Butternut Squash Casserole with Kale is a family favorite in our house. Rich and hearty butternut squash with wilted kale and baked with a crunchy, cheesy topping. And also BACON!
Butternut Squash Casserole
I’m always looking for a new side dish. Most people have a hard time mixing it up with chicken or pork chops but I am worried about about what goes with it.
I love finding new ways to serve vegetable and new combinations.
I usually reserve my kale for smoothies or soups but it pairs so well with the butternut squash giving this casserole a sweet and savory flavor.
Butternut Squash – Use raw or frozen. You can also substitute sweet potatoes.
Kale – I like to buy my kale in bulk. Just be sure to chop in smaller pieces, massage the leaves if they are tough, and remove any thick stems.
Onion – One small sweet or white onion works best.
Panko – If you don’t have panko, you can use cracker crumbs, regular breadcrumbs, or even crushed pretzels.
Cheese – Parmesan adds a nice nutty flavor to the topping but you can use your favorite cheese!
Kitchen Staples – Olive oil, garlic, bacon, and butter.
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How to make Butternut Squash Casserole
First: Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium sized pot, oven medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
Second: Add the onion, garlic, and spices to bacon fat. Cook until starting to get tender. Add the kale and cook until lightly wilted. Remove the kale and onion mixture to a bowl.
Third: Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pot along with the butternut squash. Cook 5 minutes and lightly golden brown the outside of the squash and it starts to cook.
Fourth: Combine the cooked squash with the kale mixture. Spread into an even layer in a 9×13 oven safe casserole dish prepped with cooking spray.
Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. While the casserole is baking, mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Fifth: When the squash is tender, take the casserole out of the oven and remove the foil. Sprinkle the topping over the casserole.
Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the panko is crispy and lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cooked bacon, and enjoy warm.
For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
What flavors go well with butternut squash?
Because butternut squash is best in the fall so is considered a fall/winter vegetable, they are most often served around the holidays.
I am drawn to sage and thyme and other flavors that are associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. But really, it pairs well with sweet or savory flavors. Much like sweet potatoes!
Why is my Squash Casserole watery?
This usually only occurs with yellow or green zucchini squash as they contain so much water. Using fresh squash is much like potatoes in that they don’t release as much water when baking.
Can I make this ahead of time?
You can prep this ahead of time by roasting the butternut squash and wilting the kale. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Mix and top with crumb mixture and bake when ready. Just be sure to leave the topping off until after you do the initial baking.
How to Store
STORE: Leftover butternut squash casserole can be refrigerated for up to 5 days in an air tight container.
FREEZE: Wrap the fully baked casserole in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating
REHEAT: Reheat leftovers in a 350F oven until heated through.
Tips for No Leftovers
- You can substitute sweet potatoes for the butternut squash if you prefer.
- For a heartier casserole, add cooked ground beef, ground turkey, or pork sausage.
- Dice the squash in similar sizes so they squash cooks evenly.
- Use prepped squash (already peeled, diced) that you find in the produce section to save time.
- Buy fresh or raw kale. Be sure to chop the leaves into bite size sections and remove the thick stems.
- Substitute cracker crumbs or regular breadcrumbs instead of panko.
- Feel free to change the cheese from parmesan to Gruyere or even mozzarella.
- This casserole recipe is great for using up leftover roasted butternut squash.
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This butternut squash casserole recipe is easy to make and perfect for any time of the year! Mix it up with spinach or Brussels sprouts too.
- 4 slices bacon (diced)
- 1 medium onion (diced, approx 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 8 ounces fresh kale (chopped, thick stems removed)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large butternut squash (approx 2.5 pounds, peeled, seeded, diced)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 375F. Grab a large pot/dutch oven and place on the stove top over medium heat.
- Add the diced bacon and cook until bacon is crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the diced onion, garlic, thyme, and sage to the bacon fat.
- Cook until onion starts to get tender. Roughly 5 minutes.
- Add the kale and cook 5 minutes or until lightly wilted.
- Remove the kale and onion mixture to a bowl.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pot along with the cubed butternut squash.
- Cook for 5 minutes to lightly brown the outside and start to cook.
- Remove the squash and add to the kale mixture. Toss to combine.
- Spoon into a 9x13 oven safe baking dish. Spread into an even layer.
- Cover with foil and bake 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender.
- While the casserole is baking, combine the panko, parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl.
- Mix to coat the crumbs. Set aside.
- When the squash is tender, remove the dish from the oven.
- Remove the foil and sprinkle the panko mixture over the baked casserole.
- Bake in the oven 5-10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are toasted and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cooked bacon.
- Serve warm. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 219Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 430mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g
This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
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