Caramelized Butternut Squash Toast with Ricotta & Balsamic

Sharing a quick, easy appetizer to start your Thanksgiving meal on the tastiest note: caramelized butternut squash toast with ricotta & balsamic. Crusty Italian bread toasted until golden, topped with a creamy swoosh of whipped ricotta, butternut squash flavored with balsamic and maple syrup, and a few leaves of fried sage. The prettiest, most festive toast recipe that comes together effortlessly!

Caramelized Butternut Squash Toast

Caramelized Butternut Squash Toast

caramelized butternut squash toast – the details

This caramelized butternut squash toast recipe is really simple to throw together, yet makes for a very impressive and special appetizer. There are basically 4 components – fried sage, caramelized butternut squash, whipped ricotta cheese, and toasted pieces of bread.

You’ll start by frying off the sage in some olive oil…which is much easier than it sounds. You’ll heat up your oil in a skillet just like you’re going to start cooking the squash, but first you’ll add a handful of sage leaves. In a matter of a minute, they’ll crisp up and infuse the oil at the same time. Remove the leaves from the skillet to drain, then add your squash.

The squash cooks until tender and caramelized, then balsamic and maple syrup get added. As they simmer, they create a glossy glaze that coasts the squash beautifully, all while adding lots of flavor. While this process is happening on the stove, you’ll whisk up your ricotta with some olive oil & maple syrup until smooth, and toast your bread in the oven.

Assemble the toasts and you’re done!

Caramelized Butternut Squash Toast

You cannot go wrong with this caramelized butternut squash toast! Or, if you’re more in the mood for rich flavors of bacon & dates, try out this whipped goat cheese recipe! Either appetizer is going to be such a hit this Thanksgiving.

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Caramelized Butternut Squash Toast with Ricotta & Balsamic

Caramelized Butternut Squash Toast

crispy pieces of toasted bread topped with whipped ricotta cheese and caramelized butternut squash, flavored with maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and sage

servings: 8-10 appetizer portions

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 handful sage leaves
  • 1 ¼ lb diced butternut squash, ¼” cubes
  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp + ¼ cup maple syrup
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 loaf italian bread, sliced ½”  
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a 12” cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once hot, add the sage leaves. Fry in an even layer until crisp on both sides. Transfer the sage to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. 
  2. Add the butternut squash to the skillet. Cook for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is caramelized and tender. 
  3. Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. 
  4. Place the slices of bread onto a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil to coat both sides. Toast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Cut each slice into half. 
  5. To the squash, add the balsamic vinegar and remaining ¼ cup of maple syrup. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes on medium low until reduced. Season with salt to taste. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
  6. To assemble, spread the whipped ricotta onto each piece of toast. Top with the butternut squash (along with any extra glaze), the fried sage, flaky sea salt, and more freshly cracked black pepper.

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Caramelized Butternut Squash Toast

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