This blog post has been compensated by Borden® Cheese. All opinions are mine alone.
#BordenCheeseLove #CollectiveBias #Ad
Warming smells of Italian herbs wafting through the kitchen are one of my very favorite dinner smells… especially in a casserole.
My mom used to make the best creamy casseroles and pasta dishes when I was a little girl, and we regularly enjoyed them on busy weeknights for a quick and hearty, warming dinner. She’d pack veggies, herbs, pasta, cheese, and some type of protein into her classic casserole dish, and we could hardly wait for it to finish so we could enjoy it.
I will admit that I don’t eat casseroles very often as I’ve grown up, but when I do, I always go for a delicious, creamy and hearty veggie-based casserole similar to the ones my mom used to make when I was a little girl because they’re easy as pie to whip up!
Actually, they’re even easier to make than pie! 😉
A casserole dish is perfect for busy weeknights or when you’re just not in the mood to spend a lot of time on a meal, but you still want to make something hearty and filling for the people you love. It’s a great dish to enjoy with friends and family, and it makes great leftovers too.
So I thought I would share one of my family’s favorite casseroles with all of you, just in case you’re looking for something quick and easy that you can make for your families and friends, as well!
And, of course, my casserole has a bit of a more nutritious spin on it, because you all know how much I love my veggies! 😉
My Meatless Italian Veggie Squash Casserole is full of classic Italian flavor, cheesy goodness, and some of my favorite veggies that are also easy to use and put together for a quick meal in minutes.
I even made the crust without any refined flour by simply blending ground oats and Italian herbs!
Most casseroles typically include some type of cheese and many also include breadcrumbs or a flour-based topping for that melty, cheesy, crusty finish. Many casseroles also contain meat or eggs, but I’ve made mine without either of those for a lighter dish that’s still equally delicious and hearty.
In fact, casseroles are actually one of the easiest types of recipes to make with nutrient-dense ingredients, (such as vegetables and whole grains), and you can make endless combinations to satisfy any comfort food craving.
The cheese is the trick to making this recipe a real hit, however, because it’s layered throughout the entire casserole. This is my mom’s trick for making tasty casseroles made with minimal ingredients, and Borden® Cheese has been my mom’s choice cheese for years, so I knew I had to use it in this recipe.
I used two types of cheese in this recipe to give it a double dose of cheesy flavor. Borden® Finely Shredded Mozzarella Shreds and Borden® Medium Cheddar Shreds. Although cheddar isn’t normally used in Italian-style recipes, it actually sets this recipe over the top!
It’s perfect because it brings out the lighter flavor in the mozzarella cheese and melts perfectly with it as well because the two are different sizes (which I prefer).
And the real secret to this recipe?
Butternut squash purée!
It adds the most creamy, delicious flavor and packs in a ton of nutrients along with a tasty, ooey gooey topping in addition to the cheese. Plus, butternut squash acts as a natural binder in the top of this recipe which eliminates the need for eggs so many other casseroles call for.
Feel free to add more veggies to the casserole if you choose, such as zucchini, yellow squash, or even sliced potatoes. I chose to stick to some very simple Italian-inspired options, including tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and some Italian herbs plus the butternut squash. Olives would also make a great topping if you choose to use those.
The result is a gooey, oozing dish that will satisfy any comfort food craving you have while also supplying you with a nice serving of veggies, too.
- 1 (15 ounce) can of no salt added diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can of artichoke hearts (any size) - packed without oil, drained, and rinsed
- 1 (15) ounce can of butternut squash purée
- 1 tablespoon of Italian herbs blend and/or pizza seasoning
- 1/4 cup (3 tbsp.) of Borden® Cheese Finely Shredded Mozzarella Shreds
- ¼ cup (3 tbsp.) of Borden® Cheese Medium Cheddar Shreds
- ¼ cup quick rolled oats
- 1 tsp. Italian herbs blend
- ¼ cup Borden® Cheese Finely Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella Shreds
- ¼ cup Borden® Cheese Medium Cheddar Shreds
- First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Next, grab a small casserole dish and add in the can of tomatoes to the bottom, spread out evenly.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Borden® Cheese Finely Shredded Mozzarella Shreds and 1 tablespoon of Borden® Cheese Medium Cheddar Shreds over the top of the tomatoes.
- Next, layer ½ the can of artichoke hearts over the cheese and tomatoes and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. Italian herbs.
- Sprinkle this layer with 1 tablespoon of Borden® Cheese Finely Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella Shreds and 1 tablespoon of Borden® Cheese Medium Cheddar Shreds.
- Now, add the butternut squash purée over the top and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Borden® Cheese Finely Shredded Mozzarella Shreds and 1 tablespoon of Borden® Cheese Medium Cheddar Shreds. Set this aside for a minute.
- Now, it’s time to make the crust topping. All you need to do is process or blend the oats with 1 tsp. of Italian herbs and pulse/blend until it’s a fine, flour-like consistency. Sprinkle this evenly over the top of the butternut squash/cheese layer of the casserole.
- Sprinkle ¼ cup of Borden® Cheese Finely Shredded Mozzarella Shreds and ¼ cup Borden® Cheese Medium Cheddar Shreds for the final topping.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes until the top starts to firm up a bit. Take a fork and swirl the top together a little bit, just enough to create a pretty texture. Cover the top with foil and leave it in the oven to cook 15 more minutes (so the top doesn’t brown too much but the dish finishes cooking).
- Remove and serve! This makes 4 small servings or 2 large servings. Feel free to add a sprinkle of more mozzarella, seasonings, or even some ground black pepper or red pepper flakes on top if you prefer. Sprouted grain toast would also be lovely on the side for a healthier toast option!
- If you’d like to add more veggies, I’d suggest using 1 cup of sliced zucchini, yellow squash, or potato slices right before the butternut squash layer, and use a larger casserole dish. You may also want to add a little more cheese on top if you go this route too.
And try Borden® Cheese too while you’re at it! It’s a great product that’s perfect for sharing with your family and using in a variety of recipes. You can find it at many different supermarkets nationwide. Just check this store locator right here!
I found my Borden® Cheese products at Walmart in the cheese section for a great price while I was shopping for the veggies for this recipe. All of the ingredients for this recipe costs less than $10 and couldn’t have been any easier to put together.
Be sure to let me know if you give this recipe a try, and check out more recipe inspiration at the Borden® Cheese website!
What’s your favorite easy weeknight meal that you share with love for your family and/or friends?