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Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash, Cranberry & Crunchy Pecan Bruschetta (Vegan, Veggie-Packed)

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My parents got divorced when I was two years old, and the holidays were immediately divided. My mother claimed Thanksgiving, and since then, it’s been a BIG deal in my family. You never miss Thanksgiving: not if you’re abroad, or sick, or sick of your uncles and aunts…you’re always there.

 

Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash, Cranberry & Crunchy Pecan Bruschetta

I love my family Thanksgiving, but in recent years, I’ve added a new tradition to the mix: Friendsgiving. My friends and I usually do it a few days before actual Thanksgiving, so everyone is still in town. We like to go potluck style so the burden isn’t too big on any one person, and this year, I’m bringing these autumnal bruschettas.  I created these in partnership with ALDI, a grocer I’ve long loved because of their commitment to high-quality, organic products at affordable prices. I got all of the ingredients for these bruschettas at ALDI, and the bill was under $30–which is amazing, given that it makes enough bruschetta for an entire 20-person Friendsgiving party. 

Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash, Cranberry & Crunchy Pecan Bruschetta

The bruschetta themselves are SO good, too. They’re vegan, which is nice because it means even people with dietary restrictions at the party can eat them. You can also use gluten-free bread if you’d like—I went with the Specially Selected Sourdough Square, because sourdough bread is better for your gut (the flour is essentially pre-digested by the sourdough bacteria), in addition to being tangy and absolutely delicious. 

The bread is toasted and topped with the most delicious caramelized onion and squash mixture, which is sweet and savory, with umami notes from the onions. Then that’s topped with a fresh, just-the-right-amount-of-sour cranberry mixture, and finished with a sprinkle of crunchy candied pecans. Each bite truly explodes in your mouth—you’ll win any Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving you bring these to, I promise. 

It’s super easy to make, and can easily be made ahead of time too—just keep all of the ingredients separate and toast the bread at the last minute so that it doesn’t get soggy. 

Tag me on Instagram if you make these—I’d especially love to see you getting #healthiertogether with friends!  Happy Thanksgiving!!

This post is sponsored by ALDI, a store I’ve long loved and shopped at. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that keep LizMoody.com going.

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Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash, Cranberry & Crunchy Pecan Bruschetta


  • Author: Liz Moody
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Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the avocado oil. When it simmers, add the butternut squash and the onions, and cook, stirring very occasionally, until both are browned on the outside, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add vegetable stock, apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes and cook uncovered until the stock is absorbed and the squash is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mash with a fork until it has the texture of rustic mashed potatoes. Cover to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the pecans on low until they begin to darken slightly and smell nutty and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Turn heat up to medium-high and add ¼ cup maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon of sea salt, and the ground black pepper. Spread in an even layer over skillet and cook for 3 more minutes as the maple syrup simmers and bubbles (this is it turning into a crispy candy!). Transfer to a parchment paper-lined plate, spreading in an even layer to cool.
  3. Add cranberries to the pecan pan (no need to rinse!). Add the water and the remaining ¼ cup of maple syrup, plus a pinch of fine grain sea salt. Cook on high for 5 minutes, or until the berries pop and the liquid mostly evaporates (the texture should be like a loose jam or jelly).  
  4. Wipe out the large skillet and drizzle with avocado oil. Warm until hot on medium-high. Add the bread in a single layer; cook until golden brown, then flip and repeat on the other side. Repeat with all remaining bread.
  5. To assemble, break the pecans up into small pieces. Spread a generous layer of the squash mixture on each slice of bread. Top with a few dollops of the cranberry sauce, and a sprinkle with the pecans. The squash, cranberries, and pecans can all be made ahead of time—when you’re ready to serve, just toast the bread and assemble!

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