Homemade Tostadas with Butternut Squash
Tostadas: you know them and like so many other Mexican dishes, to know these savory snacks is definitely to love them. They are so easy to make and so much fun to eat that it is more than a little surprising that people do not make them at home more often.
However, this easy, fun and yes, nutritious butternut squash tostada may change all that, at least for those of you reading this. As a new world native, squash has a long history indeed in the culinary traditions of the pre-Columbian peoples of the Americas. Of course, the butternut squash actually hails from New England, but it makes an excellent stand-in for the winter squashes which were an important part of Mexican cooking before (and after) the arrival of the Spanish in the New World.
This tostada recipe uses the rich, subtly sweet flavor of butternut squash, rather than refried beans as the basis of the tostada and tangy goat cheese is a perfect foil for its full bodied flavor. It is a tasty and vitamin-packed chance of pace which is a wonderful way to mix things up. Not that anyone could get sick of tostadas, but sometimes, something a little different is just what the doctor ordered.
This butternut squash tostada recipe happens to be one of the easier recipes around for winter squash, and a wonderful one at that. The flavors of the squash blend perfectly with the spices and goat cheese, with the onions, tomato, and lettuce perfectly offsetting the warmth of the squash. Along with some of your favorite salsa, it’s hard to ask for a better snack or appetizer – and if you’re so inclined, just make a few more and make a meal of it! With tostadas this good, it can be hard to stop at just one or two. If you have any leftovers (and that is a big if), simply reheat the squash, since it is just as good the next day.
- 8 tostada shells
- 1 small butternut squash, cut lengthwise in half
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 tomato, diced
- Shredded lettuce or spinach leaves sliced into thin strips
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- Fresh or pickled jalapeno slices
- Cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper, to taste
- Chopped cilantro, salsa and lime wedges, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put the squash cut side down in a baking dish.
- Pour in a cup of water, then bake for 1½ hours or until tender.
- Let the squash cool a little, then remove and discard the seeds, and scoop the flesh out into a bowl, discarding the skins.
- Mash the squash well with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, adding in the olive oil as you go.
- Season the squash to taste with cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper.
- Top each tostada shell with a thin layer of the squash, followed by the tomato, onion, lettuce or spinach, jalapeno slices and a little goat cheese.
- Sprinkle on a little cilantro and serve with salsa, lime wedges, or anything else you would like with your tostadas.
Butternut squash is the main topping in this easy tostada recipe, and the unique sweet flavor of this root vegetable works in harmony with the salad vegetables, Mexican spices, and goat cheese. Whether you follow the recipe to the letter or make your own tweaks (swapping the goat cheese for cotija, or the butternut squash for pumpkin perhaps), you are sure to enjoy the range of flavors, and recognize the south of the border inspiration behind this dish. Oven-roasted butternut squash becomes even sweeter, juicier and more delicious, and you can see from the picture how this wonderful ingredient will look after being cooked.
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