Recipe: Butternut Squash “Winter” Rolls with Spicy Cranberry Sauce

updated Jan 29, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Last week, we mentioned spring rolls as a possible holiday appetizer that can please a wide variety of eaters. But since spring is several cold and snowy months away (at least here in the Midwest), we thought we’d try a more seasonal variation.

We adapted this recipe from Recipe Girl’s Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls with Cranberry Chile Dipping Sauce, which was adapted from a recipe in Veganomnicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

We weren’t quite sure how much heat the serrano peppers would pack, so we were cautious and used only one for the sauce. It ended up being too mild for our tastes, hence the addition of Sriracha. It added a hint of garlic flavor, which we liked.

This recipe will leave you with leftover butternut squash. We recommend going ahead and roasting the extra squash with the sliced pieces for the rolls (Note: it will take longer if roasted in larger pieces, so keep an eye on your slices) and either turning it into another appetizer, like Elizabeth’s Butternut Squash and Parmesan Dip, or refrigerating it for a later meal, like Faith’s Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Pine Nuts.

Butternut Squash “Winter” Rolls with Spicy Cranberry Sauce
Makes 12 rolls

For the rolls:
1 small butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 oz rice noodles
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
12 rice paper wrappers

For the sauce:
1 cup whole, fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, or to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Slice squash into 12 strips that are approximately 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches long. Toss with olive oil and bake until softened, 20-25 minutes. (Remaining squash can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated or roasted and refrigerated.)

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.

Bring cranberries, water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and lime juice and simmer for another 10 minutes until sauce has reduced. Remove from heat. Add hot sauce if desired. Set aside.

Allow cooked squash to cool before handling. Assemble remaining roll ingredients and fill a wide, shallow bowl (or cake pan) with hot water to soften the wrappers. Dip a wrapper in the water for about 30 seconds before assembling each roll.

Lay the wrapper flat on your work surface. Spread about 2 tablespoons of noodles onto the wrapper. Top with a slice of squash, toward the center and then finish rolling toward you. Repeat for remaining rolls. Serve with dipping sauce.

If you’re not serving the rolls immediately, cover them with a damp paper towel until you’re ready to serve them. Rolls should not be made more than a couple of hours before serving as they tend to fall apart.

We served these rolls at a recent potluck dinner we hosted and didn’t have time to get a nice photo, but luckily one of our guests did. Thanks, Gemma!

(Image: Gemma Petrie, Pro Bono Baker, used with permission)