With a crispy top, this Butternut Squash Gratin is packed with quinoa, red pepper, squash and gruyere. It makes a great vegetarian side dish or main dish. Perfect for the holidays and easily made ahead of time!
It’s here! The golden yellows of fall and that includes butternut squash. This fall gratin recipe is mixed with nutty quinoa – as a complete protein it’s a vegetarian’s best friend.
What’s a complete protein?
Let me answer with a tidbit of knowledge I picked up in my college nutrition courses. It means it has nine essential amino acids necessary in the human diet which non-vegetarians normally get from meat, eggs and poultry.
This dish is perfect for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. I seasoned it with fresh thyme from my garden and a hint of cayenne to balance out the sweetness of the butternut squash. Mixed with gruyere cheese for that comfort factor, then topped with fresh bread crumbs.
A TIP for fresh bread crumbs
Always keep those nubby end pieces from your bread loaves in a bag in the freezer. They will come in handy when you need a crispy topped anything. I used a whole grain english muffin. A store bought bag of bread crumbs just won’t cut it here because they’re too finely ground to get that crispy bite you crave.
This crispy Butternut Squash Gratin is worthy of your holiday table and simple enough to call comfort food on a chilly fall evening.
It’s easily made-ahead of time either in part or in whole. Whether you microwave it or pop it back in the oven, it’s great the next day. For the holiday table, I suggest prepping everything into the casserole dish except milk/spice mixture, cheese and bread crumbs. Then finish it off with those right before baking the dish the next day.
How to Make Butternut Squash Gratin
This easy vegetable gratin recipe starts by boiling quinoa and roasting butternut squash.
You’ll combine the two once cooked, add milk + cheese + spices.
Top with bread crumbs and bake to cripsy perfection!
With a crispy top, this Butternut Squash Gratin is packed with quinoa, red pepper, squash and gruyere. This easy butternut squash recipe makes a great vegetarian side dish or main dish. Perfect for the holidays and easily made ahead of time!
- 4 Tbs olive oil, divided
- 4 cups butternut squash, cubed (about 1 large squash)
- 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
- 6 large garlic cloves, quartered
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (or any fresh herbs you would like)
- 1 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (about 1 english muffin, or 2 large slices whole grain bread)
Rinse quinoa under cold water. Combine quinoa with 2 cups of water/broth and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a medium bowl, toss together butternut squash, diced red pepper, diced onion, quartered garlic cloves and 2 tablespoon of oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, onions should be starting to brown.
When the vegetables are roasted, mix them in a bowl with the cooked quinoa. Taste mixture for seasoning, add salt if needed.
Transfer the quinoa/veggie mixture to a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
Combine milk, half the cheese, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Pour over the quinoa. Stirring gently to incorporate. Top dish with remaining cheese.
Blitz your leftover bread in a Cuisinart until a mix of small/medium/large bread crumbs are formed. I do this even when the bread is still somewhat frozen. (You can use fresh bread too)
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the remaining herbs, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss with your fingers until the breadcrumbs are covered with oil and seasonings. Sprinkle evenly on top of the cheese and then with a couple pinches of Kosher salt.
Bake uncovered at 400°F. for 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown. Turn the oven temp up to 425 for the last 10 minutes if the top isn't browning yet.