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While we’re still a ways off, looking for an Easy Thanksgiving Appetizer? This is it! Tried and tested with my book club, it has sweet roasted Delicata squash, creamy Burrata cheese, and a tangy balsamic reduction. Beautiful, easy, and irresistibly delicious! Perfect appetizer for holiday gatherings or potlucks!
Big Apple Inspiration for this Easy Thanksgiving Appetizer
I recently returned from a fun, somewhat whirlwind trip to the east coast.
After seeing old friends and doing a bit of business, I met my husband for a weekend in New York. We did a little sightseeing and a lot of walking and enjoyed several incredibly delicious meals. As anybody who loves to cook knows, there’s no better way to fan the flames of culinary creativity.
Since we got home, I’ve spent some time in the kitchen, trying to recreate some of my favorite dishes from our trip to Manhattan. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Attempting to replicate a dish without a recipe to work from can be tricky.
But every now and then I not only get it right, I somehow manage to improve on the original!
One appetizer with roasted squash and burrata cheese that I enjoyed during our trip was so, so good. But a few additions not only made it look prettier, but it also added a new dimension of deliciousness to the flavor.
Last week, I made it for my book club meeting. This is a Foodies Book Club (as in every book we read somehow relates to food), so they’re a pretty discerning bunch. They gobbled down my delicata, burrata, and balsamic reduction appetizer in no time at all. It’s that good.
But what’s almost as good as the dish itself is how incredibly simple it is to make. If you’re looking for an easy autumn appetizer, this is it!
7 Ingredients, One Incredible, Easy Thanksgiving Appetizer
Excluding salt and pepper, this irresistibly delish appetizer only requires seven ingredients.
Here’s what you’ll need…
- Delicata Squash – So named because the skin is thin and delicate enough to eat. No peeling needed!
- Burrata Cheese – If you haven’t tried burrata yet, you should. It’s going to be your new favorite. Burrata comes in balls, like fresh mozzarella, but is softer and creamier inside.
- Balsamic vinegar – You’ll be making a reduction, which will intensify the flavor, so you don’t need to spend a lot on fancy or aged brands. Whatever’s on sale is fine.
- Brown sugar
- Fresh Basil
- Olive oil
Three Simple Steps to a Delicious and Easy Thanksgiving Appetizer
Making this delicious and beautiful appetizer involves three simple steps.
Step One: Oven roast the Delicata squash.
To do so, you’ll halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Then you’ll slice the squash into half-inch pieces. After adding a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, you’ll pop them into the oven.
Oven roasting with olive oil will caramelize the surface and bring out the natural sweetness of the squash. It’s a perfect foil to that rich, creamy cheese and is beautifully enhanced by the tang of the vinegar, the sweet tart pomegranate, and slightly grassy taste of basil.
While the squash is roasting, you’ll work on step two – making a balsamic reduction. Don’t be intimidated. It’s easier than you might think.
Step Two: Make the Balsamic Reduction
Making a balsamic reduction simply involves simmering the vinegar until it’s reduced by about half. At that point, I add a little brown sugar and let the mixture simmer a little longer until the reduction becomes slightly syrupy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Some balsamic reduction recipes call for adding sugar at the start and for more sugar than my recipe. But I’ve found that I can get a nice, thick reduction without too much sugar. And I think it tastes better because the sugar isn’t overpowering the vinegar flavor.
Step Three: Assembling the Appetizer
Once the squash is roasted, and the reduction has been cooked and cooled, all you’ll have to do is assemble your appetizer.
To do so, place two balls of fresh Burrata on a platter and circle it with the roasted Delicta squash. Next, drizzle the balsamic reduction over the Burrata and squash. Sprinkle pomegranate arils and thin ribbons of fresh basil over the top and serve.
I like to serve this appetizer as is, with just the squash, Burrata, and accompaniments. But you could also include some crackers on the side and let people pile the goodies on top.
An Easy Fall-Themed Appetizer that’s Perfect for So Many Occasions
As I said, this appetizer was a big hit with members of my book club. And because you make everything ahead and serve at room temperature, it’s great when you need to bring a dish to an event rather than serve it immediately. I’m sure it will be my go-to recipe for holiday parties this year.
But, as I mentioned before, it would also be a perfect appetizer for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. You could even serve it as a first course if you plate it individually.
Split between my husband and me, it would be plenty for an autumn entrée. Since we’re trying to eat less meat as of late, this would be a great way to still get in some protein, deliciously. Add a green salad and a little bread and dinner is served!Print
- 1 medium Delicata squash.
- 1 T olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 8oz container of fresh Burrata cheese (2 balls)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 T brown sugar
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- 4–5 large leaves of fresh basil, sliced into thin ribbons
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Wash the skin of the squash. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out all the seeds and stringy membranes. Cut the prepared squash into halfmoon slices, about half and inch wide.
- Place the squash slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour on olive oil. Stir with spoon or rub with hands to coat each slice with oil. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper and place in oven. Roast for 20 minutes, then flip the slices and roast for an additional 15 minute. Remove baking sheet from oven and allow squash to cool.
- While the squash is roasting, make the balsamic reduction. Put the vinegar in a small, heavy bottomed pan (no lid) over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then immediate reduce heat and simmer until vinegar is reduced by about half, then stir in the brown sugar.
- Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is slightly syrupy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (You’ll end up with about 1/3 cup of balsamic reduction. Store any extra reduction in a covered container in the refrigerator.) Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.
- Remove Burrata from container and liquid. Place both balls of Burrata onto a serving platter. Arrange roasted squash around the cheese. Drizzle cheese and squash with as much of the balsamic reduction as desired, then sprinkle pomegranate arils and basil ribbons over all.
- Can be serve immediately or assembled up to 2 hours ahead of time, covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator, then allowed to come to room temperature before serving.