Winter Squash Casserole

Winter Squash Casserole

When we lived in Charleston, South Carolina, summer squash casserole was served as a staple side dish. This is a winter version from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt & Ted Lee. We ate it as a vegetarian entree with sautéed broccoli rabe (with garlic and red pepper flakes) on the side. The sweet, cheesy casserole had a nice balance with the salty, bitter greens. The cookbook authors suggest adding 1 pound of cut, seared, hot Italian sausage (with 2 1/2 pounds of squash) in step 3 to turn this dish into an entree.

  • 3 1/2 pounds winter squash, such as butternut, kabocha, or acorn, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch slices (about 6 cups)
  • 5 T unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, trimmed, peeled, and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup whole or low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade, toasted
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or pecans, toasted
  • 2 cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or a 4-quart casserole.
  2. Place 3 quarts water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the squash to the water, return to a boil, and cook for 6 minutes. The squash will turn a deeper orange. Drain it and set it aside.
  3. Melt the butter in the stockpot and add the oil. Add the onions and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent and limp, about 8 minutes, stirring to prevent browning. Add the warm squash and the buttermilk, eggs, thyme, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds, and 1 1/3 cups cheese. Blend with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds and 2/3 cup cheese over the casserole. Bake for 15 minutes more, or until the pumpkin seeds have turned chestnut brown and the cheese is bubbling and gently browning.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

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