Butternut Squash Tostada

Butternut SquashLast week I met my friend Susan in my old neighborhood. When we were trying to figure out a restaurant, she suggested Real Food Daily. The restaurant is literally a block and a half from my old condo so it was easy for me to find.

This is a true plant-based whole food diet restaurant! The menu is an intriguing mix of plant-based food (vegan), local and organic dishes. The thing I appreciated most about the menu was there was no guessing about content. The selections were all marked for easy reference:  Soy-Free, Gluten-Free and Nut Free. The only problem was making a decision. I am not used to having that many selections on a menu. As a vegetarian I usually have 3 or 4 choices so making a decision is simple.

After much discussion, we decided to get two entrees and share them. Mexican seemed like the way to go; so we ordered Mexico City Tacos and a Butternut Squash Quesadilla. I started with a salad which proved to be over-kill. The portions are very generous!

I was a little nervous about the Quesadilla, but the people sitting next to us raved about it, so we figured we would give it a try. All I can say – it was to DIE for!! The butternut squash adds an incredible creaminess and richness to the tortilla.

Of course, I came home and created my own version – this is my tostada version of the dish. It isn’t like what I ate there, but it is pretty damn good, even if I do say so.

Butternut Squash Tostada

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Take one butternut squash and cut in half. Scrape out seeds and place face up in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and salt
  3. Bake 1 hour
  4. While the squash is baking, caramelize 2 large onions
    • Peel and cut a 2 onions into slices
      or slice in food processor
    • Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan
    • Push the onion slices into rings as you put them in the frying pan
    • Stir the onions and add a little oil if needed
    • Add garlic to taste
    • Stir onions constantly until they are starting to get clear and the garlic is starting to brown
    • Cover the onions in water and add salt
      • OPTIONAL: use soy sauce instead of salt
    • Turn to medium and cook the water off; stirring often
  5. When the squash is cooked you will need to purée it by placing it in the food processor with:
    • 1/2 cup cashew cheese
    • 1 cup caramelized onions (about 1/3 of what you made above)
    • Salt to Taste
  6. Place a corn tortilla in a toaster oven or in a lightly oiled frying pan and eat until it is starting to get crispy
  7. Get your favorite green salsa ready use
  8. Remove the tortilla from the toaster oven (or pan) and created the tostada:
    • Cover the tortilla in the butternut/cashew cheese mixture
    • Add caramelized onions
    • Top with green salsa (I did not have any green salsa so I added some of my home-made pepper relish and that worked great!)
  9. Place back in toaster oven (or on frying pan) for a minute or two to finish crisping the tortilla and warming the ingredients
  10. Enjoy!!

If you have already baked the squash and if you have caramelized onions already made the prep time only take a couple of minutes.

So there is my homage to Real Food Daily.  It is probably a good thing I have moved so far away. If I still lived in my old condo I would certainly blow my monthly food budget. If you live on or visit Santa Monica, West Hollywood or Pasadena be sure to check them out.

About Genene Cote

Genene Coté -- Nutrition Advocate, Counselor and Coach who is also a Whole Food Plant Based Eater (vegetarian/vegan), cook and gardener.
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