Oh, casseroles. Long gone are the days where “casserole” meant unappetizing. Fast forward to today, and casseroles can be stand alone stars, healthy, crowd pleasers, and perfect for busy families on the go. This Cheesy Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole is one of the best casseroles I’ve ever had. It pairs nicely with roasted chicken, topped with pan seared, and buttery scallops, or good all on its own.
“I’ve been thinking about this casserole all day” – Andrew. But I had been, too. It’s that good.
As you can see, I shot this as leftovers. What’s great about this is that it conveys a feeling of sharing and also that the casserole is still delicious the next day. The topping was still crunchy; the butternut and zucchini were still perfect on the inside.
Ok, lets talk food details.
I like to prep as much as I can before the actual cooking process starts. While the oven is preheating, I shred the Gruyère, chop the herbs, mix together my bread topping, and set it aside. This way, the casserole is ready to be topped with all the cheesy, herby, bready goodness once it comes out of the oven the first time.
Prepping the butternut squash really only takes about 20 minutes and is the most labor intensive part. Peeling, seeding and cubbing the butternut squash may seem daunting, but it’s quite easy once you get the hang of it (here is an easy how-to guide if you’d like to see some visuals). You can always used pre-cut butternut squash from the produce department if you’re in a pinch, but you’ll save money doing it yourself. This recipe also works with Sweet Potatoes instead of butternut – they work just as well.
After sautéing the onion and garlic, add the butternut and zucchini to the pan. Sautéing the butternut and zucchini with the onion/garlic mixture allows for the squash to pick up on any of the flavors already produced, adding depth & complexity to the dish. You know what I’m talking about – the way food warms the soul type complexity.
Place the vegetable mixture in a buttered casserole dish. The rest of the dish is healthy, so a little butter definitely doesn’t hurt. If you’re still wanting to omit the butter, grease up the casserole dish with a teaspoon coconut oil or ghee. I love how the butter adds more subtle flavor while helping the sides of the casserole get nice and golden brown.
There are sooo many ways to go about making the bread topping. You can use flaky baguettes made into crumbs in the food processor, an assortment of different cheeses – parmesan, goat cheese, even a sharp cheddar would be lovely. Panko adds the connivence of already being crumb form, it’s light, and crisps up well.
Heading to a party or off to your family’s house for the holidays? This casserole can be prepped the day before and popped into the oven before the gathering. That’s the beauty of casseroles.
I want to give a shout out to Sarah Waldman for yet again inspiring me to make healthy dishes for my family. This recipe is adapted from her Feeding a Family cookbook. I recommend her book to almost everyone who’s asking for easy recipes and helpful tips to get food on the table.
I hope everyone is having a lovely week!
Cheesy Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole
Lightly adapted from Sarah Waldman's Feeding a Family cookbook.
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, about 3/4 cup
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 cups Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 3 tsp fresh Rosemary, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 and butter your casserole dish.
Cheesy Bread Crumble Topping
In a small bowl, mix together the Gruyère cheese, panko, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic, and sauté until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add the butternut squash and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes more.
Place the mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Pour the broth over the squash and zucchini mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and increase temperature to 400.
Remove foil and sprinkle on the cheesy bread crumble topping, making sure to cover entire casserole.
Return the casserole to the oven and continue to roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
Remove and let set for 10 - 15 minutes.
Serve & enjoy!