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Summer Squash Casserole

Natalie Root

Last weekend when I was at the Farmers Market, I picked up a bag of yellow squash.  The squash were perfect - tender and full of flavor. There is nothing like locally grown produce.

Like zucchini, yellow squash is a quintessential Southern vegetable that grows in abundance in this region. 

I love it.  Often I simply grill slices of it.  Other times I give it a quick saute with sliced Vidalia onions.

That said, my kids aren’t a fan.

A number of years ago, Memphis Farmers Market founding board member Linda Cornish gave me her go-to yellow squash recipe when I was lamenting over not knowing what to do with the bounty of yellow squash from my garden.

Her Yellow Squash Casserole was one of the best versions of this dish I have ever made. 

And the best part? My whole family loves it!  When I serve this casserole, my kids have no clue they are enjoying the same yellow squash they previously turned up their noses to.

It’s also really simple to make.

First you boil the squash until fork tender. Then you coarsely puree it in a food processor. Garlic, yellow onion ( I use sweet Vidalias), jalapeno, ricotta cheese, goat cheese and Parmesan add flavor and a creamy texture.

Linda used Ritz cracker crumbs in her original recipe but I prefer the lighter texture of panko breadcrumbs.  Panko breadcrumbs, also known as Japanese breadcrumbs, are a crispier, lighter texture than traditional American breadcrumbs.  I add the breadcrumbs in the casserole for added texture. I also toss them with Parmesan and butter for a crispy topping to the dish.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit.

Yellow Squash Casserole

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish and for the topping
  • 2 pounds yellow summer squash (about 8 squash)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 medium onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 container (15-ounce) whole milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 small log (4-ounce) fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

Cut the squash into 1/2-inch thick slices. Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the squash and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain well. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and coarsely puree.

In a large saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper and cook until soft but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the squash puree, 1 cup of the bread crumbs, eggs, ricotta cheese, goat cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well combined.  Pour the puree into the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and thinly sliced pats of butter. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Printed with permission from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks The Southern Pantry Cookbook, Simply Salads, Simply Suppers, and Simply Grilling.