Butternut Squash Gratin
This butternut squash gratin is an easy side dish that can be made with fresh or frozen squash. A perfect addition to your holiday side dishes, this recipe will become a family favorite.
Butternut squash is a very nutrient-dense vegetable, meaning it packs a lot of nutritional punch in each serving, for a relatively small amount of calories. It’s an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, and full of the antioxidants known as carotenoids. Carotenoids are fat-soluble compounds, meaning that they are best absorbed and used by your body when there is some fat with the meal, such as olive oil or egg, both present in this recipe. Carotenoids are known for their role in helping to reduce inflammation and in the prevention of specific cancers. Vitamin A, for instance, has been studied for its role in reducing risk of skin cancer, and vitamin C, in lung cancer. If you’re concerned about the high sodium value in the nutritional information, you can lessen it by omitting the salt from the recipe, but know that much of it also comes from the addition of Parmesan cheese. Consider substituting nutritional yeast for the Parmesan, which has a similar flavor but none of the sodium.
- 1 medium butternut squash or 3 cups frozen butternut squash
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 grated Parmesan cheese
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9- x 6-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
If using fresh squash: With a heavy knife, slice the top and bottom off of squash and discard. Slice the squash in half horizontally. On a cutting board, stand half the squash upright, either cut side down. Slice skin off starting from top and cutting straight down the squash. Rotate squash clockwise and repeat, until all skin is peeled. With a large spoon, scoop out seeds and discard. Repeat with other half of squash.
Chop peeled squash into 1-inch chunks. Transfer squash to a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on high for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.
Alternatively, if using frozen chopped squash, cook the frozen squash according to the package directions.
In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat egg and salt together. Add 1/3 cup of Parmesan, the sautéed onion and cooked squash and fold together gently to combine. Season with black pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, mix panko bread crumbs with remaining 1/3 cup of cheese. Spoon squash mixture into prepared baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake for 1 hour, or until heated through and cheese is slightly browned. Serve hot.
Yield: 6 servings
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
* Nutritional information is based on ingredients listed and serving size; any additions or substitutions to ingredients may alter the recipe’s nutritional content
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