Looking for the perfect appetizer to impress your friends and family but that’s also really easy to make? Look no further, as this toast with lemon zest ricotta and cinnamon roasted butternut squash will do just that!
So, when I was thinking of what would be the perfect topping for this delicious ricotta toast, my mind went straight to butternut squash! And I’m glad it did. The roasted butternut squash brings a natural sweetness and *all the fall & winter feels* to these toasts!
Ingredients in Lemon Ricotta Butternut Squash Toast:
- Butternut squash. Packed with nutrients and vitamins, I just can’t get over butternut squash this season! It’s the perfect topping for this lemon ricotta toast.
- Maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Aka my favorite seasonings for butternut squash. Really brings out the flavor and sweetness of the squash.
- Ricotta cheese. Since it is such a versatile and creamy cheese, ricotta has the perfect texture to add to toast.
- Lemon juice and lemon zest. Lemon zest has a citrusy flavor that really brings out the brightness of this toast.
- Toast. I used multigrain sourdough bread because that’s just my favorite at the moment, but you can pick your favorite! Other good breads that would work well are sourdough bread or a French baguette.
- Walnuts. These heart-healthy nuts are packed with omega 3s and add the perfect crunch!
- Parsley. I love garnishing my dishes with fresh herbs, and find that the parsley adds a great pop of color flavor.
How to make ricotta toast
These toasts only have a few components involved in making them, but with maximum (read: delicious) reward:
- Roast butternut squash
- Make lemon ricotta
- Toast the bread
- Assemble the toasts
I always start a recipe with what will take the longest to prep, cook, sit, or marinade. In this case, roasting the butternut squash takes the longest, whereas making the lemon zest ricotta and toasting the bread takes only a few minutes.
First, roast the butternut squash. This recipe on butternut squash gives a great step-by-step guide on how to roast it, and is the same squash recipe I use for these toasts.
While the butternut squash is roasting, make the lemon ricotta. Roughly chop the walnuts and parsley. Then, mix together ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and parsley.
How much zest in one lemon?
Have you ever read a recipe that told you to use 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and you were left wondering how much zest 1 lemon provides? Well, my friend, today’s your lucky day because I will tell you the answer!
1 medium lemon = 1 tbsp of lemon zest
Of course, this is approximate, but now you know. This recipe calls for the zest of 1 medium lemon, or about 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.
Layer your toasts
Once the butternut squash is done cooking, let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. Then, cut and toast the bread. If you are using a baguette, you won’t have to cut it, but I used wide slices of bread, so I chose to cut mine in half!
Spread the lemon ricotta mixture evenly among the 8 toasts. Then top with the roasted butternut squash (*see recipe notes below). Garnish with the chopped walnuts and parsley. And finally, enjoy!
I suggest topping the toasts right before you serve or eat them, to prevent the bread from getting soggy. Otherwise, you can make the lemon ricotta and butternut squash ahead of time, and wait to layer until you’re ready to serve!
Can you freeze ricotta cheese?
Absolutely! I’m no fan of food waste, and if you only bought ricotta cheese for this recipe, you can most definitely freeze it. Just make sure to pour out any extra whey (the liquid stuff!) and stir the ricotta well. Then, place the ricotta in an air-tight bag or container, making sure to seal out any extra air. You can freeze ricotta for up to 2 months. Then, when you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the refrigerator for about 1 day. A fair warning – the texture may change and it might be runnier, but still better than just tossing it out!
Wondering what to do with the leftover butternut squash?
- Use it for these delicious, seasonal salads:
- Make butternut squash & greek yogurt toasts for breakfast: Top wholegrain bread or sourdough bread with greek yogurt, maple syrup or honey, and roasted butternut squash, and pumpkin seeds. Makes for a great healthy, balanced breakfast!
- Use it as the starch or carb in your lunches and dinners. Butternut squash is a delicious and nutritious starchy vegetable!
Did you make these lemon ricotta butternut squash toasts? If so, snap a picture and tag me on Instagram! I love seeing and sharing your creations!
Lemon Ricotta Butternut Squash Toast
- 1 small butternut squash peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1½ tsp sea salt divided
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2½ tbsp parsley chopped, divided
- 4 large slices bread cut in half, or 8 small pieces
- 2 tbsp walnuts chopped, for garnish
Roast the butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, add chopped squash, olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and 1 tsp salt. Mix well.
- Lay out the butternut squash in one layer on the baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and flip over the squash. Roast for another 15-20 minutes. Let the squash cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Prepare the lemon ricotta and toast
- Mix together ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, ½ tsp sea salt, and 2¼ tbsp parsley.
- Once the butternut squash is done cooking, let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.
- Toast the bread until slightly crispy. Spread the lemon ricotta mixture evenly among the 8 toasts. Top with the roasted butternut squash.*
- Garnish with the chopped walnuts and remaining parsley. Serve and enjoy!
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