Recipe For Butternut Squash Polenta Appetizers


If you’re putting together a more elegant Thanksgiving meal this year, consider these appetizers. They are a great conversation starter. The appetizers connect familiar holiday ingredients–roasted butternut squash and corn–in a wholly unique way.

The primary ingredient in the appetizer is a mash of butternut squash and fromage blanc. I nested the spread in a roll of grilled zucchini on top of pan-fried polenta medallions. For a nice contrast of texture and color, I garnished the elegant appetizers with honey-roasted nuts and a sprinkling of Italian parsley.

I’m planning on serving 5 or 6 appetizers on Thanksgiving and will be sharing them as I make them throughout the month.

1. Info for Butternut Squash Polenta Appetizers

  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
  • Servings: 18
  • Calories: 238 kcal

2. Ingredients for Butternut Squash Polenta Appetizers

  • 1 (24-ounce) package pre-cooked polenta, store-bought
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 zucchini
  • ½ butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried sage
  • ¾ cup fromage blanc (cream cheese or goat cheese), at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons honey-roasted nuts (your favorite kind), coarsely crushed

3. Directions:

  1. Prepping the butternutsquash:  Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Remove the seeds and the strings (if any). Place the cubes of butternut squash on a greased baking sheet with the sprig of thyme in the center. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with dried sage and 1 teaspoon salt. Roast for about 30 minutes until soft. Let cool.
  3. Coarsely mash the butternut squash with the back of a fork and mix with the fromage blanc. You could also blend the mixture into a smooth paste in a food processor. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Trim and slice the zucchini lengthwise, about ¼” thick. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit, then pat dry with paper towels. Brush a griddle pan with vegetable oil. Add the zucchini slices and cook on both sides until grilling marks are visible. Let cool. Cut the zucchini into 3-4″ pieces.
  5. Cut the polenta into 18 slices. (I used a circle cutter to shape smaller-sized medallions; but you could keep them larger if you like).
  6. In a pan, heat the remaining vegetable oil. Add more oil if necessary. Pan-fry the polenta pieces until slightly golden and crispy. Transfer to a plate.
  7. Assembly time:  When you’re ready to serve, transfer the polenta medallions to a serving platter. Roll zucchini pieces on top of each polenta appetizer. Add a dollop of butternut squash spread. Cover with crushed honey-roasted nuts. Garnish with Italian parsley.
  8. Serve immediately.
  9. Bon appétit!

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