Sunday, November 13, 2011

Make this casserole! I said do it now!

Butternut Squash, how I love thee.... Let me eat you all the ways.
Casserole. What a great word, I feel happy just saying it. Cass-e-role! Like I'm on-a-role, with Casseroles. What's a shame about casseroles is they are often associated with lots of butter, whole milk and cheese. I know there are healthy casseroles out there, so I'm making it my goal to find some. I love making a dish on Sunday night then having leftovers for lunch the following day, which is when a good casserole comes in handy.
I found this genius recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook aka what I'm snuggling with when Healthy Boyfriend is away. Pretty much everything appealed to me about this recipe. Seasonal ingredients, using yogurt and feta (instead of whole milk or cheddar like many casseroles) and quick preparation time. The squash, onions, garlic, pepper, and eggs were all local which means the dish was pretty darn friendly to the environment. Good for our bodies too!

I made this Saturday night, Healthy Boyfriend and I played Mankala and sung songs while he strummed his guitar. That's us, party animals. Once we finally finished dinner, he made sure to mention how much he enjoyed this casserole. Being someone who usually does not enjoy casseroles he was thrilled by how this one turned out. I thanked him for the compliment, but I had figured out how much he loved it as he went back for fourths.
This casserole is fantastic in its simplicity. What shines through are the natural flavors of the vegetables. The yogurt and egg hold it together and add a creaminess, but mostly you taste squash, onion, and peppers which is delightful. As I've mentioned red peppers and I are not on the best of terms, usually I flat out avoid cooking with them, but I gobbled them up in this dish. There was just enough to give a nice heat, but the red peppers didn't overpower the dish. As far as the topping, I didn't have nuts or sunflower seeds so I just roughly chopped plain sesame sticks which worked great. Really anything crunchy will do, just use what you have laying around.
I will definitely be playing with variations on this basic dish, so stay tuned. And make this casserole, it's just too good to miss.
Arabian Squash Cheese Casserole

Sautéing your vegetables
Throw everything in a bowl, mix, then cook! 
The Goods: 4-5 Servings
2 medium-large butternut or acorn squash
1 heaping cup onions, chopped
1 heaping cup red and green peppers, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup greek yogurt or buttermilk
1 cup plain feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tsp salt, more to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Hot sauce (optional)

1/2 cup Sesame sticks or Sunflower seeds or Nuts, chopped

The Deal:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut both squash down the middle lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place face down on a oiled cookie sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes or until soft. Remove and let cook until handle-able. Scoop out flesh and mash.

Cooking Tip: I did most of my prep work while the squash was cooking.

2. Saute onions and garlic in butter and salt in a large saute pan on medium heat. When onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes, add peppers. Saute peppers until just under done, about 5-7 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl beat eggs with the yogurt or buttermilk. Crumble in the feta and mix well. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until evenly combined. Add additional salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.

4. Spread into a buttered cassarole dish and sprinkle crunchy topping of your choice evenly over the top. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes, just until the edges begin to bubble. Serve warm!


  1. This looks really interesting! It vaguely reminds me of a dish I make called locro, which is made with butternut squash, peas, corn, onion, and FETA too. Squash and feta is such a fabulous combo, isn't it?

  2. Absolutely! Though I think I could eat butternut squash with anything. I think squash makes a great base for a casserole, what a versatile vegetable :) I've never heard of Locro, but the ingredients sound yummy! Ill have to check it out.