Naturally sweet squash blended with rich grass-fed butter, warming spices, vanilla, and a tangy swirl of sour cream, this simple side dish is perfect for a Thanksgiving banquet table. It is far from the overly-sugared version we grew up with, covered with corn-syrup mini marshmallows. Topped with gently sweetened pecans, this butternut bake is crispy on top and smooth in the middle. Scoop it onto plates for a side dish that can beautifully round out the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing fare.
This tummy-friendly casserole is a delicious and less-starchy version of candied yams or sweet potato casserole. Butternut squash is easier to digest, as well as providing many vitamins and nutrients during the wintertime when it is in season. I also took care to sweeten it just so, making the flavors enhanced by the honey instead of overpowering it.
Since half of my family is on the GAPS diet (buy the book Gut and Psychology Sundrome here), I am always scheming on ways to make conventional recipes into GAPS-legal versions that still deliver on flavor. GAPS foods exclude anything that is difficult to digest, which includes not only grains and sugar, but starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes. But lucky for me I have cauliflower “fauxtatoes” and butternut squash casserole to make this year. I am truly not deprived on the GAPS diet!
One more thing: I absolutely love my Emile Henry casserole pictured above. It is so gorgeous that I keep it on a silver shelf in my dining room when it isn’t being used. And when I do use it (which is a lot in the winter), I love everything about it: it has a nice heft to it, it cooks beautifully and evenly, and the glaze makes it extremely easy to clean. But the biggest reason I bought one was because it is completely lead-free.
Most of the casseroles you can buy at chain superstores or the grocery store, the ones that are typically easy to find, are only lead-free to a point. What they really are is “below the allowed lead amount”, which does not work for me. You can buy an Emile Henry casserole dish here. It replaces your larger pans around 9X13 or 10X14 inches size. And I am trying to get my hands on this mid-sized one which would replace my 8X8 square glass pan.
Butternut Squash “Sweet Potato” Casserole with Pecan Crunch
4 cups pureed butternut squash
1/3 cup honey, preferably local and raw (buy raw honey here)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, preferably grass-fed (find grass-fed dairy here)
4 eggs, preferably pastured
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (buy organic, non-irradiated spices here)
1/4 cup sour cream, preferably grass-fed (find grass-fed dairy here)
Pecan Crunch Topping:
1 cup almond flour (buy almond flour here)
1/2 cup honey (buy raw honey here)
1/2 cup butter (find grass-fed dairy here)
2 cups pecans, chopped, preferably soaked and dehydrated (buy nuts here) (see how to soak and dehydrate nuts here)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish (buy palm shortening here), and set aside.
- In a large bowl, puree butternut squash with honey, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon with an immersion blender. (You may also use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.) Add sour cream and mix in gently with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish.
- In another bowl, prepare topping: combine almond flour, honey and butter by either blending with a pastry blender or simply mashing with a fork. Add pecans and stir together until coated. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 60 minutes, or until the top is nicely browed and fragrant. Let cool slightly before serving.