This crunchy crostini recipe featuring butternut squash, cashew cheese, and thyme is perfect for fall. With an abundance of autumn ingredients, this vegan appetizer will delight you and any guests you serve it to.
Creamy cashew cheese serves as a superb vegan and dairy-free base for this appetizer. Cashews and almond milk blend to create a smooth cheesy spread; it makes a sensational pairing with butternut squash with their complementary flavors.
A staple in fall recipes, butternut squash, adds nourishment as well as vibrant color. It is rich in vitamin A, manganese, and vitamin C, each of which may help improve the skin, eyes, and immune system, respectively. Plus, it has a plentiful dose of potassium with nearly 500mg per single serving.
Thyme adds a fragrant touch with its robust, earthy flavor. Fresh is definitely the way to go as dried thyme will overpower the flavors. Use any leftover sprigs of thyme to garnish your serving plate for an added touch of elegance.
The presentation will visually impress your guests and little will they know that you made it in under an hour. You can prep ahead by roasting the butternut squash and making the cashew cheese the day before. Store both in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
Butternut Squash, Cashew Cheese, and Thyme Crostini
For the cashew cheese:
½ cup cashews (soaked for 8 hours or overnight)
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ lemon, juiced
½ teaspoon sea salt
For the butternut squash:
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
For the crostini:
2 baguettes (gluten-free in necessary)
1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Add butternut squash to a bowl and toss with olive oil and sea salt. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
Add roasted butternut squash to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork. Butternut squash should have some texture but be mostly smooth.
Meanwhile, add cashews, almond milk, lemon juice, and sea salt to a high-speed blender. Blend, scraping down sides as needed, until smooth.
Slice baguette into ¼ inch slices and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees F for 6 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Remove from the oven.
Top each baguette with one tablespoon or so of cashew cheese and a dollop of butternut squash. Lightly press the butternut squash down with a fork to adhere it to the baguette. Garnish each crostini with a few pieces of thyme. Serve immediately and enjoy!
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Images via Karissa Bowers