Butternut Squash and Cilantro Pesto Bites

I purchased this cookbook at Winners because I loved the photography, and I'm always looking for good appetizer recipes. The original recipe used an arugula and hazelnut pesto but I thought some Southwestern zing would work well so I kept the concept but changed up the flavours.

The cilantro pesto recipe comes from my very awesome friend Cass. She typed it into the Notes app of my ipad during our last visit. Bye-bye to scribbling recipes on a scrap of paper! She uses this zippy condiment on everything from soups to corn on the cob to sandwiches.

Butternut Squash and Cilantro Pesto Bites

The Roasted Squash

20 - 1" cubes of butternut squash (I used a box of precut cubes from Costco)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
salt and pepper to generously season

 Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, cumin and chile powder. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the squash cubes to the bowl and toss to coat with the seasoned oil. Spread the squash cubes on the baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes until tender and slightly browned. You don't want to cook them to mush, they have to be firm enough to hold a toothpick. While the squash cubes are baking, make the pesto.
Roasting the squash

The Pesto

1 small bunch of cilantro, including stems
1 jalapeno (include the seeds if you want more heat)
1 clove garlic
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 - 1 lime (depends on how juicy it is)

salt and pepper to taste

Blend the cilantro, jalapeno, garlic and olive oil in a food processor until they reach a pesto texture. Add lime juice to taste. Keeps in the fridge for a week or more and it freezes well too.

To serve, place a small spoonful of the pesto on a cube of roasted squash and insert a toothpick to pick it up.


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