Silky Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus w/ Candied Pecans, Spicy Pepitas, & Agave (Vegan + Gluten Free!)
Here’s my one gripe about Thanksgiving: the appetizer game is seriously slacking.
I’ve always felt that every T-Day fête should have a great, wonderfully easy appetizer to serve before dinner. Nothing too heavy, nothing too bland, just the right amount of oomph to tide over your guests before the real feasting begins. Usually this void is filled with carelessly arranged cheese platters and listless assortments of crudité, onion dip, or other pathetic things. And it’s strange, really, since we put SO much effort into the main courses and dessert, yet somehow appetizers get lost along the way.
So this year I decided we could change this sad state of affairs and bring some dignity to the hour of the app, and it all begins with this delightfully dainty hummus.
And PS? There’s a recipe VIDEO, too!! So exciting.
This year Thanksgiving dinner is being cooked by me, and I could not be more excited! My mom and grandma will be on hand (obviously) lending valuable assistance and snippets of their sage advice, but for the most part I’m going to try to handle things on my own, and I’m super psyched for the challenge.
I’ll be cooking at home in my childhood kitchen, which is a sort of full-circle moment that’s both disgustingly cute and somewhat challenging, too – I haven’t lived at home for years, so I legit have no clue where anything is. This loss of control is fairly anxiety-provoking for a barely contained control freak like me, but with a little wine and a touch of organization, I’m ready to handle it in stride. And so my menu has been dutifully prepped for a few weeks now, and among the dishes I’m planning to showcase is this utterly rustic, regal, and all-out stunning hummus, so let’s dive in together immediately.
Aside from being an alluringly lazy, charmingly laid-back app that can be prepped up to two days in advance, this hummus simply LOOKS beautiful, making it an automatic upgrade from your usual Thanksgiving app routine. And of course the taste is just as divine as the looks (duh), but we’ll get there in a minute.
This recipe calls for white beans rather than chickpeas, and I can’t stress enough that you should follow my lead. I’ve always felt that white bean hummus has a creamier taste and smoother texture than chickpea varieties, so it’s almost always my hummus bean of choice, this being no exception.
The butternut squash is deliberately roasted in a sweet & simple marinade that ends up being a total hummus game-changer. A 3-part blend of coconut oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon (also used here and here, for reference) create the most fragrant, gloriously caramelized butternut ever, it is SO freakin’ delicious. I swear – You will be exclusively roasting your butternut like this after just one bite, it’s that addictive. Plus, with a flavor that’s so deliriously potent, these little cubes blend up beautifully against the creamy, mild backdrop of the white beans – It’s a ying and yang, if you will, and it’s totally on-point.
Finally, to amp up the dish’s texture I whipped up some spicy pepitas to crumble on top along with candied pecans, chili powder, and liberal drizzles of agave (or honey, if you aren’t a strict vegan). This topping combo REALLY makes the hummus, so go big and go heavy on the crumbling, drizzling, and sprinkling – Your guests will thank you. And in the end? This app just lives, breathes, and tastes 100% Thanksgiving, it’s so painfully seasonal you’ll slap yourself. The complimenting and contrasting tastes are crazzzy good, and in the end this dish is complex enough to look fancy, but simple enough to be seamlessly incorporated into your T-Day scheme.
And perhaps best of all? This appetizer is 100% vegan AND gluten-free, so literally anyone (and everyone!) can enjoy it. x
Silky Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus w/ Candied Pecans, Spicy Pepitas, & Honey
- 3 tbsps Coconut Oil
- 1 tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 lb Cubed Butternut Squash
- 1/4 tsp Salt & Pepper
- 8 oz White Kidney Beans, drained (approx. 1/2 a standard can)
- additional Salt, if needed
- 1/4 cup Candied Pecans
- 1/4 cup Spicy Pepitas (see below)
- Agave Nectar
- Chili Powder
- Cooking spray to grease
- SPICY PEPITAS:
- 1/4 cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas!)
- 1/2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease baking dish with cooking spray.
- In small mixing dish combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt & pepper, whisking well until smooth. Next, place cubed butternut squash in another, large mixing bowl, then pour over with coconut oil mixture. Stir ingredients with a wooden spoon until are cubes are evenly coated, then transfer to greased baking dish. Roast squash at 425F for 45 minutes until fragrant and caramelized, then allow to cool to room temperature.
- While squash cools, lower oven temperature to 350F.
- In a small, shallow baking dish combine the pepitas, EVOO, and chili powder, tossing well to coat. Roast pepitas at 350F for 8 – 10 minutes until just beginning to brown, then remove from oven to cool.
- Once squash is cool enough to handle, transfer roasted cubes and the white beans to food processor. Blend ingredients until silky smooth, approximately 2 – 3 minutes, taste testing as you go and adding additional salt if needed. Once desired texture and flavor is reached, transfer hummus to serving bowl.
- Top hummus with candied pecans, spicy pepitas, liberal drizzles of agave, and a few sprinklings of chili powder. Serve immediately, pairing with crackers, pita bread, or veggies.
>> Hummus tastes great out of the fridge too! Can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold, so this can easily be prepped in advance of a party/gathering if needed.