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Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash, Cranberry & Crunchy Pecan Bruschetta

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  • Author: Liz Moody




  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!