Butternut Squash Gratin: A New Family Favorite Side Dish

Today’s post is going to be brief! There’s been a line-up of epic posts recently – all good things mind you, but it’s time for something short and sweet.

This butternut squash gratin is just that: uncomplicated, yet sophisticated in an understated way. We enjoyed it as one of our side dishes this past weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving, and here’s the crazy part: my kids ate it and asked for seconds. I know !

It’s not much to look at, but this autumnal casserole was the only dish that got completely polished off during our Thanksgiving feast. The squash! Talk about a testament to how good this gratin really is when it goes up against the likes of perfect mashed potatoes and wins.

No one turned down the gratin and it wasn’t just the children who were having seconds.

What’s the appeal?

From the diner’s perspective, it is light and fluffy, admittedly an admirable quality in a holiday meal, and the Parmesan seems to mellow out the strong ‘squashy’ flavor that seems to repel most kids, mine included. The early autumnal flavor of the butternut does come through, don’t get me wrong, but in the very best of ways.

From the cook’s viewpoint, this gratin is quick and easy, requires only basic pantry ingredients, and lends itself well to planning ahead. The squash can be chopped, cooked, cooled and stored the day before, leaving only assembly and baking on the big day. Alternatively, the gratin can be assembled in full, partially baked, cooled and stored; then 20 minutes before dinner, pop it in the oven to warm through and melt the cheese.

Butternut Squash Gratin

  • 3 cups butternut squash, in ¾ inch chunks
  • 1 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons mayo
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan, grated (or strong cheddar)
  • 1/3 cup Panko (or breadcrumbs)
  • Pepper to taste
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch baking dish, round or square.
  2. In a medium pot, cover squash with cold water, place a lid on top and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, reduce heat so that the water just simmers and cook squash for about 15 min. or until tender. Rinse under cold water; drain. (Do-Ahead: at this point the squash can be stored for up to two days until you are ready to assemble the gratin.)
  3. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan and add onions. Sauté on medium heat, stirring often, until softened. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat egg, salt and mayonnaise together. Add 1/3 cup of Parmesan, panko, sautéed onion and squash and fold together gently to combine. Season with pepper and more salt, if needed.
  5. Spoon in to prepared baking dish and top with remaining 1/3 cup of cheese. Bake 1 hour or until heated through and cheese is slightly browned. Serve hot.

Recipe serves up to 8 people.

[print_link]

Do-Ahead: Remove gratin from oven after 30 minutes and cool completely. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day. To serve: remove plastic wrap and place in hot oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Is winter squash a favorite at your dinner table?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. I made this for dinner today… I liked it… next time I would add more butternut squash and less bread crumbs. Maybe also cook the butternut squash a little less since in softens in the oven.
    GREAT BLOG I LOVE IT!

  2. Made this last night and it was delicious, thanks for the recipe!!

  3. I am curious what the purpose of the bread crumbs are? My family is gluten free and I love the idea of this recipe so I would love to adapt it to our gluten free lifestyle and would love to know your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!!

    • The combination of egg and bread crumbs binds the dish together and gives it a lovely, fluffy texture.

      I’m not a GF expert, so I can’t tell you exactly what to sub, but let me think on it. perhaps ground almonds…

    • They make Gluten Free Rice Krispies which may be a good substitution for Panko

    • I know this comment is two years old BUT, just in case someone else stumbles on this recipe and checks the comments for a substitute for Panko, I’ve used plain pork rinds ground up in place of bread crumbs many times and it turns out well. I’m going to give it a try with this recipe as well.

  4. I made a double batch and shared one with my neighbor, if I’d have tried it before sharing, she probably wouldn’t have gotten my 2nd batch! I absolutely loved it, including my kids and husband who needless to say aren’t big squash eaters. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Sounds so good…. Can this be made and frozen about 2 weeks ahead?

  6. The print link on this page does not seem to work.

  7. Do you have any suggestions for subs on the mayo? Maybe Greek yogurt….?

    I really want to try this recipe out. It sounds delicious!

  8. Is it really grated Parmesan? It looks shredded in the picture.
    Thanks! Can’t wait to try this.

  9. This recipe is fantastic! I made it for Thanksgiving dinner last night and it was a huge hit. I substituted Veganaise for mayo, mixed onions and shallots, and doubled to recipe for 12 adults (I don’t think this actually yields enough for 8 decent-sized servings, but a double batch was perfect for everyone to have a helping, plus some leftovers). I will definitely be making again, and this is my new go-to recipe for Thanksgiving gatherings!
    Natalie Gonzalez’s last post: Foodies looooove Thanksgiving

  10. Made this dish last night, it was a huge hit! Everybody loved it. The bulk of the dinner came from your recipes, the turkey, the stuffing, the gravy.Thank you so much.

  11. THIS is dinner tomorrow, thanks for the recipe!!!
    Jovita’s last post: Yes, we are alive *and* well …

  12. We made this for our Thanksgiving dinner, and there’s not a bit of it leftover! Thanks for a great recipe; next time (and there will definitely be a next time!) I will double the recipe.

  13. CAn you use Frozen Butternut Squash and if so – do you need to cook it first before putting in this recipe? Sorry if that seems like a dumb question – please let me know your advice!!

  14. Hi, I want to try making this and add ground turkey. Do you think this would work?

  15. Can the squash be baked to preserve the nutrients that are typically leaked out when veggies are boiled? I have made this once already and it is delicious!!

  16. Made this last night and it was sooo tasty! I added a little bit of allspice, which was nice. My only complaint was that it was gone too fast. I should have made more!

  17. Do you use plain or seasoned panko ?
    Is it grated or shredded parm chess?
    Thanks!!!!! Making tonight for Thanksgiving:)

  18. I’m trying this out today. It’s my secret weapon dish! Lol! I just wanted to let everyone know that marketside (Walmart) makes bagged cubed butternut squash. You can cook it in the bag in the microwave. I eat it all the time and it’s delicious.

  19. I know this is an old post but I just discovered it and can’t wait to try the recipes. Question about the squash – do you peel it? It looks peeled. When does that happen? I’m not exactly sure how to “deal” with squash as I’ve only made spaghetti squash before.

    • Good question. Yes the squash is peeled – do it first thing! You can use a knife or a heavy duty peeler.

      You’re going to love this gratin! Happy Thanksgiving.

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