Bruschetta is a delightful appetizer to serve during the holidays, especially prepared with seasonal ingredients. During the summer months, tomatoes are definitely the perfect topping, but during the fall and winter months, roasted squash, radicchio and creamy chickpeas make a delightful combination of flavors on top of a toasty piece of rustic bread.
Bruschetta is very pleasing and tends to be a comfort food of sorts because it stimulates all your senses with the layers of textures. Unlike most appetizers, bruschetta is a healthier option because it often is vegetarian – nice, especially during this season.
Fall Bruschetta is not difficult to make because you can make the accompaniments ahead of time and layer them on top of crostini at the last minute. Roasting squash and searing radicchio in a hot pan, along with a quick puree of garbanzos is the extent of preparation.
The flavors in this bruschetta are creamy and light with a bit of tang from the radicchio. Also, I love a fresh sprinkling of herbs on top for an nice essence in every bite. This recipe is definitely one you can change up the ingredients and create something festive for most occasions.
2 cups butternut squash, diced
1 head radicchio
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil + more for pan
15 ounce can chickpeas drained
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
3 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme
1/2 loaf rustic bread, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place diced squash on a sheet pan drizzled with 1 tablespoon olive oil, toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender, remove and let cool.
2. In a bowl, whisk together balsamic and olive oil along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove radicchio leaves and toss with vinegar mixture. Let the leaves marinate for 30 minutes. In a food processor, add chickpeas, thyme, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Turn the processor on and drizzle olive oil through feed tube until creamy. Remove and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
3. After 30 minutes, remove the radicchio from the marinade and sear in a hot iron skillet, until slightly wilted and edges charred, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and let cool.
4. Toast bread on a sheet pan under the broiler and begin layering Fall Bruschetta starting with wilted radicchio, then a dollop of chickpea puree, and top with roasted squash, repeat. Sprinkle each bruschetta with a few leaves of fresh oregano or thyme. Serve and enjoy!