Growing up in east Tennessee, I'm no stranger to downhome Southern cookin’, especially when summer rolled around.
Usually once a week, my mom would take advantage of the splendid summer produce and fix us a good ol’ summer supper of fried okra, green beans, deviled eggs, hunks of watermelon, peach cobbler, and, of course, squash casserole.
Yeah, my momma sure knows how to cook. She’s a huge reason why I know my way around the kitchen and love being in there.
Nowadays, I still love all the flavorful fruits and veggies of summer, and I dream of her squash casserole…it’s creamy, tender filling and crunchy, buttery cracker topping…so good but not so Paleo.
So this summer, I’ve set out to make a squash casserole just like my mom used to make.
Well, kinda like my mom used to make…
I’m still following a lot of her steps, just adding a few tweaks here and there to make it Paleo-friendly.
While she hasn’t had the chance to try it yet, Mr. HHT (aka Mr. Meat-n-Taters) is a huge fan.
So before those golden gourds go out of season, let’s get rollin’ with this simple summer casserole.
Out of all the luscious summer produce on sale at the farmer’s market, yellow squash tends to be one of my least favorite choices.
It’s watery. It’s bland. It’s mushy.
All too often it’s served in a flavorless heap in a chafing dish alongside an entire buffet of bland banquet food.
Sure, it’s not the most calorically dense food out there, but he still pulls his nutritional weight. 1 cup of yellow squash will deliver:
Plus, he’s low carb and low sugar, which helps keep blood sugar in check.
But left to his own devices, I’ll admit, he’s not the most flavorful veggie on the block. Which is why I’ve concocted this casserole; let the little squash shine!
With some backup from bacon, pecans, and eggs, the unassuming squash quickly becomes the star of this summertime side.
Let me walk y’all through this easy, peasy, Paleo casserole:
1) Soak some cashews overnight (or for 4+ hours) to soften them for the custard. Drain them off before you use them.
2) Cook up some bacon in a large skillet in order to have some of that flavorful grease.
If you are still fearful of animal fat and are convinced that eating something cooked in bacon grease will clog your arteries and kill you instantly (it won’t, I assure you...eating fat doesn’t make you fat…remember?), you could omit this step and just use coconut oil later.
3) Slice up those squashiepoos into ¼ inch circles or at least so they’re all roughly the same size and shape. Throw those puppies into the grease (or coconut oil if you’re fearful of that animal fat) and sautee until soft, which should take 10ish minutes. I had to do this in two batches since my skillet wasn’t huge. Make it rain with some salt as the squash cooks or else it will be bland.
SECRET TIP: You can also just roast all of your squash in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes instead of sautéing it…just make sure you brush it with some fat to give it some flavor.
4) To make that glorious cashew custard, throw your softened cashews, chicken bone broth, a pinch more salt, pepper, and two eggs into the blender. Whip it real good until it’s frothy and smooth.
5) Arrange your squashiepoos in a greased casserole dish (easier clean-up) and pour that velvety custard all over them, making sure every little crevice and cranny of the dish gets some love.
6) Bake everybody for 20 minutes at 350. Then, crank the oven to 400 and invite some pecans to the party. Allow them to toast on top of the casserole for another 20 minutes or until the custard is set and the nuts are toasty.
7) Serve for dinner with chicken, salmon, burgers, or even with some fried eggs for breakfast!
Don’t let these steps fool you; this is a super simple casserole to make. Your friends and family will NEVER know it’s Paleo, either!
YOUR TURN: What are some of YOUR favorite summertime sides? I still love my oven-fried okra. But, I’m working on a paleo peach cobbler to share SUPER soon that will rock your world.
Summer Squash Casserole
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!