You can’t live in the south without a yellow squash casserole in your cooking rolodex. This one is my healthier version for spring & summer!
I’m all about comfort food season. Holidays, family get togethers, cold weather… it’s the best! However, half the year in Carolina we bask in the sun and tend to crave something a little lighter. Summer squash is pretty popular all year long… so I thought I’d revamp a winter classic into a spring favorite. Other veggie-forward sides we enjoy include these Super Crispy Mashed Potato Pancakes, my Mini Spinach Pies with Whipped Ricotta, and a gathering favorite… Refreshing Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
INGREDIENTS FOR THIS RECIPE:
Traditional southern squash casserole calls for both mayonnaise and sour cream. To mimic the texture, I whipped low fat cottage cheese in a food processor. The results were amazing and I can’t wait to make some dips with the same method! Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Toasted Breadcrumbs
- Yellow Summer Squash
- Yellow Onion
- Yellow Bell Pepper
- Garlic Cloves
- Dried Basil
- Italian Parsley
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Shredded Monterey Jack
- Cottage Cheese
While you can use a different color onion or squash, I personally like to keep to the yellow theme. Any variety would taste great though.
TIPS FOR YELLOW SQUASH CASSEROLE:
Cut the squash into equal sizes: This helps the slices cook evenly. You can do this by hand or with a mandolin slicer.
Grate Your Own: Pre-shredded cheeses don’t melt as well and lack the amount of flavor as freshly hand-grated cheese. Trust me on this one.
Whip the cottage cheese: As mentioned before, this will result in the same texture as a traditional casserole made with mayonnaise and sour cream. If you leave it chunky, the cottage cheese will not bind to the squash… resulting in a soggy, inconsistent casserole.
Make your own breadcrumbs: While you can use seasoned Panko breadcrumbs in this recipe, I personally prefer to make my own with toasted baguette. Simply cut 1/2 loaf into slices, place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and bake at 450F for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. They’re golden, crunchy, and jam-packed with flavor.
OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
- ½ Baguette, sliced and toasted (1 cup crumbled)
- ½ cup 2% Cottage Cheese
- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion, finely sliced
- ½ Yellow Bell Pepper, minced
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 3 Yellow Summer Squash, sliced into rounds
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Egg
- ⅓ cup Shredded Monterey Jack
- ½ cup Grated Parmesan
- 2 tbsp. Chopped Italian Parsley
- 1 tsp. Dried Basil
- 2 tbsp. Butter, sliced into small chunks
- Place the toasted baguette in the food processor and pulse until crumbled. Pour out into a bowl and set aside.
- In the same processor, add the cottage cheese. Pulse until whipped. Place in the refrigerator until you're ready to use.
- Add olive oil, onions, and bell pepper to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the pan.
- Using the same pan, add the yellow squash rounds. Saute for 10 minutes, or until softened. Then season with salt and red pepper flakes. Mix both the onion mixture and squash in a large baking dish until well combined.
- Place the whipped cottage cheese in a bowl and mix together with an egg, ¼ cup parmesan, fresh parsley, and dried basil.
- Fold the cottage cheese mixture and half of the breadcrumbs with the squash in the baking dish. Top with shredded cheese, remaining breadcrumbs, and parmesan. Randomly add small chunks of butter throughout.
- Bake in a 350F oven for 25 minutes, or until the casserole is set and the top is golden. Serve immediately with fresh parsley for garnish.
NOTES ON YELLOW SQUASH CASSEROLE:
- This recipe can be made up to 1 day in advance (steps 1 – 6), refrigerated, and then baked when you’re ready to serve.
- There’s no need to wash the food processor in-between the breadcrumbs and whipping the cottage cheese. Everything will eventually be mixed together at the end, so save time on doing dishes.
- Leftovers should be kept in an air tight container in the refrigerator. This should be enjoyed within 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer, oven, or microwave. I personally like the air fryer so the breadcrumbs stay crispy.
- During the warmer months, I like to serve this with my Weeknight Sesame Ginger Chicken and a side salad.