Sunday, November 22, 2009

Butternut Squash Casserole with Sage and Shallots

Here is a vegan alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey....a casserole with the flavors of Turkey. Poultry seasoning, sage, shallots, beans, squash, and apples all slowly cooked to perfection in the oven. The vegetable stock and arrowroot provide a thick sauce that holds the flavors. Served over wild rice and topped with a cranberry sauce, you have yourself a great meat-free Thanksgiving main dish!

This recipe was inspired by a phone conversation I had with a friend of mine. She was looking for meat-free Thanksgiving recipes, like casseroles with beans and squash, and asked if I had any recipes. For hours after our conversation and while cleaning my house, this recipe slowly evolved in my mind. I made it a few days later and it was good, but tasted a little flat when served without the Cranberry Sauce. It needed something acidic to balance the flavors. I thought about using tomatoes, vinegar, or citrus but wanted to keep those out in order to create a recipe that didn't consist of any common allergens (citrus and tomatoes are common).

Granny Smith Apples! Yes!

I added two peeled, chopped apples to the casserole and made it again today using Cranberry Beans instead of Cannelini beans. It was delicious! I served it with my Whole Grain Flatbread recipe for dinner this evening.

I should mention that my kids didn’t like the casserole….unfortunately. They usually will only eat squash if it is made into a puréed soup. I don’t know why they are picky with this vegetable, but they are. Luckily I had also just made a big pot of lentil soup which they happily devoured!

Please note that these photos were taken with my first batch of casserole. The second batch (the following recipe) has more of a saucy casserole feel from the apples which practically fall apart during cooking.

Butternut Squash and Bean Casserole with Sage and Shallots
This recipe can be prepared a day ahead of time. Prepare the recipe up to baking, place all ingredients into the casserole dish, cover, and refrigerate. When you are ready to cook it, just pop it in the oven! Serve over cooked wild rice and steamed kale drizzled with homemade Cranberry Sauce. For directions on how to cook and soak beans, please refer to the detailed directions I give in this post. The poultry seasoning I use is a mix of these dried herbs: basil, rosemary, sage, marjoram, thyme, and oregano.

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced shallots
one 3 to 4-pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
2 to 4 cups cooked beans (Cannelini or Cranberry)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Herbamare (or sea salt)
2 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil then shallots and saute for a few minutes until they soften and begin to change color.

Remove shallots (and oil) and place into a large bowl. Add squash, apples, beans, sage, poultry seasoning, and Herbamare; toss together well.

In a separate bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the stock and arrowroot powder.

Place the squash mixture into a large casserole dish (preferably one that has a cover, and pour the stock mixture over it. Season with freshly ground black pepper and a few drizzles of olive oil.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 to 55 minutes, covered. Then remove the cover and bake for 20 to 25 more minutes, or until squash is tender. Don't cook the casserole too long uncovered, or the beans will begin to dry out. Source:

Notes: If you do decide to omit the apples you will need to lessen the arrowroot to 2 tablespoons and lessen the salt a little.

More Thanksgiving Recipes:

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Hi Ali,
    Thanks so much for this recipe! I love all of the flavors. One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is the dressing. With all of the sage and shallots in this dish - I won't be missing the flavor of the dressing at all! I'll definitely be making this for Thanksgiving!

    I suspect my daughter may not be too interested in this dish either. I wonder if it would work for the kids to somehow incorporate the flavors into a soup, puree it, and then add the beans - I might have to give that a try when I make it again after Thanksgiving.

    Thanks again!

  2. I so look forward to making this. And I appreciate your serving ideas--wild rice + cranberry sauce sound perfect.

    I enjoy reading all of your creative recipe ideas, each one is totally unique in its own way. Keep it up :)

  3. This is making me hungry. So very very hungry! Love the flavours, photos, everything!

  4. There are many that will love this one, Ali. I always enjoy reading how you come up with your recipes--very inspiring!

    Love the roundup, too. I forgot to add cookies on mine. ;-)


  5. Thanks for sharing this recipe Ali. I was looking forward to it. I bet it would be great made without the beans as a side dish. and squash casserole!

    I made the lentil and rice casserole from your cookbook last night and my family thoroughly enjoyed it, in fact, there aren't any leftovers. I've really been enjoying your cookbook, it's my favorite! ;-)

  6. This looks amazingly awesome! I so appreciate having a vegan, gluten-free alternative. Thanks so much!

  7. Hi Ali,
    I did end up making this for Thanksgiving. Everyone loved the flavors. Unfortunately - my cubes of squash were a bit on the small side, so I lost some of the texture. Next time I'll definitely cut the squash into larger chunks (like you have pictured). This one is definitely on my list of "soul foods" for winter! Yum!

  8. I made this tonight. I forgot the sage, didn't have shallots, and my veggie broth had gone bad. I used onion and waters as subs and just crossed my fingers it would still taste good.

    It did! In fact, it is so good that I'm excited to try the recipe with the actual ingredients! :) Definitely a keeper...thank you!

  9. I made this last night and it was soo good! Comforting and warming! Great for fall and winter. I didn't have enough shallots (maybe 1 cup), used water instead of stock, and used cranberry beans. I didn't have poultry seasoning but had all the other spices on hand so i just mixed them together and added it. Can't wait to have leftovers tonight!

  10. Ha, my boy don't like squash either unless totally disguised, yet they love all other veggies...I think it is a texture thing...Nice to hear they aren't alone, I am sure they will come around some day!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)