One of Chelsea and my favorite places to have work meetings (occasionally over cocktails) is Cafe Gratitude in Newport Beach. Their food is fresh and healthy and beyond delicious and they have some of the most refreshing libations in Orange County.
I remember the first time I went to Cafe Gratitude. We were meeting Midwife, Allison Molinski, for happy hour and winding down after a long day. I looked over the menu and while there were so many enticing choices, one stood out amongst the rest... the butternut squash dip.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of. Rosemary infused butternut squash whipped into a frenzy and served on top fresh baguette slices. Oh my gosh you guys, it's almost orgasmic.
Sadly for me (and anyone else that is infatuated with this particular dish), their menu is seasonal and the last time I went it wasn't available. After some research and tweaking of a few different recipes I found online, I made a batch of my own butternut squash dip to tide me over until it's on Cafe Gratitude's menu again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Side-note, I am not a vegan, so I also make a non-vegan version when I fancy it. I simply substitute 10 ounces of goat cheese for the chickpeas and voila! It gives it some extra creaminess and texture as well as adds some tartness to the flavor. Delish!
-2 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash (if I'm feeling lazy, I get two bags of the pre-cooked kind in the freezer section at Sprouts)
-1/2 cup canned chickpeas (rinsed & drained) or 10 oz. goat cheese
-1-3 tablespoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
-a few grates of fresh nutmeg
-3 tablespoons of a mix of freshly chopped herbs (my favorites are sage & rosemary, but thyme, basil, & oregano also work!)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if needed based on consistency
-Freshly baked baguette
- Preheat your oven for 400 degrees.
- Add cubed butternut squash to a lined cookie sheet and toss with olive oil, salt & pepper as desired.
- Cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until the squash is tender & can be pierced with a fork.
- While your squash is baking, rinse & drain your chickpeas
- Once the squash is done baking, reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees
- Toss the squash, chickpeas, herbs, and nutmeg into a food processor and puree. (If you're using the non-vegan recipe, leave out the chickpeas and add 10 oz of regular goat cheese)
- If the puree is struggling to blend, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or a tablespoon of olive oil to reach the desired consistency
- Salt & Pepper to taste and blend once more
- Put the puree into a ceramic baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Slice up your baguette, add your butternut squash dip to a decorative bowl or plate and ENJOY! This dish makes a great fall appetizer for your "Friendsgiving" or as an addition to a charcuterie plate. It's a big hit amongst vegans and non-vegans and will be one that people ask you to bring time and again!