Cozy crumbles are said to be the comfort food of the season, but they don’t always have to be sweet. Here’s my savory twist on the more common sweet crumble (or crisp) using one of my favorite Fall and Winter vegetables, butternut squash. This season I’ve had fun using it in a variety of non-traditional ways.
I like butternut squash because it’s tender, nutty, sweet and has a balanced flavor to it, but feel free to play around with this recipe using other varieties of squash—pumpkin or acorn squash are great alternatives. In this vegan, plant-based, herb-flecked crumble, butternut squash is cooked with a few simple spices and stewed in coconut milk. For a lighter version you can easily swap the coconut milk for vegetable stock. The sage-scented topping is made with nutty spelt flour, bread crumbs, walnuts, almonds, and pecans, but there’s no reason why you can’t stick with one nut or try other nuts, flours and grains. You could also try more traditional spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves…, you see where I’m going. The recipe is adaptable. Have fun with it. Happy Holidays!
Butternut Squash Crumble
1-3 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil, divided
1/2 red onion (about 1/2 cup), diced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 teaspoon, fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons, fresh sage leaves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
5-6 tablespoons vegan butter or coconut oil, chilled (I used Earth Balance)
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with oil and set aside.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions, then ginger and cook for a minute or two. Add butternut squash, thyme, salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook until squash softens and begins to brown a bit.
Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. Combine nuts, flour, breadcrumbs, sage leaves, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are broken into small pieces. Add butter and puts until the mixture no longer looks like sand and starts to clump together a little. Don’t pulse too long, you don’t want a paste. It should remain crumbly. Set aside.
Add coconut milk to squash and cook until it reduces, slightly. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. You really want it to be flavorful at this point so make sure the seasoning is right. You can even add a little more ginger at this point, if you prefer. Remove from heat, add chopped parsley and stir. Transfer butternut squash to prepared baking dish. Cover the squash evenly with the crumble topping and bake until squash is tender and the topping is golden about 40 to 50 minutes.