This squash casserole takes butternut to the next level. Topped with cheese and crispy breadcrumbs, each mouthful boasts a rich flavor and contrasting textures.
We are huge fans of all kinds of squash but it seems not everyone is! If roasting butternut squash is the only thing you do with this delicious fall vegetable, then it’s high time you branched out. Therefore, this butternut squash casserole recipe will be a fall favorite.
Why you’ll love this recipe
The perfect fall recipe. Fall is the time to try out new butternut squash recipes.
Can be served as a main dish or side dish. The beauty of this dish is that it works as both a side dish or the main course it itself.
Easy to make ahead. Assemble this butternut squash over the weekend as a part of your meal prep and always have some on hand for quick weeknight meals.
Gluten-free. This squash casserole is a great recipe for those who stick to a gluten-free diet and can easily be made low carb.
This recipe is very simple and uses easy every day ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen at all times. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Butternut squash. Peeled and cubed.
- Onion. Sliced.
- Garlic. Minced.
- Frozen spinach. Thaw and squeeze dry before use.
- Heavy cream. To mix with the spinach and create a rich and creamy mouthfeel. Heavy cream also acts as a binder ingredient.
- Cheese. Freshly grated parmesan and gruyere.
- Bread crumbs. To create a golden crispy topping.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Butter. To grease the baking dish and cook the onion.
- Olive oil. To roast the squash.
- Fresh thyme. To serve.
How to make squash casserole
The secret to the creamy texture of this squash casserole is roasting the butternut first. Here are the step-by-step instructions for making this squash casserole.
Step 1- Roast the butternut squash
Start by cutting the butternut squash into cubes. In a mixing bowl, mix the cubes of squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer onto a large baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes until tender. Remove the squash from the oven and set it aside.
Step 2- Make the casserole base
Next, add a tablespoon of butter to a non-stick pan and place it over medium heat, then add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, before adding the garlic.
Now, drain the defrosted spinach to get rid of the excess liquid. Add the spinach to the pan and cook with onion and garlic for a few minutes. Start adding the heavy cream one tablespoon at a time and cook for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Once that is done, fold through the roasted squash.
Step 3- Prepare the breadcrumb topping
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with room-temperature butter and whisk well.
Step 4- Assemble the casserole and bake
Transfer the butternut squash mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle with grated gruyere and parmesan cheese. Give the casserole a light stir and add the breadcrumb topping.
Finally, bake the squash casserole for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Cut the butternut squash into even pieces so that they bake evenly. This ensures that the squash casserole is soft and tender throughout.
- Bake this butternut squash casserole in ramekins. Preparing the casserole in individual servings allows you to store them efficiently and reheat as many servings as needed at a time.
- Roast the butternut squash covered with foil. This makes the roasted squash extra tender and juicy.
- Roast an extra amount of butternut squash and save it for later. Roasted butternut squash lasts up to 5 days in the fridge and up to 9 months in the freezer. The casserole will come together a lot quicker next time you decide to make it.
The beauty of this casserole is just how easy it is to customize with other vegetables, spices, or even bacon! Here are some ideas:
- Add bacon. If you are the type of person who needs to have some kind of meat in their food at all times, add bacon to your squash casserole. Fry chopped bacon and mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Transfer everything to the baking dish and bake topped with cheese and breadcrumbs.
- Mix in some potatoes. If you are not a big fan of butternut squash but still want to have it in your fall diet, roast some potatoes and add them to the casserole mixture along with the roasted butternut squash.
- Use nutmeg. Nutmeg is one of those spices that everyone associates with fall. And it goes perfectly with butternut squash. Nutmeg will add warmth and delicious nutty and woody flavors to your butternut squash casserole.
To store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. The casserole will be good for 3 to 5 days.
To freeze: Place portions of the casserole in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to reheat casserole
- In the oven. The best way to reheat a casserole is by using the oven. Put the casserole leftovers into an oven-safe dish and reheat for 15-20 minutes covered with foil. Remove the foil and bake for a few more minutes to get the top crispy.
- In the microwave. The easiest and quickest way to reheat leftover squash casserole. Sprinkle the casserole with water to create steam. The only drawback of this reheating method is that it doesn’t bring back the crispiness of the breadcrumb topping.
- On the stove. Put the casserole in a pan and add a small amount of water to create steam. Cover and turn on the stove to medium heat.
More casserole recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
Pre-cook the butternut squash to prevent the casserole from getting watery. If you are using spinach, use frozen, thawed, and squeeze-dried spinach instead of fresh spinach. The latter releases a lot of water when cooked and can make the casserole soggy.
You can roast the butternut squash, assemble the casserole, and freeze it to bake later. Cover the casserole with food wrap and aluminum foil and freeze it for up to two weeks.
- 2 medium butternut squash peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup butter divided
- 2 large onions sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 18 ounces frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 1 cup gruyere cheese grated
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs * See notes
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add the cubed butternut squash, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix until fully combined.
Transfer onto a large baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Thaw the spinach then drain all excess liquid.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large non-stick pan and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Reduce the heat and add the thawed spinach. Cook for several minutes, before adding the heavy cream one tablespoon at a time. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, until it has thickened. Add the cooked butternut squash and gently mix until combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the butter with the panko bread crumbs.
Transfer everything into the baking dish. Sprinkle with the gruyere cheese and parmesan cheese. Mix until gently incorporated. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and melted.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 21g | Sodium: 544mg | Potassium: 1299mg | Fiber: 8g | Vitamin A: 37117IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 462mg | Iron: 4mg | NET CARBS: 31g