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How to Make Simply Scrumptious Southern Summer Squash Casserole

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When you’re swimming in summer squash at this time of year, our Scrumptious Southern Summer Squash Casserole is a no-brainer comfort food homerun at the dinner table for cookouts and barbecues. And, with its good taste and thin yellow skin, this aesthetically pleasing casserole dish is perfect for using the tender vine-grown fruit that’s smothered between creamy sweet corn studded saucy layers topped with gluten-free saltines and then baked until golden and bubbly. Team it up with baked chicken, grilled pork chops, or a tender slab of barbecue ribs!

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Easy Summer Squash Casserole That’s Figure-Friendly Too!

Many people may think of cooler weather regarding casseroles, and this summer squash recipe is undoubtedly suited for making during those times. Still, cold weather aside, this dish has become one of our family favorites as a summer side dish, making it for cookouts, hearty dinners, and just about any other occasion where we’re feeding a crowd. Other big pluses are that it requires just a few minutes of prep time, only has a handful of ingredients, and it’s pretty figure-friendly too!

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ABOUT THIS RECIPE (per serving)

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.

Gluten FreeNut FreeEgg FreeVegetarianKetoHealthy ChoicesSoy FreePescetarian
Servings:  8
AVG. Maker RATING: 
5 from 2 votes
Write a Recipe Review
Prep Time :15 minutes
Cook Time :45 minutes
Total Time :1 hour
Course : Buffet, Dinner, Side Dish, Supper
Cuisine : American, Southern
Diet : Gluten Free
Calories 145
Fat 7
Carbohydrates 17
Protein 4

What is Summer Squash Casserole?

Unlike many squash casseroles that are bathed in butter, cream, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise, which often is among the ingredients of classic southern summer squash casseroles served at diners and church suppers in the south; this lower-calorie rendition focuses on a creamy béchamel comprised of butter and flour that has been cooked together (a mixture that’s also known as a roux) and milk, with just a bit of seasoning.

The sauce is then studded with fresh sweet corn creating a silky, creamy base for perfectly cooking the layers of tender squash as it clings to the crackers in the way a good sauce should – and it’s the roux we must thank for that.

Other than making the sauce, there’s not much more to prepare for the dish other than slicing the summer squash, crushing the crackers, and then layering it all together. To give the casserole maximum visual appeal, I especially like using a combination of yellow summer squash and green zucchini for the variety of beautiful colors in the finished dish. Because everyone knows we eat with our eyes first.

How to Make the Béchamel (White Sauce)

To make the roux for the béchamel, you heat the fat (in this case, the butter) and whisk in roughly equal parts of flour, simmering it just long enough to get the raw flavor out of the flour but not so long as the flour changes to a blonde or darker stage resulting in a nutty flavor. But that’s not what we want here.

After the roux is adequately cooked, the next step is to whisk in the milk. At this point, you may notice that this sauce is fat (butter), flour, and more fat (milk) – and that’s why it’s so darned good. But it’s the milk that turns the roux into the sauce. The trick is not to dump the milk into the roux at once. To create a velvety smooth consistency (a necessity in making béchamel), gradually whisk in the milk, so it doesn’t become clumpy or too thick. As a note, I’d like to mention that different recipes using béchamel will call for different amounts of milk and varied cooking times to produce a consistency from thick and almost spreadable to a medium thickness and nearly pourable as for this recipe.

Once you reach a medium thickness, it’s time to season the béchamel with the chicken broth base, salt, and white pepper; then stir in the sweet corn kernels, and that’s it!

Now, all you need to do is assemble the casserole.

Picture how to assemble it step-by-step...

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Make Southern Summer Squash Casserole in Advance

Assemble the Casserole in advance. Once everything is layered into your oven-safe baking dish, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours until ready to bake.

Before baking, let the casserole sit on the counter to warm to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before putting it in the oven. Please note that if the contents are still cold, you may need to extend the baking time by a few minutes until it becomes bubbly around the edges and the top is golden brown.

Got Loads of Zucchini & Summer Squash? Check out these great recipes!

Casserole Variations:

  • Add a pinch or two of fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme, or oregano. Even freshly chopped chives would be a great addition for adding another flavor layer!
  • Instead of saltines, substitute gluten-free dry stuffing mix with melted butter for a flavorful topping (or use buttery club crackers or Ritz crackers – but only if you don’t need to be gluten-free). Other good options you might want to try might be gluten-free corn flakes or panko-style breadcrumbs.
  • Use zucchini instead of summer squash, or try a combination of the two.
  • Cooking for only a few? Adjust the recipe by changing the number of portions.
  • We make it easy to adjust the servings size. CLICK HERE to learn how.

The béchamel makes all the difference in this casserole we were first introduced to at a summer potluck with friends outside Nashville. With one bite, our family (kids included) immediately fell in love with the creamy, tasty combination of ingredients that deliciously meld together when baked. Loaded with tender summer squash, the béchamel sauce with creamy corn, crackers, and a buttery taste, it’s an authentic Southern comfort food knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark recipe that will win a homerun with everyone at your table.

Especially for the simplicity of making it!

XXO

Kymberley

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How to Make Simply Scrumptious Southern Summer Squash Casserole

Kymberley @GFreeDeliciously
Tender vine-grown fruit smothered between creamy sweet corn studded saucy layers topped with gluten-free saltines and baked until golden and bubbly. Team it up with baked chicken, grilled pork chops, or a tender slab of barbecue ribs!
5 from 2 votes
Gluten FreeNut FreeEgg FreeVegetarianKetoHealthy ChoicesSoy FreePescetarian
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Buffet, Dinner, Side Dish, Supper
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 8
Calories 145 kcal

Equipment

  • 9x12 Oven-Safe Baking Dish
  • Small saucepan
  • Cutting Board
  • Utensils (Cooks Knife, Whisk, Measuring Cups & Spoons, Rubber Spatula or Large Spoon)

Ingredients
 
 

For the Sauce

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Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 12-inch oven-safe baking dish.
  • Prepare the summer squash/zucchini by slicing them into thin coins about 1/8-inch thick. Then crush the saltines and set them aside until needed.
    2 medium Summer Squash/Zucchini, 24 gluten-free Saltine crackers

For the Sauce

  • Melt three tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, immediately whisk in the flour and simmer for 1-2 minutes to make a white roux that is slightly puffed and bubbly.
    3 tablespoons Butter, 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose Flour
    Melt three tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, immediately whisk in the flour and simmer for 1-2 minutes to make a white roux that is slightly puffed and bubbly.
  • Add the milk a little at a time while whisking until smooth and silky. Stir in the broth base seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste, then stir in the sweet corn.
    2 cups whole Milk, 2 teaspoons Chicken Broth Base & Seasoning, Salt, White Pepper, 1 cup Sweet Corn Kernels
    Then stir in the sweet corn kernels, and that’s it! Now, all you need to do is assemble the casserole.

To assemble

  • Spread an even layer of sauce and corn mixture (about one-third) over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange an even layer of summer squash over the sauce and cover with crushed saltine crackers. Repeat the layers twice, beginning with the sauce, squash, then crackers, finishing with the crackers on top. Divide the remaining tablespoon of butter into thin pats, and place on top before baking.
    You will finish with the crackers on top. Then divide the remaining tablespoon of butter into thin pats, and place over the top before baking.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to one hour until the casserole is set. The edges should be bubbly, and the topping will turn a beautiful golden brown.
    Bake for 45 minutes to one hour until the casserole is set. The edges should be bubbly, and the topping will turn a beautiful golden brown.

Recipe Notes

Make it in Advance
Assemble the Casserole in advance. Once everything is layered into your oven-safe baking dish, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours until ready to bake. Before baking, let the casserole sit on the counter to warm to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before putting it in the oven. Please note that if the contents are still cold, you may need to extend the baking time by a few minutes until it becomes bubbly around the edges and the top is golden brown.
Variations:
  • Add a pinch or two of fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme, or oregano. Even freshly chopped chives would be a great addition for adding another flavor layer!
  • Instead of saltines, substitute gluten-free dry stuffing mix with melted butter for a flavorful topping (or use buttery club crackers or Ritz crackers – but only if you don’t need to be gluten-free). Other good options you might want to try might be gluten-free corn flakes or panko-style breadcrumbs.
  • Use zucchini instead of summer squash, or try a combination of the two.
  • Cooking for only a few? Adjust the recipe by changing the number of portions. We make it easy to adjust the servings size. CLICK HERE to learn how.

Nutrition

Calories: 145kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 265mgPotassium: 285mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 362IUVitamin C: 10mgVitamin D: 1µgCalcium: 88mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Butter, casserole, corn, crackers, squash, summer squash, sweet corn, zucchini
Tried this recipe?Review it ! Or leave a comment. It’s super helpful for others and us!

Recipe Card with Nutrition powered by WP Recipe Maker

(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)

Copyright © 2017-2022 Kymberley Pekrul | GfreeDeliciously | gfreedeliciously.com | All content and photographs are copyright protected. The sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. However, copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please read my Photo Use Policy for detailed guidelines and further clarification.

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