Creamy Butternut Squash & Dinosaur Kale Casserole Recipe Gets a Chef's Kiss by Chef Gigi

Creamy Butternut Squash & Dinosaur Kale Casserole Recipe Gets a Chef's Kiss

Butternut squash can be eaten year-round, but it gets really popular during the fall and winter months. Instead of just roasting butternut squash or making butternut squash soup, try this rich, cheesy butternut squash and kale casserole recipe. It is so (so!) good.

Dinosaur kale, also called lacinato and Tuscan kale, is tall, dark and leafy, and popular in Italian cuisine. Dinosaur kale is sweeter and more tender than regular kale. If you can't find dinosaur kale, you could use regular kale. Take a few minutes and massage the kale to help tenderize and soften it.

To make this vegetable casserole you will need butternut squash, dinosaur kale, a leek, butter, white wine, heavy whipping cream, chicken broth, fresh thyme, nutmeg, cornstarch, gruyere cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and panko. After one bite you'll wonder why it took you so long to make this cheesy butternut squash casserole. It's fabulous! Serve it as a side dish with dinner or as part of your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

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Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing baking dish
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick on a mandoline
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced and rinsed well
  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 large fresh thyme sprig, left whole
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 12 ounces gruyere cheese, grated (divided)
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated fine
  • 1 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

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Recipe Notes

  • Make sure to slice and rinse the leeks thoroughly, as they often retain sand in between the layers.
  • Be careful cutting the butternut squash. Use a mandoline food slicer if you can; it will produce thin slices for even cooking.
  • If you can't find dinosaur kale, regular kale works fine.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. To a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons butter. When butter melts and foam subsides, add leeks and sauté until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add sliced butternut squash and kale, followed by the white wine. Cover and cook until the greens are lightly wilted.
  2. Add cream, broth, salt, pepper, thyme, nutmeg and cornstarch. Bring to a slow boil and cook until squash is soft, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, carefully layer hot vegetable mixture into a greased 13x9-inch baking dish, sprinkling cheese blend between each layer until covered. Carefully pour any leftover cream mixture over the gratin, discarding the thyme sprig, and cover with any remaining cheese blend.
  3. In a small bowl, combine panko and melted butter. Toss to combine. Top the cheesy gratin with the buttered panko mixture. Transfer to a preheated 375-degree F oven and bake until bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 613

Total Fat: 42.3g

Saturated Fat: 25.4g

Cholesterol: 137mg

Sodium: 1033mg

Total Carbohydrate: 28.9g

Dietary Fiber: 2.6g

Total Sugars: 3.2g

Protein: 28.1g

Vitamin D: 21mcg

Calcium: 874mg

Iron: 2mg

Potassium: 501mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
OMGoodness, Chef Gigi , this looks AMAZING. What a great changeup, so different and unexpected. Love this!

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