American College of Nutrition Certified Nutrition Specialist | Author | Professor of Nutrition


Butternut Squash and Greens Gratin Made Easy

picture of butternut and swiss chard gratinYou can still have fabulous dishes like butternut squash and greens gratin while keeping your blood sugar under control. This fabulous dish and many, many others are part of the Control Your Blood Sugar Naturally program starting up this Friday.

Yes, this Friday! I can’t wait to get everyone started. Please join us, it will be even better with you there. In just 16 weeks you will be eating healthfully with no stress, lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. Click here for all the details.

Now lets get on with the gratin. I saw the recipe in a fancy lifestyle/ food magazine and thought it would be perfect for Thanksgiving. Then I saw that it had 1 1/2 cups of cream, over a cup of cheese, and took well over an hour to make. That doesn’t work for me, so I fixed it.

To serve 4 generously as a side you need:

1 butternut squash

2 bunches Swiss chard or kale

1/4 cup cream, plus 2 Tbs

1/2 cup grated parmesan or gruyere cheese

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 Tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tsp fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried

salt and pepper to taste

picture of butternut squash  slices after the microwavePeel your squash, cut it in half horizontally where the straight top meets the round bottom. Cut the top into half moons; scoop out the seeds from the bottom and cut that into half moons. You want a good, sharp knife for this. Your local hardware store will sharpen your knives for a few dollars if yours have gotten a little dull.

Place squash pieces into a dish (you can use the dish you plan to bake it in) with 1/4 cup water. Cover with a plate and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes, until the squash is tender. Drain any water left in the dish. Salt and pepper the squash while warm, and set aside.

While the squash is in the microwave, slice your greens. Use the chard stems if you like – I like the little crunch they give to the filling. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat, add the garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle and you can smell it, add the thyme and the stems, if using. Cook for a few minutes, then add the greens and a little salt.

Cook the greens covered for a few minutes, then remove the cover and add 1/4 cup cream. Take the greens off the heat and let cool to room temperature. The cream will pick up the flavors of the garlic and thyme. Yum. picture of greens and cream

Spray your baking dish with non-stick spray, and put 2 Tbs. cream in the bottom. Add one layer of squash, then top with the greens and cream mixture. Add half of the cheese, then the rest of the squash. Top with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. You can now put this into the fridge for up to 2 days, covered tightly, or brown that top and serve it right away.

Set the oven rack on the second or third rung from the top, and preheat your broiler. You want the gratin to get warmed all the way through by the time the breadcrumbs on top are brown. The cream will be flavorful, bubbly and rich. The squash is silky and sweet, and the greens provide the perfect bright contrast to the richness. The topping puts it over the top. Broil until done, sit back and accept the compliments.

No one but you needs to know how healthy this is, and that it took you about 30 minutes to get it ready to broil. Fancy, fabulous, delicious and healthy in a half-hour. That’s what I’m all about.

This recipe doubles easily, all of the amounts are more general guidelines that strict measurements. You could add pepper flakes or lemon to the greens, that would be delicious. You could use acorn squash instead of butternut, or spinach instead of chard. This is a great vegetarian entree too.


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