Bruschetta is a delightful appetizer to serve for a casual weeknight dinner, or as an appetizer at parties because you can eat it with one hand, while in conversation. Traditional Bruschetta is topped with fresh tomatoes, garlic, herbs and a drizzle of olive oil, but sometimes it’s fun to change it up. Some of the flavors that are reminiscent of the fall and winter seasons are roasted squash, radicchio and creamy chickpeas, all delightful ingredients, especially presented on top of a toasty piece of rustic bread.
Bruschetta is a healthier option compared to many appetizers and it’s vegetarian, which is a nice start to any meal. This recipe is not difficult to make because you prepare the toppings ahead of time and layer them on a 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.
These Bruschetta may not look like comfort food, but they certainly taste like it – super creamy with a little sweetness from the cooked vegetables. I like to add a fresh sprinkling of herbs on top for a bit of green, it just looks and tastes better. This recipe is definitely one you can mix-it-up and get as creative as you want – perhaps add some pomegranate seeds at Christmas for a pop of additional color.
2 cups butternut squash, diced
1 small head radicchio, any variety
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 oven to 400 degrees. Place diced squash on a sheet pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, toss. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender, remove and let cool.
2. In a bowl, whisk together balsamic, olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove radicchio leaves and toss with vinegar mixture. Let leaves marinate for 30 minutes.
3. In a food processor, add chickpeas, thyme, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Puree and drizzle in olive oil through feed tube until creamy. Remove and store in an airtight container in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
4. After 30 minutes, remove radicchio from marinade and sear in a hot cast iron skillet, until slightly wilted and edges charred, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and let cool.
5. Toast bread on a sheet pan under broiler. To layer – start with 1 wilted radicchio leaf, then a dollop of chickpea puree, and top with roasted squash – repeat. Sprinkle each Bruschetta with a few fresh herbs. Enjoy!