Butternut Squash + Kale Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce

Weeknight Dinners

Speaking of fall foods…

This veggie lasagna is one of my seasonal favorites. Any excuse to eat some butternut squash! Do sign me up.

This recipe was adapted from Vanilla and Bean. Her page has a great overview of the layering process step-by-step, if you could use it.

I’ve been making this recipe for years now with my own tweaks, and recently began using fresh pasta dough — game-changer!!

Store-bought lasagna noodles work perfectly fine too. Just be sure to cook them per the box’s instructions before starting the layering process.


What You’re In For:

Hints of autumn spices, hearty kale, and sweet shallots in every bite! The kale mixture is flavorful on its own, but the creamy béchamel ties it together perfectly with the warm and aromatic butternut squash.

I’m also obsessed with how crisp and delicate the fresh noodles came out in this dish. Look at those edges!

Effort Level: 7/10 — There are a few steps and a layering process involved, but nothing too wild. Not the quickest weeknight dinner though.
Deliciousness Level: 9/10 — I come back to this one every year for a reason! 🍂 It’s also a crowd-pleaser, being a vegetarian dish.


What You’ll Need:

Ingredients:

  • 6-9 lasagna noodles (parboiled if using boxed noodles, fresh if using homemade)
  • 1 lb butternut squash
  • 4 tablespoons coconut (melted) or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 yellow onion large, diced small and thin
  • 1 shallot, diced small and thin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 bunch of kale (I prefer Tuscan for this recipe), stems removed and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • bay leaf (ok to omit, but adds good flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 oz Fontina cheese, grated
  • 2 oz Gruyere cheese, grated

For garnish:

  • Parmesan cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dried sage
  • Dried thyme

Instructions:

  1. Roast the butternut squash and garlic:
    • Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds—but don’t toss em! Clean at least half of those babies off to roast alongside the squash. Place both the clean seeds and the squash on a lined baking sheet.
    • Drizzle the flesh of the squash with 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil. Season with 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 tablespoon dried sage.
    • Wrap your 6 cloves of peeled garlic in aluminum foil, and toss onto the same baking sheet.
    • Roast the garlic for 30 minutes, then roast the butternut squash for another 10 minutes (40 minutes total).
  2. Prepare your kale filling layer:
    • While you wait on those roasties, thinly dice your 1/2 yellow onion and 1 shallot.
    • Heat 1 tablespoon of your chosen oil in a large frying pan or skillet, and sauté the onions and shallots on low heat until soft and caramelized, stirring often (~15 minutes). Spoon into a large mixing bowl.
    • Add 2 tablespoons more oil to the pan and heat on medium, then add all your chopped kale. Sauté until wilted down nicely (~4-5 minutes). Season to taste, then add the kale mixture to the large mixing bowl.
    • Toss the kale, onion, and shallots together until well-mixed. This will be your kale layer. Set aside.
  3. Prepare your butternut squash filling layer:
    • Scoop the now soft butternut squash into a medium bowl. Add the roasted garlic, and mash both together using a pastry cutter or potato masher. You want it mashed and spreadable, but some chunks are ok. Season this mix with a little salt and ground pepper to taste. This will be your butternut squash layer. Set aside.
  4. Prepare your béchamel sauce layer:
    • Note: if you’re using boxed noodles, now would be the time to boil them!
    • In a large pot or skillet, add 3 1/2 cups whole milk, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Let all those spices marinate for about 10 minutes, then remove the bay leaf.
    • In a separate bowl, add 4 tablespoons all purpose flour. Pour in the remaining 1/2 cup whole milk, and whisk until blended and lump-free. Add to the larger milk pot and whisk together over medium-high heat.
    • Bring the mixture to a boil once again, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened, stirring constantly and being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.
    • Once thick, remove from heat. Add a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper, 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
    • Stir in 6oz Fontina cheese and 2oz Gruyere cheese until melted. This will be your béchamel sauce layer.
  5. Layer your lasagna:
    • Lightly grease a 9×9 pan and preheat your oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
    • Spoon a small amount of béchamel sauce into the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover the bottom layer.
    • Top with lasagna noodles (my pan fits 3).
    • Top the noodles with 1/2 the butternut squash mixture.
    • Top the butternut squash mixture with 1/2 the kale mixture.
    • Pour a generous 1/3 of the béchamel sauce over the kale mixture.
    • Top with another layer of lasagna noodles. Repeat the layering once again.
    • Once you’ve placed your final lasagna noodles, top with the remaining scant 1/3 of the béchamel sauce.
    • Garnish with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, sage, and thyme as desired.
  6. Bake your lasagna for 30 minutes, tented with foil. After 30 minutes, remove foil and bake another ~5 minutes, or broil on high for ~2 minutes.
  7. Finishing touches:
    • Finish off your masterpiece with a sprinkling of the roasted butternut squash seeds.
    • Pour yourself a glass of wine for a job well-done. 😉


Enjoy! ♥

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