Editors' Picks

ABC Kitchen's Butternut Squash on Toast

October  1, 2014

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: Managing Editor Kenzi Wilbur puts more food on toast -- this time, ABC Kitchen's internet-famous squash.

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First: Know that yes, we thought for a moment about changing the name of this column to What to Put on Toast Now. 

We’ve had this column for over a year now, and we thought that perhaps just now, after backpacking through Europe, living back at home with its parents for a spell, and then moving on up to the big city, it was finally finding itself. It had decided who it was and who it wanted to be: slouchy, silky roasted peppers and eggplant on toast, tomatoes and onions on toast, zucchini blanketed in knife pesto and piled high on, yes, toast. 

Or maybe it was just a phase, a fractious rebellion born against full-on sandwiches and meals requiring actual utensils. But we are reasonable people: We will allow this column one more toast yet. 

Squash toast

The inspiration for this one comes from Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen in New York, whose recipe for squash on toast has been circling the internet for some time now. Consider this an homage. Consider it also a defiant statement that food on toast carries its weight well into fall: We don’t need raw tomato tartines to be happy. 

Remind yourself of this fact while you break down one of fall's first butternuts. Cook it on the stove a la Amanda if you, like me, are currently living with a broken oven; roast it if you have a functional kitchen. Turn an onion into sweet-tart jam. Make your squash alive with spice. Wed the two. 


You’ll end up with a happily arranged marriage of heat and vinegar and sugar, which you will snack on while you search the land over for the biggest, widest loaf of bread near you. Cut it straight across its belly. This will be your canvas; paint it with a primer of ricotta, then a thick coat of squash.

You may also make this on individual toast, or eat it straight from the pan, sans bread, like a heretic. But here’s the thing: If you choose bread that’s a foot and a half long, because you can, it becomes much more acceptable to eat toast for dinner. It becomes festive, an occasion to call neighbors and friends and say come over for toast. It becomes the only reason they actually show up after you say those words. 

Armed with a foot and a half of bread heavy with fall’s best answer to tomatoes, you’ll have created the vegetarian equivalent of a T-bone: hefty, rousing, a little racy. It is a shameless slab of bread, and you will eat it as such: Throw it on a board, have your way with it. Don’t forget to pour the wine. 

squash toast

ABC Kitchen’s Butternut Squash on Toast

Serves 4 to 6, with leftover squash 

One 3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling 
1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes, more to taste
Kosher salt, to taste 
1 yellow onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 large loaf of Pugliese, or smaller, thick slices country bread 
1 cup ricotta,
Flaky salt, for finishing 
1/4 cup chopped mint

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

Photos by Eric Moran

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Catherine Lamb
    Catherine Lamb
  • Cristina Sciarra
    Cristina Sciarra
  • ATG117
  • mrslarkin
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Catherine L. October 25, 2014
Whoa this is pretty sexy stuff.
Cristina S. October 2, 2014
This is thoroughly lovely. And everyone knows that toast it where it's at.
ATG117 October 1, 2014
why did you choose to saute vs roars?
Kenzi W. October 2, 2014
I mention above, but it's actually because (sadly) my oven is broken right now. I'd ordinarily roast (and ABC Kitchen does), but this way was just as successful, and quicker, so I may stick to it!
mrslarkin October 1, 2014
Toast! The ultimate comfort food.

Have you seen the Things on Toast cookbook?
Kenzi W. October 2, 2014
My question is whyyyyyy did I not pitch that first???
Posie (. October 1, 2014
Bless you for making this. Ever since I tasted it the first time at ABC Kitchen, I've measured other toasts against it.
Kenzi W. October 1, 2014
Same. All toasts are not created equal.
Sarah J. October 1, 2014
After you wrote so beautifully about roasted tomatoes and onions on toast, I served it to my friends two days later. Looks like I'll be doing the same this Friday! Toast forever, "adult food" never.
Kenzi W. October 1, 2014
And so that will be my motto forever more.
Marian B. October 1, 2014
who wants matching tattoos?
EmilyC October 1, 2014
This is beautiful Kenzi -- both the column and the toast!
Kenzi W. October 1, 2014
Thank you! We had fun with this one.
healthierkitchen October 1, 2014
Putting this one on the fall short list. I Love everything on toast! Even got an Italian tostapane recently to make stovetop toast. Creamtea's avocado toast with the preserved lemon and egg on top is still one of my most favorite! http://food52.com/recipes/27425-moroccan-guacamole-toasts-with-fried-egg
EmilyC October 1, 2014
Never heard of a tostapane but sounds fun! Will have to Google it! : )
healthierkitchen October 1, 2014

I got it in an Italian market in Philadelphia, but maybe Provisions could provide?

Oh and your Bagna Cauda toasts!! http://food52.com/recipes/26877-bagna-cauda-toasts-with-radicchio-egg-and-avocado
Kenzi W. October 1, 2014
A big +1 to loving everything on toast. Clearly.
EmilyC October 1, 2014
Oh that's cool Wendy! Hmm, a DC-area Food52 toast party, perhaps?! : )
fiveandspice October 1, 2014
I want that loaf of bread so. much. It is gorgeous, even pre ricotta and squash.
Kenzi W. October 1, 2014
Emily! Come to NY and we will make this for you -- on this exact loaf.
fiveandspice October 2, 2014
You know how much I want to do just that. I have to figure out some way to get someone else to pay for me to visit NYC every other week so I can come hang out with you guys! :)