Roasted Pumpkin Crostini

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been thinking of new and old traditions. Given that I am away from my family back in Vermont for the holiday, it’s even more important to me to carry on the family traditions and favorite recipes. Even if it’s just the two of us, I’m still planning to cook the whole meal! Traditions are important to me and I feel disconnected without them.

I was reflecting on how much focus there is on the turkey, side dishes, and desserts, and I realized we neglected to include a few appetizers to start. Perhaps because there is so much food already presented on the day, but why not have something for your guest to nibble on paired with a glass of wine for your guests as they arrive. Nothing too extravagant of course, because if you are the host the last thing you need is another involved dish to prepare! Crostinis are so simple and easy to customize to your personal taste. I like to use seasonal ingredients in spirit of the holiday flavors and colors.

This one uses a roasted pumpkin seed baguette from my favorite bakery here, which became the main inspiration for the recipe itself. Topping the toasts with roasted pumpkin, walnuts, cheese (a new one I just discovered!), pomegranate seeds, and fresh herbs, you’ll find it comes together in no time - in fact I prepared it on the beach! It’s an easy appetizer that an early guest who’s offering to help or another member of the family in need of a job can prepare! You know the ones :) Either way, it’s a wonderful appetizer for an autumnal gathering that is as forgiving as it is a beautiful presentation.

Roasted Pumpkin Crostini

Serves 6-8

1 small cheese pumpkin, sliced and diced into small 1/2 - 1” pieces (feel free to use butternut squash too!)

olive oil

1/2 cup of Vermont maple syrup

1 crusty French baguette, thinly and diagonally sliced

1 round of mitica caprichia de cabra cheese

1 cup of walnuts, roughly crumbled

1/2 cup of pomegrante seeds

fresh sage

fresh thyme sprigs

flaky salt + pepper

Preheat the over to 425 degrees. Peel the pumpkin completely and slice it in to several large wedges. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits into a bowl to throw away or compost. Continue to chop into smaller manageable cubes. Again, chop the cubes into 1/2” bits (they have to be small enough to fit on the crostini slice). You may have extra depending on the size of your pumpkin. If so you can leave some larger wedges to bake if you think you’ll have too much. Place all the pumpkin bits on to a baking tray. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Flaky sea salt is best. Drizzle a bit of maple syrup over and bake for 15-20 minutes. I like to top it off with another quick drizzle after they are baked. Set aside.

Lower the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil on both sides and toast in the oven until golden brown, flipping to brown both sides. Remove and set aside to cool.

Find your serving platter and place all of the toasts onto the platter. Gather the roasted pumpkin and spoon about a tablespoon atop each of the toasts.

Crumble the cheese on top of the roasted pumpkin. Add a few walnut bits and pomegranate seeds. Top with the fresh herbs, torn and scattered on top of the crostinis. Grate some fresh black pepper over the top. Serve warm and garnish the platter with the remaining herbs. Drizzle with oil oil if needed.