Spiced Honeynut Squash Toasts

by Lily Morello  www.lilymorello.com

Note: This is not your #basic fall squash recipe!

As a diehard member of Team Savory, as much as I love the smell of pumpkin spice and everything nice come autumn season, my stomach never really craves baked sweets. So I am always trying to come up with ideas to capture fall flavors in ways that are appealing to my own tastes. I realized that pairing honeynut squash with Spice Tribe’s Masa Mole spice blend would be a lovely foundation for a savory fall-themed toast; it contains cinnamon—one of the usual fall suspects—but beyond that, it brings those warm vibes through toasted Mexican chilies.

It was at that point that I decided I was declaring honeynut squash mash toast a thing—the yummiest autumn-iest alternative to avocado mash toast!

If you haven’t heard of honeynut squash before, it’s like a smaller, super adorable, deeper-colored version of butternut squash. Just look at how it is barely bigger than spice bottle. Freakin’ cute!  If you take anything away from this recipe, I hope it is this combo of mashed squash and this spice blend. Much like avocado toast, and toast in general, it feels a little silly to me to set a strict recipe for a toast, so top that spiced honeynut squash with whatever you like! In this example, I opted for fried halloumi and crispy sage, followed by a drizzle of good-quality maple syrup because, admittedly, that little bit of sweet does really bring out the natural sweetness of the squash even in a savory dish. I sometimes find halloumi to be too salty though, so if you don’t have a halloumi brand you love but still want that fried cheese goodness on top of your toast, firm queso fresco is a great mild option that you can fry up the exact same way.

Are you ready to swap your avocado toast routine for THIS?

 

Ingredients

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. **
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil. Add honeynut squash cubes and toss in some olive oil and salt to taste. Roast in oven until fork-tender, about 20–30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, toast bread slices to preference and set aside. (I like to heat some olive oil in a skillet, toast one side of the bread in the oil, flip, and then turn off the heat and let it sit in the pan while I prep everything else. This makes one side crusty and soggy-resistant for toppings without making the overall toast too hard.)
  4. In a small skillet, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom in a thin layer, and heat the oil on medium. Carefully add sage leaves, trying to make them land flat in the oil. Remove the leaves when they start to crisp and look fully soaked with oil; they will continue to crisp up after being removed from the heat. Transfer to a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  5. Using the same skillet and now sage-infused oil, fry slices of halloumi until golden brown on both sides. Transfer fried halloumi to a separate plate.
  6. Sprinkle the Spice Tribe Masa Mole seasoning over the cooked squash, and mash squash with a fork until homogenous.
  7. Spread the ricotta equally on the toasts, followed by the spiced honeynut squash mash. Top with fried halloumi and crispy sage. Drizzle maple syrup over the top of each toast. Optionally, garnish with tarragon and Spice Tribe Maras Chile Flakes. Serve immediately.

Things to remember

  • * If you find halloumi to be too salty, queso fresco is a great alternative that fries the same way.
  • **Shortcut version: Alternatively, you could steam the honeynut squash in the microwave until soft. Place cubes in a shallow bowl and cover completely with a wet paper towel. Microwave until fork-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt to taste before following the same directions as above for the cooked squash.