Monday, October 3, 2011

Meatless Monday and Butternut Squash Casserole

I really love exploring different options for Meatless Mondays and today I settled on a butternut squash casserole. It incorporated a lot of my favorite ingredients like butternut squash, fresh spinach, buttermilk, an egg, some fresh thyme, fresh breadcrumbs, cheddar cheese and pumpkin seeds (I always buy pepitas which are the edidble seeds of the pumpkin). This casserole started by parboiling the butternut squash slices and adding the fresh spinach for the last couple of minutes.

A chopped onion was sauteed in a mixture of butter and olive oil until softened and the remainder of the ingredients were combined in the same pot.

The entire mixture was poured into a casserole dish and baked for 45 minutes. I then topped the casserole with some more breadcrumbs, cheese and pepitas and baked for another 15 minutes. It turned out beautifully!

I am looking forward to making this again.

Adapted from the Ezra Pound Cake website
Butternut Squash Casserole - Serve 4-5

1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch thick slices (about 3 cups)
2-3 large handfuls of fresh spinach (washed, stemmed and roughly chopped)
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the casserole
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 cup breadcrumbs toasted, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons pepitas or pecans, toasted
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese, (about 3 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8x8-inch baking dish or 2-quart casserole.

Place 2 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 4 minutes. The squash will turn a deeper orange color. Add the chopped spinach to the pot with the squash for 2 more minutes. Drain both and set aside.

Melt the butter in the same 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 spinach, the buttermilk, eggs, thyme, half of the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and half of the cheese. Blend with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients are well combined.

Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, pumpkin seeds and cheese. Bake 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Our rating for this meatless Monday casserole:

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