kale and butternut squash gratin {creamy kale casserole}

the autumn chill (and even before i had the “chill,” living in Florida) always makes me crave something creamy and crunchy and full of warming flavors.  this buttery kale and butternut squash casserole (“gratin” sounds so much prettier though, no?) is somehow old-fashioned and newfangled all at once.  with kale’s newfound popularity (have you seen the nutritional benefits of the stuff?), it’s a great way to introduce it to the unitiated in a vehicle that’s familiar.


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update: while this original recipe for a kale recipe was made with traditional breadcrumbs, i’ve found some beautiful and simple grain-free (gluten-free) breadcrumb recipes here and here.  as our family’s (and mine, in particular) diet is changing, i’ve created a new version without gluten.  it’s been tested and heartily approved (and I was fortunate to be a guest cook when Allrecipes.com featured this recipe on The Better Show!).  i’ve shared the gluten free version below.  let me know how yours turns out, too!


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husband declared it the one way to truly enjoy kale.  i called it worthy of breakfast and dessert.  regardless, this dish should be on your table.  pronto.


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this dish would be perfect served alongside an autumn feast, and even a new classic for a gluten-free, grain-free Thanksgiving side dish recipe.


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this dish was created for mccormick gourmet’s go 4 gourmet challenge.  what a fun way to get an inspirational boost to try something new!


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here’s a printable recipe for you to try yourself.

kale and butternut squash gratin {kale casserole}


  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/2 large bag (12 oz) fresh kale
  • 1 onion, peeled, quartered, and sliced
  • For Topping:
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (may substitute flaxmeal)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan, and continue to cook just until it bubbles and begins to lightly brown.
  3. Stir in arrowroot flour, then add salt, pepper, marjoram, and nutmeg.
  4. Whisk in almond milk and cook just until it begins to bubble.
  5. Stir in ricotta cheese and remove from heat.
  6. Lightly spray an 11x13 glass baking dish with olive or coconut oil.
  7. Spread approximately 1/3 of white sauce into dish.
  8. Layer butternut, kale, and onion, topping with another 1/3 of sauce.
  9. Repeat layers, ending with remaining sauce.
  10. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, combine almond meal, nutritional yeast, butter, marjoram, thyme, sea salt, and parmesan with a pastry cutter or fork.
  12. Remove foil from baking dish, top with crumble mixture, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until dish is bubbling and top is browned.


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are you a lover of kale?  do you have a favorite kale recipe?  please leave a comment and share!

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3 Comment

  1. […] pumpkin.  sigh.  our original version instead has butternut squash (because yes, i already have this kale and butternut recipe here and this one with butternut in chili) but now that autumn is arrived, i WILL have my […]

  2. Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 1:34 am

    I’m so glad you found the grain-free bread crumb recipes helpful! The gratin looks delicious – your photographs are superb.

    1. Reply
      September 28, 2015 at 2:35 am

      🙂 thank you, louise! love, love me some paleo magazine…

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