I have a confession to make. Last week, I came to a breaking point with my kids. And it wasn’t over sibling squabbles, dinners uneaten, or forgotten manners. It was all about bread.
Between the bagels for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pizza for dinner, I realized my kids were on a major carb overload (and that’s not even going into snack territory where crackers, granola bars and cheerios lurk in the shadows).
Now I know, it’s not the worst problem in the world, right? They’re pickier eaters and at least they’re eating something. But at my breaking point when this realization dawned on me, all I wanted was to make something for my kids’ breakfast (ANYTHING!), that wasn’t a relative of bread. Not even a third cousin twice removed.
So I grabbed the first vegetable I saw: a giant butternut squash that happened to be sitting on my counter, and began frantically slicing away. Determined not to put another toasted bread product in front of my now-starving kids, I popped 2 slices of the squash in the toaster and crossed my fingers.
A warm, naturally sweet piece of “toast” that was buttery soft on the inside, yet sturdy enough on the outside to hold their favorite toppings.
I quickly slathered a slice of my new creation with my daughter’s favorite, almond butter and bananas. I presented it to her without fanfare, and to my shock, she gobbled up the whole thing. The. Whole. Thing.
My son was next and for him I chose his ol’ standby, yogurt and berries. Intrigued by his sister’s inhalation, he soon tried a bite (ok, it was tiny, but it was a bite nonetheless), and his response: “Mmm, good” (with mouth full of another bite).
Seconds were ordered and Butternut Squash Toast was born.
Now don’t go thinking this is just for kids, it has become a regular part of my breakfast (topped with eggs and bacon), lunch (avocado and tomato) and sometimes even dinner repertoire as well (goodbye burger buns!).
It is so insanely easy, and provides you with Vitamins A, C and B6, plus potassium and magnesium. Plus it’s low-fat, low-cal, gluten-free, Paleo and Whole-30 compliant. Holla!
Test it out for yourself. We promise, you’ll be back to thank us.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR NEW FAVORITE “TOAST”
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SQUASH
A butternut squash is made up of 2 parts – the bulb, or base, of the squash where the seeds live, and the neck, which contains just the squash flesh. If you want the lovely round toasts pictured here, you’ll want to use only the neck, and save the bulb for roasting.
So when at the grocery store, look for a squash that has a longer, fatter neck, and a shorter bulb. I find ones where the neck is almost as wide as the bulb to be the easiest to work with.
2. CUT AND PEEL
Cut off the bulb (off with its head!), and the stem end of the neck. Now stand it up on its end and use a sharp knife to vertically slice off the peel. Try as you may to use a peeler, but it is hard work for the best of ’em, and will usually end up taking twice as long.
If your knife isn’t cutting it (literally!), and you’ve been looking for a beautiful piece to add to your kitchen, this stunning Okami 7″ Santoku Knife is the only one you need. I use it every day for almost every task, and it’s never let me down. And it cuts through this Butternut Squash like, well, butter.
3. SLICE INTO ROUNDS
Now you have a lovely peeled squash that you can lay down and start cutting (with that sharpened knife, these suckers can be tough) into ¼” rounds.
Note: As much as you will love these heavenly toasts, a whole Butternut Squash will make a lot of rounds. Luckily you can wrap up the ones you don’t use and keep them for 3-5 days in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer. So when your craving hits, they’ll be ready to go.
4. TOAST X2
Place the rounds into your toaster and turn the toastiness level as high as it can go. There will be a little trial and error based on your specific toaster, but you’re looking for the edges to turn brown and the middle to feel soft to the touch. I’ve tried it on several different toasters and have found that you usually need 2 rounds of max level to get the perfect b’nut toast. (yea, we’re on a nickname basis now).
And hey, if you’re in the market for a new toaster, I highly recommend this puppy: the Cuisinart Classic 4-Slice Toaster. It toasts evenly (no flipping required) and has dual controls – so if the hubby likes his b’nut a little bit toastier, there’s no need to jockey for position at the control dial.
Now for the fun part – toppings! Here’s where you can customize your toast to whatever your kids’ (or your) personal tastes may be. I’ve had huge hits with PB&J, Eggs & Ham, and mini personal pizzas. The ones pictured here feature:
- Avocado + Fresh Tomatoes + Salt/Pepper
- Tomato Sauce + Shredded Cheese + Basil
- Scrambled Eggs + Turkey Bacon
- Cream Cheese + Cucumber + Smoked Salmon + Dill
- Almond butter + Banana + Cinnamon
- Cottage Cheese + Peaches + Sliced Almonds + Honey
- Greek Yogurt + Berries
As I alluded to earlier, these also make a killer substitution for a burger bun.
This won’t be hard. Soon you’ll be calling it b’nut toast too.
Pin it for reference, and join us on Instagram @whatmomslove to share pics of your creations. We’d love to know what your favorite toppings are!