Butternut Squash Pecan Gratin with Vegan Goat Cheese

by Mary on February 3, 2013

glass casserole dish with butternut squash, pecans, and a sprinkling of hemp hearts

butternut squash pecan gratin with vegan goat cheese

This light vegan casserole is adapted from Tina Salter’s butternut squash pecan gratin recipe from “Gratins: Savory and Sweet Recipes from Oven to Table.” I read it in the Seattle Times and still have the clipping though I’ve evolved the recipe over time. I never used the heavy cream that she calls for but I have dotted the top with soft chévre and it’s awfully good that way, though I have a decent substitute with my homemade pine nut ‘goat cheese.’

Whole pecans are pretty on top, especially for me right now while I still have mammoth-sized pecans that I got for Christmas. I have an innovation that I really like for casseroles: sprinkling the top with hemp hearts. You’ll see: it’s actually better than bread crumbs. Hope you like it.

Butternut Squash Pecan Gratin with Vegan Goat Cheese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: vegetable, casserole
Serves: 3-4
  • one large butternut squash about 3#
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided (2 Tbsp. to sauté the onions and garlic, 1 Tbsp. to grease casserole dish)
  • 1 cup finely chopped shallot or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened soy milk)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • several grinds of black pepper
  • 5 oz. vegan 'goat cheese': 1 cup of pine nuts and/or macadamia nuts blended with 1 Tbsp mellow white miso, juice of 1 small lemon, ½ Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, ¼ tsp. yogurt starter
  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. hemp hearts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook butternut squash for 20 minutes (alternatively, if the squash is small enough to fit in your microwave, microwave it for 5 minutes, stopping to rotate the squash half-way through).
  3. Meanwhile, blend the vegan 'goat cheese' in your food processor or blender, preferably a small one. Adjust the amount of lemon and vinegar to your taste. You may have to stop the blender and scrape down the sides several times due to the recipe being a small amount.
  4. Chop onion and mince garlic.
  5. Sauté onions and 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot for about five minutes, until onion softens and starts to brown. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
  6. Remove butternut squash from oven, cool, peel, cut into ¼" half-rounds.
  7. Add squash, milk, and salt and pepper to the pot with the onions and garlic and simmer with the lid on for five minutes.
  8. Grease the baking dish with the other Tbsp. of the olive oil.
  9. Place a layer of half the squash in the casserole dish.
  10. Sprinkle with half the goat cheese.
  11. Place the other half of the squash into the casserole dish.
  12. Dot the top of the casserole with the remaining 'goat cheese'
  13. Add pecans on top.
  14. Sprinkle top with hemp hearts.
  15. Bake for 50 minutes until squash is soft.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Nina February 4, 2013 at 5:40 am

Never thought about making a gratin using squash…this sounds so interesting. Great recipe:) I must try this one.
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mary February 6, 2013 at 2:22 am

Thanks, Nina!


Jane February 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

That looks so good! I will have to try hemp instead of bread crumbs! So much healthier anyways!
Jane recently posted..Fermented Ginger CarrotsMy Profile


mary February 6, 2013 at 2:23 am

I get the hemp hearts at Costco, they have a good price on them.


Tee February 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Butternut squash + pecans? Say no more.
This looks incredible, amazing idea!!
Tee recently posted..Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies – RecipeMy Profile


mary February 10, 2013 at 4:08 am

Thanks, Tee! Stop by again any time….


Hannah February 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Oh now that’s putting your homemade cheese to good use! I know it would be hard for me to resist just smearing it on crackers and devouring the whole batch. With an even greater end destination like a luscious butternut gratin, I might be able to hold off though… Especially love that sneaky addition of some hemp at the end. I’ve been trying to use up a big bag of them for ages.
Hannah recently posted..Seven StrongMy Profile


mary February 9, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Yup, I get the hemp hearts in one pound bags and they hang out in the freezer for a long time. So far granola and sprinkling on top of things are the only ways I’ve used them, though I have it in mind to include them in some energy bars.


Kiran February 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Great idea with using hemp instead of breadcrumbs! Looks so delicious 🙂
Kiran recently posted..Roasted Carrot, Turnip & Red Lentil SoupMy Profile


mary February 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Thanks, Kiran!


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