Butternut Squash and Cashew Puree with Cranberry Cinnamon Goat Cheese

Butternut Squash and Cashew Puree with Cranberry Cinnamon Goat Cheese

Cinnamon, honey, nutmeg and warm, melty butter make this recipe an instant classic, and it’s very easy to make- as long as you have the right tools. Of course you can add more of the mulling spices (all spice, clove and so on), I just used what I had on hand. I also prepared the butternut squash the night before in a crock pot (while I slept), because I knew I wouldn’t have time to roast it in the oven today. But by all means, roast it in the oven if you’d like. Directions for roasting butternut squash can be found in my recipe for Curried Butternut Squash Soup. I came up with this recipe because I wanted to bring a dish to my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, but I wanted it to be something that I had never made before (and, believe me, it was hard not to add curry to this, but I figured my grandma wouldn’t be a big fan of that). I was inspired after watching a marathon of Chopped last night where someone made a similar dish with sweet potatoes and goat cheese. The judges where just raving about it! I figured if they loved it so much, my family would, too. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!

(P.S. they loved it!)

This can easily be made vegan by using maple syrup instead of honey and earth balance buttery spread in place of real butter. Makes about 5 side dish servings.

What you will need:
a food processor, large skillet and immersion blender (you can get away with not using the immersion blender, it just won’t be as creamy)
2 small butternut squash (or 1 big one)
2/3 c cashews (I used salted)
2 spoonfuls of honey
3 tbs butter
a couple pinches (or more) of cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch or 2 of pink Himalayan sea salt
crumbled cinnamon cranberry goat cheese for a tasty garnish

Preheat the crock pot to high heat. Wrap the butternut squash in foil and add to the crock pot. Cook on high heat for 4 hours. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes before handling. Cut the butternut squash in half, remove seeds and discard. Scoop out the butternut squash into the food processor along with the cashews, honey, butter, spices and salt (I kept taste testing until I had the flavor I desired) and blend until the cashews aren’t big chucks anymore. Heat your skillet to medium low heat and cook for 10 minutes, letting the cashews soften. Transfer to a serving bowl and use the immersion blender to completely smooth out any chunks of cashews that might be left. Serve with cranberry cinnamon goat cheese sprinkled on top.

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