Butternut Squash & Leek Savory Cheesecake
This Butternut Squash & Leek Savory Cheesecake is a showstopper vegetarian main entree for holiday entertaining or dinner party hosting. It’s rich and decadent (so. much. cheese.) while feeling festive (brown butter! sage! butternut squash!) and looks like a total showstopper on your table!Jump to Recipe
As a vegetarian who isn’t necessarily a big fan of fake meat (so no Tofurkey for me, thank you), I always roll my eyes at the same vegetarian Thanksgiving suggestions I see every year. The one I downright despise (and see over and over again every year) is the mushroom Wellington which is not only a huge hassle to make but always seems to get soggy by the time it’s served and the brownish filling never really looks exciting on the table. Pasta is another vegetarian standard that most people turn to (myself included) but this year I decided I wanted to create something that would feel totally different while being delicious. And so this Butternut Squash & Leek Savory Cheesecake was born. It’s rich and decadent (so. much. cheese.) while feeling festive (brown butter! sage! butternut squash!) and looks like a total showstopper on your table! And maybe the best part? It taste even better the day after it’s baked! This is because the chill time allows it to firm up a bit so you can make the cheesecake a day before and then just re-heat it and brown the butter right before serving.
When mixing the batter, I like to leave out a few of the vegetables so you can press them into the top for a pretty presentation. I also found that by leaving the leeks in rounds, they cooked more evenly and the rounds also looked very striking when pressed into the top. To really amp up the butternut squash flavor, I both roasted some squash and also added some canned puree (this is the brand I use but if you are having trouble finding canned butternut squash puree, you could also use canned pumpkin here). I also fold the veggies into the batter with a spatula instead of using the stand mixer because I like the additional texture the veggies bring to this dish.
Interested in serving this as an showstopper appetizer instead? Make it without the crust and serve with crackers.
Make ahead instructions: Make the entire cheesecake the day before and store covered in the fridge. When ready to serve, warm up in a 350 oven for 10 minutes and then make the brown butter walnut topping right before serving.
This Butternut Squash & Leek Savory Cheesecake is a showstopper vegetarian main entree for holiday entertaining or dinner party hosting.
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into 1 inch rounds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 1 Tbsp grated salty cheese (such as vegetarian Parmesan or Manchego)
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz ricotta
- 1/4 cup canned butternut squash puree (pumpkin puree also works)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
- 10 fresh sage leaves
- 1 tsp champagne vinegar (rice vinegar or another mild vinegar also works here)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Toss the butternut squash with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
Toss the leeks with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and a few fresh grounds of pepper. After 15 minutes of the butternut squash roasting, add leeks to the baking sheet and roast the leeks (along with the butternut squash) for 20 to 25 minutes or until the leeks brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Lower the oven temperature to 350.
While the veggies are roasting, toss together the breadcrumbs, sage, cheese, salt, and a few grounds of black pepper. Pour the melted butter into the mixture and mix until the whole dough is moist. Transfer to a 9 inch springform pan and press the mixture into the bottom until the bottom is completely covered and the breadcrumbs are firmly in place. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk together the cream cheese, ricotta, and butternut squash puree until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time and beating on medium speed between each addition, until incorporated. Add the garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and whisk on medium until combined, another 10 seconds. Fold the slightly cooled roasted butternut squash cubes and 2/3s of the leeks into the mixture using a spatula.
Pour the filling over the prepared crust and smooth out with a spatula. Place the remaining leeks on top of the filling and press them down into the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the center has mostly firmed up (should only slightly jiggle). Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Serve once cooled or cover and let firm up in the fridge overnight.
When ready to serve, brown 1 1/2 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts and sage. Let cool for 2 minutes and then add in the vinegar. Drizzle over the cheesecake, slice the cheesecake, and serve.
Interested in more Thanksgiving vegetarian recipes? Make sure to check out my round-up of 25 of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes HERE!
Make sure to tag Vegetarian ‘Ventures on Instagram and use #vegetarianventures when trying this dish out!