This Cheesy Layered Butternut Squash Casserole utilizes butternut “noodles” layered like lasagna, and a quick-cooking creamy white sauce for the ultimate vegetarian comfort food meal.
With comfort food season quickly winding down, I’m about ready to start diving headfirst into asparagus and artichoke, and don’t even get me started on how excited I am about fiddlehead ferns coming into season. But first, because around these parts we still get brisk evenings that warrant a comforting dinner, I’m indulging in a healthy winter squash casserole.
This dish is lasagna-like in its layers, but there isn’t a single noodle to be found. Vitamin C and fiber-packed butternut squash takes the place of regular noodles, and gets layered with a creamy white sauce that whips up quickly. I want to mention, the squash is briefly pre-cooked and don’t be tempted to skip this step because its purpose is two-fold: (1) it reduces the cooking time needed in the oven and (2) it ensures you don’t end up with a watery casserole.
Creamy white sauce takes the place of a classic béchamel in this recipe. Sautéed onions and garlic are the base of the sauce, providing great depth of flavor, and I used GO VEGGIE Vegan Classic Plain Cream Cheese for smooth, velvety texture. Fresh parsley brightens up the sauce, and a pinch of nutmeg enhances it perfectly. I like the texture of the onions, but if you want a completely smooth sauce you can give it a quick whir in a food processor or blender before stirring in the parsley.
I added GO VEGGIE Lactose and Soy Free White Cheddar Style Deli Slices for cheesy deliciousness, and there’s the added benefit that these flavorful slices have more calcium and less saturated fat than regular cheese. If you like a sprinkling of Parmesan on your lasagna, you can serve the casserole along with GO VEGGIE Vegan Parmesan Grated Topping.
If the weather is still a bit chilly in the evening in your neck of the woods, make this while you still can, and if not, bookmark it for next fall when cool temps roll around again!
- 1½ tablespoons light olive oil, plus more to oil the dish
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (8 oz/227 g) container GO VEGGIE Vegan Classic Plain Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup (120 ml) plain, unsweetened almond “milk” (or any kind of milk you like)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1 large (about 3 lbs/1.36 kg) butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and sliced into ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 (7.5 oz/213 g) package GO VEGGIE Lactose and Soy Free White Cheddar Style Deli Slices, each slice cut in half
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
- GO VEGGIE Vegan Parmesan Grated Topping, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375F; brush the inside of an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish with oil.
- Add the sliced butternut to a 5-quart pot and add water so the pot is ¾ full. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil 1 minute, 30 seconds, turning the heat down slightly so it doesn’t boil over. Turn off the heat and let the butternut sit in the hot water for 30 seconds, and then drain the squash well. Set aside for now.
- Meanwhile, make the creamy white sauce. To do so, heat the oil in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and starting to caramelize, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more, stirring constantly. Stir in the cream cheese, almond “milk”, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and then turn off the heat and stir in the parsley.
- To layer the lasagna, arrange slices of butternut in the bottom of the prepared dish in an even layer; spread on ⅓ of the white sauce and top with ⅓ of the sliced cheese. Repeat these layers 2 times. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon parsley on top.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake until bubbling throughout, about 1 hour.
- Serve hot, along with parmesan grated topping if desired.
Disclosure: I received the GO VEGGIE products that I used in this recipe for free, and I also received compensation for developing the recipe. I am happy for the opportunity to share brands that I believe in with my readers, and I hope you enjoy my recipe. As always, opinions stated are my own.