I love casseroles! They are hearty, comforting, tasty, and super easy to make. The best thing about casseroles is that the process of making them is pretty much the same. You just have to change the main ingredients, which in this case are the vegetables.
For instance, this healthy squash casserole recipe is by far the easiest I have ever tried. It has three simple steps, i.e., layer yellow squash, pour vegan cheese sauce, and top with breadcrumbs. Can it get any easier?
What is yellow squash?
The term squash is linked to several vegetables. It is a common term that contains several vegetables under its umbrella. Squash is mainly divided into two terms, i.e., summer squash and winter squash. The yellow squash we are going to talk about today is actually a summer squash. However, in some places, you can find it throughout the year. It is known for its creamy texture and buttery, and slightly nutty flavor. It is a versatile vegetable. It is often used for sautéing, baking, pureeing, and grilling.
Healthy benefits of yellow squash
yellow squash is a very healthy vegetable and are jam-packed with nutrients and health benefits. here are a few to name:
- first of all, yellow squash is very low in calories. As a result, it is a great vegetable for those who like to keep an eye on their calorie intake.
- It also aids in weight loss. That’s because it is free of fat and cholesterol. Moreover, it also makes you feel fuller for a long.
- It is rich in vitamins like vitamins A, B, and C. All these have an immense effect on the well-being, immunity, and working of the organs.
- It is also rich in minerals like folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
- It is also rich in antioxidants that eliminate free radicals from the body.
What to look for when buying yellow squash?
Yellow squash is readily available in almost every grocery store. You can also get fresh produce from farmer’s markets. Although it is a summer vegetable, you can often find it all over the year. So, when you are out buying yellow squash, here is everything you need to keep in mind:
- Color: Color is a very important indicator. As the name indicates, the color of a yellow squash should be yellow. If it has green patches, it means the squash is not ripe. Moreover, if you see brown blotches, avoid buying them.
- Weight and texture: You should feel the weight of the squash in your hands. If it feels hollow from the inside, avoid buying it. Also, it should have a firm texture. If it is too soft to touch, it is probably going bad.
- Stem: Lastly, the stem should be fresh, firm, and dry. A wet or soft stem with mold is not a good sign.
- Yellow squash: The main hero of this dish is the yellow squash. It is easily available at every grocery store or farmer’s market. Once you get the produce, wash it, and cut it into thin slices equally.
- Panko breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are also super easy to get. They are available at every grocery store. Panko breadcrumbs are made from white bread. You can also use homemade breadcrumbs for this purpose. Breadcrumbs add a crispy and crunchy element to this casserole dish.
- Vegetable broth: Vegetable broth is loaded with flavors from the vegetable. It is rich and tasteful. You can use either store-bought or homemade vegetable broth. When buying store-bought vegetable broth, make sure it is low in sodium.
- Vegan butter: You can use any vegan butter for this recipe. It helps cooking the top and allows the breadcrumbs to get a beautiful color. Furthermore, it also brings a buttery texture.
For the vegan cheese sauce:
- Cashews: Cashews are super-rich in nutrients. It contains fiber, healthy fats, and protein. It is also known for its creaminess. When you soak cashews, they get soft and, as a result, add creaminess and richness to any dish. For vegan cheese sauce, cashews are the base.
- Red bell pepper: It has a sweet and fruity flavor. It adds flavor and color to the sauce.
- Nutritional yeast flakes: Nutritional yeast flakes is an important vegan ingredient that is often used as a substitute for cheese. It has a cheesy and nutty flavor.
- Onion powder: It brings in savory flavor to the sauce.
- Garlic powder: It adds a depth of garlicky flavor to the sauce.
- Cayenne pepper: It brings in heat and spices up the sauce.
- Salt: Salt balances out the flavors of this vegan cheese sauce.
How to make healthy squash casserole?
This healthy squash casserole recipe is probably the easiest one you can try. all you have to do is add layers of ingredients and bake. It can’t be any simpler. Here are the steps you have to follow:
Step 1: Start by preparing the yellow squash. Do that by washing it and slicing it in equal slices. Place these slices in a pot and pour vegetable stock on top until it covers the vegetable. Place the pot on medium heat and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 5 minutes or until the vegetable is tender. Drain and set aside.
Step 2: To prepare the vegan cheese sauce, you will have to add soaked cashews, water, red bell pepper, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt in a high-speed blender jug.
Step 3: Blend until you get a smooth consistency sauce. You can add more water if the sauce is too thick. Now the vegan sauce is ready.
Step 4: Grease a casserole pan with coconut oil. Layer cooked yellow squash slices in the bottom of the casserole pan. Pour vegan cheese sauce on top. Cover with breadcrumbs and add a vegan button on top.
Step 5: Place the casserole pan in a preheated oven at 400-degree f for 15 minutes or until you get a golden-brown top.
Step 6: Serve.
Tips for making Healthy Squash Casserole
Although making this healthy squash casserole is very easy, you still need to take care of a few things:
- You can also add sliced zucchini or eggplant to add more flavor and color to the casserole.
- If you don’t have vegetable broth, use vegetable bouillons dissolved in water. It will give the same flavor.
- Soaking cashews is important for the texture of the vegan cheese sauce. If you don’t soak cashews, the sauce will be grainy. The more you soak them. The better will be the sauce’s texture.
- You can add black pepper, paprika, or red chili flakes instead of cayenne as well.
- You can use vegan butter instead of coconut oil as well.
- For the extra crunchy top, broil for 5 minutes.
- You can bake this casserole in an air fryer as well.
How to store squash casserole?
Store the leftover squash casserole by placing it in an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator. It will last for up to 5 days. Furthermore, you can also freeze the leftover squash casserole. Place it in aluminum foil or plastic Ziplock bag and freeze. It will last for up to 2 months in the freezer.
You can also freeze uncooked squash casserole. Place it in a freezer-safe and oven-safe dish and freeze. It will last for up to a month. You can cook it directly without thawing. It might take a bit longer, but it is super convenient.
Other Amazing Vegan Casseroles
- Vegan Gluten-Free Cornbread Casserole
- Gluten-Free Vegan Broccoli Casserole
- Vegan Cauliflower Casserole
- Mexican Style Quinoa Casserole
- Chayote Casserole
- Brussels Sprout Casserole
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- Energy: 166 kcal / 694 kJ
- Fat: 11.4 g
- Protein: 6.2 g
- Carbs: 13 g
- Preparation: 10 min
- Cooking: 40 min
- Ready in: 50 min
- For: 8 Servings
- 5 medium yellow squash, sliced
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons Vegan Butter
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs, (I used homed
For The Vegan Cheese
- Wash the yellow squash, trim off the top and cut it into equally thin slices.
- Place the sliced yellow squash in a pot and pour the vegetable stock into it.
- Place the pot on medium heat and bring it to a boil.
- Cover the pot and let it cook for 5 minutes or until the yellow squash is tender.
- Drain the cooked squash slices and set them aside. Discard the liquid.
- In a high-speed blender jug, add soaked cashews, water, red bell pepper, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt.
- Blend until you get a smooth consistency sauce. You can add more water if the sauce is too thick.
- Grease a casserole pan with coconut oil.
- Layer cooked yellow squash slices in the bottom of the casserole pan. Pour vegan cheese sauce on top.
- Cover with breadcrumbs and add a vegan button on top.
- Place the casserole pan in a preheated oven at 400-degree f for 15 minutes or until you get a golden-brown top.