Don’t laugh cold weather folks, but by my mild Los Angeles weather radar, it’s been flipping freezing out here. Last week the weather dipped down to almost 40ºF and I was layered in so many clothes, Todd couldn’t even recognize who he was sleeping with. Yes, I take all my fleece layers to bed because if I can’t stay warm sleeping, no one sleeps! Even our warm weather dogs were shivering from cold weather anxiety and any loving pet owner, like me, would dress them in a warm doggie fleece jacket. Oh, they look so warm and cute.
Being as cold as it has been, it’s time to turn on the oven and make casseroles. Lately, we’ve been eating a lot of rich, creamy casseroles and I’ve been wanting something lighter, cleaner, but still warm and comforting. Just as I was thinking that, I found a cookbook by Terry Walters called Clean Food: A seasonal guide to eating close to the source. It had the perfect butternut squash casserole recipe that I was looking for.
In fact, the whole cookbook offers fabulous recipes for throughout the year and almost every recipe is simple, accessible and brilliantly seasonal. For anyone looking to immerse themselves in the best recipes of the season, this book has a marvelous breakdown for healthy Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter recipes. Everything in the book is fresh, vegetarian and brimming with great ideas dealing with what to cook for your season’s produce. Even though the book is void of photos, I didn’t need any visual references to be convinced that the book and recipes are fantastic. By now in reading the ingredients and technique we’ll know about what the recipe will taste like, and this book nails the recipes.
Terry’s butternut squash casserole recipe is sweetened with apple juice and maple syrup, natural sweetening ingredients that I’ve been wanting to incorporate more into my cooking. I loved the fact that with only a few fresh ingredients, this butternut squash casserole is still satisfying, without being hidden in heavy creams or rich cheese. In this casserole recipe, the butternut squash is highlighted and then I added some sliced apples in the casserole for a little more texture. Why not? The recipe already has apple juice and adding some extra slices of baked apples was just perfect, clean, bright and still warm and satisfying.
This butternut squash casserole worthy of being described as clean. It’s pure squash delight with sweet, baked apples and the perfect break that I need for all the gluttonous eating this holiday season.
More Butternut Squash Recipes
Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole Recipe
adapted from Clean Food by Terry Walters
This butternut squash recipe is really light and flavorful, very little oil is used. The juice of the baked apples will release will release while baking. If the squash on the top of the casserole begins to dry out, just gently stir the casserole to evenly coat the squash during mid-bake. The natural juices will help the squash cook.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 apple, sliced thinly
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup apple cider or juice
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup crushed pecans, or 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds (the original recipe called for almonds)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
2. Combine squash, apples and onions in a large bowl.
3. In small bowl, whisk together apple cider/juice, oil and syrup. (I also infused some sliced onions in this juice). Pour half the mixture into the apples and squash, combine well.
4. In baking dish, pour in squash and apple combination. Pour rest of mixture over the squash, top with almonds.
5. Cover with foil and bake for 45 min. to 1 hour or until tender. Serves 4-6.