Vegan Butternut Squash Casserole

by Steph Sunshine at StephSunshine.com

Yield6 servings

Prep Time50 minutes

Cook Time70 minutes

Total Time105 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, about 3 lbs. / 1.36 kg., peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cup sliced leeks (about 2 medium leeks)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup green kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 4 oz. cashew cheese, such as Miyoko's plain cream cheese or Treeline French-Style vegan cheese

Instructions

  1. You can skip this step if you have a [high-powered blender](https://amzn.to/35HiT2K "high-powered blender"). If not, soak your cashews in water for 2 hours before using them, or boil them in a small saucepan for about 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Spray [a casserole dish](https://amzn.to/2HGUQZh "casserole dish") (approximately 13" x 9" or 12" x 10") with oil. Line a [large baking sheet](https://amzn.to/3oLQj98 "baking sheet") with [parchment paper](https://amzn.to/2G88uEl "parchment paper").
  3. Cut the skin off of the butternut squash and cut into 1" cubes. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cubes with the minced garlic, chopped parsley, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  4. Spread the butternut squash on the baking sheet, and bake for 35 minutes. When finished, reduce oven heat to 375°F (190°C).
  5. While the squash cooks, heat 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the leeks, thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the leeks are tender.
  6. Blend cashews with 2/3 cup water until creamy (about 2-4 minutes), then blend in nutritional yeast.
  7. In a small bowl, mix ground flax with 1/4 cup water and set aside for 5 minutes, until thickened. Then mix into the cashew cream sauce. Mix bread crumbs into the cashew sauce.
  8. Spread the butternut squash in the casserole dish, and then add the leeks. Top with the cashew sauce mix. Fold over slightly to distribute ingredients.
  9. Bake the casserole at 375°F (190°C) for 15 minutes.
  10. After the casserole has baked 15 minutes, remove from the oven and mix in the kale and cold cashew cheese. Use a fork or spoon to break the cheese into crumbly pieces. Top with pecans and bake for 10 minutes more.

Notes & Hints

Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat on a baking tray at 350°F (180°C) for 12-15 minutes.

Make ahead: Prepare as directed, assemble the casserole, but refrigerate, don't bake it. The next day, continue baking as directed, but add another 5-10 minutes to the baking time (before adding kale, cheese and pecans).

If you're pressed for time, consider buying pre-cut butternut squash. I would recommend fresh, not frozen, as frozen butternut squash tends to bake softer than fresh squash.

StephSunshine