Dinner With My Family #32: Butternut Squash Casserole

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Each week, I’ll present a low-cost meal (or a meal that demonstrates a lot of options for cutting costs) that my family eats for dinner and enjoys. Many of the recipes will be vegan or vegetarian, with options to add other ingredients for non-vegetarians.

Right now, our garden is providing us with a small mountain of butternut squash. We have more of it than we know what to do with.

As a result, we’ve been eating a lot of it lately and experimenting with it in different ways. Of the things we’ve tried, this was the most enjoyable result for the time and extra money invested.

What You Need
The ingredients are pretty basic. All you need are these things (half of which came straight out of our garden):

Ingredients

You merely need bread crumbs (3/4 cup, separated into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup), a small yellow onion, one butternut squash (roughly 3-4 lbs. in size), 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, six ounces of crumbled blue cheese (the only remotely expensive part of this meal), and a tablespoon of minced fresh thyme (you can use dried if you have it). You will also want some sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste.

The Night Before (or Early That Day)
You can prepare the entire dish ahead of the time and keep it in the refrigerator, just adding perhaps five minutes to the total baking time below.

Barring that, there are two things I would do in advance. First, I would peel and cube the butternut squash into relatively small cubes, like these.

Cubed butternut squash

I would also chop the thyme if you’re using fresh thyme in the recipe.

Preparing the Meal
First, preheat the oven to 425 F. The prep won’t take long here, folks.

Toss together everything but the spare 1/4 cup of bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl until the squash is fully coated.

About to enter oven

Spread the mixture into a 9″ by 13″ baking dish, spread the remaining 1/4 cup bread crumbs on top, then bake for 40 minutes. Pull it out and you’re ready to eat!

Fresh out of the oven

We served the meal with a small spinach salad and a simple pressed sandwich.

Finished plate

Optional Ingredients
The easiest thing to substitute here is the cheese. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, you can use other similar soft cheeses such as feta. You can even experiment and use other cheeses like mozzarella if you so choose. As always, use what you have on hand instead of buying stuff.

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12 thoughts on “Dinner With My Family #32: Butternut Squash Casserole

  1. I make this all the time, but with feta. It’s very tasty. I’ve never thought to make it with mozzarella, but if you made it with some Daiya (which I highly recommend as a vegan cheese), then it would be vegan, AND tasty. :)

  2. You are soooo lucky! My butternut squash are about 2 inches long and we are going to have a hard freeze tonight..sigh. We try to grow it every year, but we have such a short season and it never matures on time.
    I buy a LOT of butternut squash at the store.

  3. Aside from being delicious in lots of different preparations, butternut squash keeps really well. I’ll buy 12-15 of these when they’re at their least expensive in the Fall, and use them through March or April. I keep them stored in a cool dry basement. (It’s important if you’re going to store them to get unblemished squashes with the stem still on.)

  4. We had a bumper crop of butternut squash this year, gave away several bushels to retirees and friends. you can use them lots of ways and they store excelant.

  5. If you can bake it until it is soft (cut in half first and sprinkle with a little olive oil before you roast it), then puree the insides. Make a roux and stir in your squash puree. Add a little cheese and you have squash mac n cheese sauce.

  6. Okay, so I’m normally not one of those readers who nitpicks your family’s eating habits, but you had a casserole and a sandwich for dinner? That seems like a bizarre combination to me. I mean, you be you… but that seems really bizarre.

  7. Butternut squash can be substituted for pumpkin in pies and we actually prefer the milder flavor. We have also cubed it and canned it in pint jars, which is just enough for one pie. Also use it in “sweet potato” casserole with good results.

  8. I just made this, early this morning, so I can enjoy it at lunch. I just sampled it and I can’t wait for lunch time. I threw in some broccoli for some added veggies. I will definately be making this more often. So yummy!!!!!!

  9. @Brittany, I think of the squash as a side dish. If there were eggs and milk or meat added, maybe I’d think it was heavy to have with a sandwich, but as is it’s fine. I’d even be tempted to make it with cheddar and put in some apple squares! With cinnamon! Mmmmm….

  10. I make a very similar dish to this. In fact my wife has asked me to make it for dinner tonight. I actually cook the squash first and mash it to make it a bit more conducive for small kids.

    Try adding a layer of cinnamon on top.

  11. I finally made this over the weekend. Oh my goodness. Yum. Yummy. Yummier. Yummiest.

    Thanks for all the great vegetarian recipes, Trent.

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