Golden slices of summer squash and kernels of corn are baked in a creamy sauce and topped with bread crumbs in this Southern-style vegan squash casserole. It’s the perfect summer side dish.
Hi, my name is Susan, and I’m a vegan.
It’s been so long since I updated this blog that I only half-humorously feel like I need to introduce myself again. For those of you who don’t know me, you can find my real introduction on my About page.
For those who do know me and worried that I had fallen off the planet, I’m happy to report that I’m alive and well and now living in Louisiana.
My husband and I had been thinking of moving back to our home state to be closer to family, but when the pandemic hit, we put that idea on hold. So we hadn’t been actively looking for a house when, in January, we practically stumbled on the perfect house just a mile from my parents. Of course, there were complications–someone else had a contract on it–but when that contract fell through, we had to act fast to make sure it didn’t get away from us.
Since we hadn’t really been expecting to move, we had a lot of packing up and cleaning out to get 21 years of accumulated junk out of our old house and a bunch of repairs, painting, and sprucing up the yard to get that house ready to sell. It all seems in retrospect to have happened so quickly–all except the unpacking.
It took months of emptying boxes, but we’re finally settled into our house in the country. And we love it!
The boxes have been recycled, the ancient stove and dishwasher have been replaced, and I’m starting to feel like my old self again, the self that likes cooking food and writing about it.
The thing I love most about the move is that I get to spend more time with my parents. After living in other states for the past 30+ years, it’s a joy to be able to get to know them all over again.
It was with that family connection in mind that I chose this squash and corn casserole as my first “coming back home” recipe.
It’s based on the squash casserole my mother often made when I was growing up. I’d always considered it her recipe, but she says she got it from my grandmother. I’m happy to put my own twist on it and hopefully pass it down to my daughter for further adaptation.
In its original incarnation, it was made with canned creamed corn. In my updated vegan version, I created a “cream” using frozen organic corn, vegetable broth, and nutritional yeast and herbs for added flavor.
How to Make the Best Squash Casserole
Squash casseroles are a great way to use up some of the abundance of summer squash. You can even make them with zucchini or patty pan squash instead of the traditional yellow squash. While it’s a fairly simple dish, there are a few things you need to know to be sure that it comes out perfect every time:
- First, and most importantly, you need to pre-cook the squash before mixing it in with the other ingredients and baking it. If you don’t cook it first, the squash will exude all of its moisture into the dish and your casserole will be watery. You also would have to bake it longer, heating up your summer kitchen for longer than is necessary. I prefer to sauté the squash and onion first (without oil), which not only cooks them but also adds flavor.
- The creamed corn you buy in cans doesn’t usually contain any cream and is often completely vegan. But I like to make my own with organic corn and add creaminess and flavor to it by including cashews or tofu. Use the cashews if you can, but if they are too high in fat for your diet, light silken tofu or even regular tofu makes an acceptable substitute.
- If you’re using the cashews and don’t have a high-speed blender, soak them first in water for a couple of hours and drain them completely before blending.
- Seasoned panko makes the best casserole topping; look for an oil-free brand (Whole Foods makes one) or use gluten-free panko or bread crumbs instead. But feel free to omit the topping if you want.
Vegan Yellow Squash and Corn Casserole
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 4 medium yellow squash sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups organic frozen corn divided
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup raw cashews or 1/4 cup tofu
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt omit or reduce for lower sodium
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup panko (or gluten-free bread crumbs)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Using a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, sauté onion for 2-3 minutes, until it begins to soften and brown on a few edges. Add squash and garlic and cook, stirring, until squash is softening. Add 1 cup corn and remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 1 1/2 to 2-quart baking dish with parchment paper or oil it lightly.
- Blend 1/2 cup corn, vegetable broth, cashews/tofu, cornstarch, lemon juice, and seasonings (nutritional yeast, oregano, thyme, salt, black pepper) in a blender until smooth. TIP: If you don't think your blender will blend raw cashews, soften them first by soaking in water for 2 hours and then draining before use.)
- Place half the squash mixture in a single layer in the casserole dish; spoon half of the sauce over it. Repeat with remaining squash and sauce. If you’re using the topping, mix the panko with basil and oregano, and sprinkle it over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. If the topping isn't completely browned, heat it under the broiler for a minute or two but watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn. Serve hot.
- 119 Calories
- 1.3g Total Fat
- .24g Saturated Fat
- With cashews and panko: 3 points
- With cashews but no panko: 1 point
- With tofu and panko: 2 points
- With tofu and no panko: 0 points
Nutritional info is approximate.
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