Rich, savory butternut squash casserole is begging to be part of your holiday dinner. Topped with buttery parmesan breadcrumbs, this mix of butternut squash, sautéed kale, and sweet Italian sausage says autumn in every bite. Make this cozy dish for Thanksgiving dinner or anytime you want to embrace the season.
What Makes This Casserole So Good
- Whether you serve it as a side dish or the main star, warm butternut squash is a perfect compliment to your autumn dinner table. It’s rich and buttery, savory and earthy, tender and crispy. Plus the colors are beautiful!
- It’s incredibly filling and nutritious. Butternut squash and kale are FULL of good-for-you nutrients. Vitamins, antioxidants, fiber – there’s so much here your body will love. The Italian sausage gives you a little extra protein, too.
- Prepping for the holiday? Chop all your produce the day before you plan to cook the casserole. I don’t recommend baking the dish in advance or toasting the breadcrumbs too early, but you can at least do the general prep the day before. For leftovers, just refrigerate them in an airtight container up to 5 days, and reheat them in the oven.
Sweet Italian Sausage – You could also use mild ground sausage or even ground chicken sausage if you prefer. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, use your favorite crumbled meat substitute, or skip the “meat” entirely.
Butternut Squash – A fave around here, butternut squash is an incredible blend of sweet and nutty. Besides making a butternut squash casserole, try using it in a butternut squash soup or just enjoy it all on its own.
Sage – Sage gives the casserole an herby, earthy flavor that honestly elevates the dish SO much. It’s a pretty distinct taste, so it works really well with the other strong flavors in this dish.
- Try to pack the casserole into as even a layer as you can. If you fill the dish unevenly, your butternut squash casserole won’t bake evenly, and the texture of the squash will be off.
- This is noted on the recipe card, but I’m repeating it here for emphasis. Halfway through the bake time, cover the casserole dish with foil so the breadcrumbs won’t burn or dry out! Be careful, too, that you don’t burn the breadcrumbs on the stovetop.
- If you tend to shy away from kale, don’t be turned off from this recipe. Sautéing the kale makes it nice and tender, and it takes away some of that bitter flavor you get from raw kale. Massaging the kale first will also help with the taste and texture, but you don’t really need to do that since you’ll be cooking it.
Be Sure to Try These Holiday Recipes
- Great Grandma’s Sausage Stuffing
- Cranberry Orange Relish
- Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Garlic Aioli
- Instant Pot Turkey Breast
- Easy Prime Rib with Au Jus Recipe and Perfect Creamy Horseradish Sauce
- Smoked Turkey and White Bean Soup
- Italian Breakfast Casserole (Whole30, Keto)
For the Casserole
For the Breadcrumb Topping
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ⅓ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon sage chopped
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Large skillet
- 2-quart baking dish
- Aluminum Foil
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Lightly grease baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage until browned and crumbled. Drain any liquid that's produced.
- Add olive oil to skillet with sausage, then stir in onion slices, cooking 2 to 3 minutes until onions are softened.
- Add sage, garlic, kale, and chicken stock to skillet. Sauté everything 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While sausage-kale mixture sautés, place butternut squash cubes in baking dish. Pour sausage-kale mixture over butternut squash and toss or stir everything together to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add 3 tablespoons butter to skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted and starts to bubble, stir in panko breadcrumbs and continue stirring until breadcrumbs are golden brown and lightly toasted.
- Remove skillet from heat and stir in parmesan, sage, salt, and pepper until cheese has melted and ingredients are well combined.
- Spread breadcrumb mixture over top of sausage-kale mixture in baking dish. Place in oven and bake approximately 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cover dish with foil so breadcrumbs don't burn, then return dish to oven and bake 20 more minutes, or until squash is tender. Serve warm.
- Make it Vegetarian: Use your favorite meat substitute instead of sausage (or skip the “meat” entirely) and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
- Make it Vegan: Use your favorite meat substitute instead of sausage (or skip the “meat” entirely), use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and use dairy-free butter and parmesan cheese.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.