Butternut Squash Cheeseball and a Holiday Cheese Board!
How I love you and your 90s vibes. 80s vibes? 70s vibes?! I don’t even know. I bet you’ll tell me.
We make the classic olive + cream cheese cheeseball for every holiday in our family and it tastes like HOME.
So naturally, I decided that I had to switch things up and put a little spin on the classic.
My mom is really wondering right now why I just can’t let things BE.
I mean, why can’t I? It’s a sickness.
My butternut cheeseball is full of the quintessential butternut fall flavors: brown butter, crispy sage and tons of parmesan. It might be the only cheeseball that I want to eat with a spoon and only a spoon. EVER.
It also should come as no surprise since the moment October (errr… September even) rolls around, butternut, brown butter, parmesan and sage starts coursing through my veins.
So! What kind of appetizers are you serving on Thursday? To be real, I’m allllll about the main meal, so I don’t go overboard on the snacks.
Wait. What I mean to say is that I don’t go overboard making multiple appetizers and instead go overboard on one large appetizer: the cheese plate.
I could eat this entire thing for dinner and not be mad about it. In fact, I have eaten this for dinner.
I hope this serves as some cheesy inspiration for your big meal. The cheeseball is fantastic in itself and doesn’t necessarily need all these snacks around it to shine. You could do the cheeseball and a few crackers and be good to go.
BUT. If you’re ever so inclined to drive your party hosting bus over the cheese board cliff and go a little nuts, I’m here for you! And I’m hungry.
- 1 cup cubed butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons brown butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 handful fresh sage
- 1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softned
- 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts, preferably toasted
- 1 block merlot soaked cheese
- 1 block sharp parmesan
- 1 chunk of honeycomb
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced hot capicola
- 1 cups kettle corn
- 1 cup marinated olives
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews
- 1/3 cup cranberry chutney or salsa
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seed salsa
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/2 cup walnuts suspended in honey
- 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
- 1/4 cup cornichons
- 4 rainbow carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 pears, thinly sliced
- 2 bunches red seedless grapes, pulled apart
- hard breadsticks
- whole grain crackers
- Place the squash cubes in a saucepan and fill it with cold water. Heat over high heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cubes are fork tender. Drain them well, removing all water.
- Heat the olive in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the fresh sage and cook about 1 minute per side, just until crisp. Remove it and place on a paper towel.
- In a food processor (or even a stand mixer!), combine the cooked butternut squash, the brown butter, crispy sage, cream cheese, parmesan, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Pulse until the cream cheese breaks down and the mixture starts to come together. You want it to be smooth – no cream cheese lumps! Once it’s smooth, scoop it out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form it into a ball and wrap it up tightly. Place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or even overnight!)
- After 30 minutes, place the chopped walnuts on a plate. Remove the cheeseball from the fridge and set it on the chopped walnuts. Coat the ball in the walnuts, pressing gently to adhere.
- At this point, you can serve the cheeseball immediately or set it back in the fridge until you’re ready to use!
- Throw it all on your board! The beauty is in the messiness.
P.S. you’re invited.