For a number of years around Thanksgiving time, I ran an annual teacher appreciation luncheon at our middle school with two other moms. Along with an army of volunteers, we would prepare a complete Thanksgiving spread for the entire school’s faculty with turkey and all the trimmings. One of the most popular dishes was a Butternut Squash Casserole. The tradition started after someone brought this casserole to one of the lunches. Everyone enjoyed it so much (people were scraping the pan!) we added it to the Thanksgiving menu the following year, making it in mass quantities so everyone could get a scoop.
I haven’t made that butternut squash casserole in a couple of years, but when I came across Paula Deen’s Butternut Squash Casserole recipe recently, I was reminded of this popular Thanksgiving dish. Her rendition of this dish was more on the savory side, not cloyingly sweet like the one I remember. What surprised me the most about this recipe was that it didn’t have any butter in it…or cream – what happened Paula? Anyone who watches Paula Deen knows how she just loves butter. I think I even saw her deep fry butter balls one time. Yikes!
I haven’t watched Paula Deen on Food Network in a while, but I remember what caught my eye — her infectious smile, southern drawl, and playful sense of humor. Today, a group of bloggers is celebrating Paula Deen as one of the 50 Women Game Changers In Food.
As a single mom raising two boys with barely any money, Paula Deen started a lunch delivery service to businesses called The Bag Lady. Soon, her cooking became so well known in the community, that she opened her first restaurant in 1990, called The Lady and Sons. Today, Paula is the host of three popular Food Network shows, and the author of four cookbooks. She also has her own line of cookware, knives and pantry items. Now that is truly a self-made success story, which is why I think she made the list for 50 Women Game Changers In Food.
I made this recipe with cranberries and unsweetened coconut on top (Paula uses raisins and sweetened coconut). Although the toppings were pretty, I would have preferred this without the extras on top (I like the pure creaminess of mashed butternut squash), and perhaps with a bit of maple syrup mixed in (to round out the flavors). If you’re looking for an alternative to sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, give this Butternut Squash Casserole a whirl. Just adjust it to your taste (if you like it more savory, the recipe as written is fine). If you’re used to a sweeter casserole, add a little maple syrup.
Butternut Squash Casserole Recipe
- 3 small or 1 large butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.
In a large pot, combine squash and onion; add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until squash is tender; drain well. Spoon squash mixture into a a food processor bowl.
Add eggs, milk, curry powder, salt, and pepper to squash. Process until smooth.
Spoon into prepared baking dish; sprinkle evenly with raisins and coconut. Bake 40 minutes or until center is set.
If you’re interested in joining our group as we cook our way through this list of 50 influential women in food, just ask Mary from One Perfect Bite.
Please stop by and take a look at what the rest of the group made this week in celebration of Paula Deen:
Annie from Most Lovely Things
Linda from There and Back Again
Val from More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne from Eats Well with Others
Taryn from Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan from The Spice Garden
Heather from girlichef
Miranda from Mangoes and Chutney
Katie from Making Michael Poland Proud
Mary from One Perfect Bite
Sue from The View from The Great Island
Barbara from Movable Feasts
Nancy from Picadillo
Kathleen from Bake Away With Me
Veronica from My Catholic Kitchen
Mireya of My Healthy Eating Habits
I would never have thought of butternut squash for a casserole. This sounds awesome. I just made butternut squash gnocchi last night and it is one of my favorites from the squash family. I too like it with more sweetness, so I always throw in a bit of brown sugar even in a savory recipe. I agree with you on the maple syrup, that would be a fabulous addition.
Hi Miranda – when I first tried butternut squash casserole a few years back, I was surprised by how much I liked the creamy consistency. I do like it with a little sweetness…maybe I’ll change my mind over time and enjoy it more savory. Your butternut squash gnocchi sounds wonderful.
This is one of those comfort foods that epitomizes what Paula is all about.
I couldn’t agree more – Paula is all about comfort food! I was just surprised that she had a recipe that didn’t have any butter in it 😉
Sue/the view from great island says
This is such a better alternative to those marshmallowed yams! —Did she really deep fry butter? I wish I’d seen that!
This sounds delicious, and I love the idea of the maple syrup. Yum!
juniakk @ mis pensamientos says
i had no idea that’s how paula’s restaurant started! wow. butternut casserole sounds delicious, never thought about making one nor have heard of it until now. is this on your thanksgiving menu? 🙂
Pretend Chef says
This looks so delicious. Yummy!
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
You’re right — where’s the butter? I tend to stay away from her recipes because they are mostly not, shall we say, on the light side. But this one looks delicious. I’d leave off the coconut, too, and maybe sprinkle on some panko if I didn’t need it to be gluten-free.
Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits says
Butternut squash casserole sound very tempting. It really sounds very good with the coconut milk and coconut on top. Did she use coconut milk in the original recipe?
Paula’s recipe did use coconut milk, and no butter which was a huge surprise. I did use light coconut milk to make it a little lower in fat.
Your recipe choice is perfect for the season and worthy of the Thankgiving table. It sounds delicious and you’ve made me want to give it a try. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary
Thanks Mary – and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Thanks once again for hosting this weekly event!
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
wow love this! Have a great weekend
This looks absolutely lovely! Perfect for the Thanksgiving table! You’re right about the butter and cream in Paula’s cooking…deep fried Twinkies are part of the buffet at her restaurant! Happy Thanksgiving!
Heather @girlichef says
I do love the look of it with the toppings, they’re very pretty! But the casserole itself must be the star, it sounds amazing! I think I should add it to my holiday menu. (…if it weren’t already set…no going back now! ha.)
Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed) says
Something without butter – amazing! Thanks for sharing.
I love the idea of using cranberries instead of raisins–it’s so much more festive. Sounds delicious with coconut milk…yum! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Thanks Annie – I did like the color of the cranberries on top. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!
veronica gantley says
You picked a great recipe for this one Jeanette. Generally us southerners tend to cook the heck out of our vegetables. What no butter? Perhaps Paula is going soft on us. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Veronica – I was so surprised to find a recipe of Paula’s with no butter. Maybe she had a weak moment 😉
Heidi Harris says
If making for thanksgiving dinner, could this be prepared the day before, then cooked the day of?
You should be able to prepare this ahead of time – just leave off the topping.
Im wondering if this could be combined with an acorn squash and a butternut squash?
Acorn squash is more watery than butternut squash, so it may affect the consistency of the casserole.