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Sweet potato casserole is a classic Thanksgiving dish and one of my favorites. I grew up with always having sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving – we made it with marshmallows on top, and honestly that was the best part. My husband loves it even more than I do – his aunt always makes it, and she even makes an extra batch just for him to take home as leftovers because he loves it so much.
So of course when I was thinking about what to do for some Thanksgiving inspired dishes this year, some sort of casserole HAD to happen. I also had a Kabocha squash sitting on the counter staring at me and I thought…could I? SHOULD I?? Why not?
I opted to do a streusel topping instead of marshmallows as requested by the hubs, and I decided to swap the traditional pecans for hazelnuts since they are much more complimentary to the flavor of kabocha squash.
And you guys – it’s custard-y, it’s smooth, and it’s sweet, but not too sweet. My husband looked at me and said “it actually might be better than sweet potato??” All night he kept saying “I can’t believe that is squash!”
So it’s a winner, folks – and I’ve scaled it down for you, so this recipe makes the perfect amount for your small Thanksgiving gathering this year.
ONE THING TO NOTE – Kabocha squash are hard to cut. When you are prepping the squash to roast for the filling, use a bread knife to break through the rind, and cut the squash in half. Also, an ice cream scoop is my favorite tool to use for scooping out the insides and seeds!
Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!
RECIPE (Serves 4-6)
For the filling:
- 1 Kabocha squash
- 1 tbsp. avocado oil, divided
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- brown sugar
- melted butter
Heat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. Prep your Kabocha squash by cutting it in half, scooping out the insides, and coating each side with half of the avocado oil and a pinch of salt. Place on your baking sheet, and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the flesh is very fork tender. Once roasted, remove the squash from the oven and let cool. Then scrape out the flesh with a spoon or a fork, essentially removing the squash rind. Turn your oven down to 350.
Place the squash in a pot along with the butter, sugar, milk, and egg and heat over medium-low heat until your butter melts and the ingredients are mostly mixed together. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture together until smooth, then remove the mixture from heat. Alternatively, if you want to skip the stove top, pre-melt your butter then pour the ingredients in a blender or food processor to blend.
After the filling is blended, pour into a baking dish (I like to use a 3×9 dish) and spread evenly.
To make the topping, combine your hazelnuts, flour, and brown sugar in a small bowl until crumbly and mixed evenly. Then, melt your butter and pour it into the dish, mixing evenly to make a wet mixture. Pour the mixture over the filling and spread evenly to top.
Once ready, put your casserole in the oven on the bottom rack (so the topping doesn’t burn) at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You should see the sides start to brown and crisp, but the topping should not burn. If this happens, cover the casserole with foil.
Remove from the oven, let cool, and ENJOY!
P.S. if you have leftovers of this, make sure you re-heat in the microwave before eating…it’s not great cold 🙂