fun and healthy choice for your next gathering.
At November’s Rooted Community Health Vandy Cooks event, we featured the traditionally leavened (also known as sourdough) bread of Gnarwhal Bakery in Nashville, Tennessee. Baker and owner Michael Matson says that he hopes Gnarwhal will be a vital member of the Nashville community by providing bread that is healthy, wholesome and valuable to the people of Nashville. Michael demonstrates his commitment to environmental sustainability by sourcing flours from organic producers in the South. All of his breads are mixed by hand and baked in a wood-fired brick oven.
- 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons (packed) brown sugar
- Coarse sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- ¾ cup low-fat ricotta
- 12 (3/8-inch-thick) baguette slices, toasted (or 1 loaf of sourdough bread)
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Toss squash, 2 tablespoons oil and sugar in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until squash is golden and tender, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.
- Season ricotta with salt and pepper and mix in a bowl.
- Spread 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture on each baguette slice. Top each with a few squash cubes, and drizzle crostini with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
This post was written by John Compton, M.Div., program coordinator of Rooted Community Health. This initiative of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society seeks to engage partners across Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee communities in service of ecological sustainability, health promotion and human flourishing.
Watch the Rooted Community Health Vandy Cooks “Happy Hour” here: