I know you are thinking Sausage, Kale, and Butternut Squash Lasagna is meant for the fall weather, but I’ve told you guys before that I don’t like to stick to “the rules.” Rules… they cramp my style! Lol, So feel free to make this lasagna whenever the mood strikes!
I’ve wanted to make a butternut squash lasagna FOR YEARS! I’ve been purchasing quite a few butternut squashes over the past several months, but this past week I knew this squash would be transformed into a scrumptious lasagna. Boy, am I happy that I made this lasagna! Stop what you are doing right now and go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients to make this…well, wait until you finish reading this post.
Backstory of Sausage, Kale, and Butternut Squash Lasagna
I get a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest and my FAVORITE book in the kitchen, The Flavor Bible. This book is truly the bible in the kitchen. If you want to know how well an ingredient pairs with another ingredient you go check this book first before you scour the internet. Of course, I looked to see which ingredients I had on hand that would pair well with the butternut squash. After I figured out which ingredients I wanted to use, I turned to Pinterest and adapted The Cozy Apron’s recipe for butternut squash lasagna. I had my absolute favorite chicken sausage on hand from Sprouts Farmers Market in the flavor Southwest Caliente. I promise you guys will see me reference Sprouts’ Chicken Sausage NUMEROUS times in the future that it will sound like I own stock in the company. Lol, It’s that darn good that I don’t even think twice about pork or beef sausage.
Anyway, I knew with the spice from the chicken sausage I would need something kind of sweet to balance out the flavor. Insert caramelized onions. Cook those onions low and slow, baby! I don’t deglaze the pan because I don’t want the lasagna to be too watery. I try to add in vegetables wherever I can so thanks to The Flavor Bible, I saw that kale pair perfectly with butternut squash. To keep things young and tender, I quickly sautéed some baby kale and mixed them with the caramelized onions.
You guys know how I feel about education. You need to understand what you are eating, how it affects your body, and where it comes from. Kale has been “trendy” for a few years now, but it is more than just a trend. It’s a superfood, a SUPER GIANT if you will! LOL I found the perfect article that discusses the “23 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Kale” and boy, does Helen Nichols, the author, break things down. I’ve read aa few things about kale but have never seen the facts laid out so clearly. Kale should be a mainstay staple in everyone’s diet. Click here to read all of the details for yourself!
Now, for the star of the show, I decided to roast the butternut squash in the oven to bring out some of that natural sweetness. If you have never had butternut squash, I will let you know that it smells like watermelon and tastes like a hybrid of a sweet potato and pumpkin. I cut the butternut squash into 1-inch cubes, tossed them with olive oil, salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Let them bake for about 40 mins. When I tell you guys I was tempted to just stop right there and pop the butternut squash into my mouth one by one like they were popcorn! But nope, I was determined to make this lasagna! I pureed the butternut squash and used it like béchamel for the lasagna by following The Cozy Apron’s instructions. I made a few adjustments to her sauce recipe like adding freshly chopped sage, cayenne, thyme, and nutmeg.
I layered the lasagna with no-boil noodles because, honestly, ain’t nobody had time to boil noodles! Lol, The goal is to get this in your tummy as quickly as possible! I chose freshly shredded mozzarella cheese to layer the lasagna with. The only regret I have is not using more mozzarella because I’m a cheese fiend, I have a problem and I’m finally admitting it out loud. I need a daily cheese fix! Don’t judge me; I know I’m not alone. Anyway, after the layering has been completed the lasagna bakes for 30-35 mins. You can serve it with a salad and garlic bread or breadsticks. It’s your prerogative, I don’t make the rules (and I don’t follow them.) Do whatever it is you have to do to get this on your dinner table sometime this week. And please report back ASAP with your families’ thoughts! Happy cooking!
- Olive oil for drizzling
- 1 pound sausage removed from casing
- No-boil lasagna noodles
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 onion sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic finely chopped
- 5 cups baby kale
- Pinch of salt
- Butternut Squash:
- 2.5 pound Butternut Squash: peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Butternut Squash Sauce:
- Butternut Squash: pureed
- 1 cup chicken stock warm
- 2 cups half and half warm
- 4 ounces mascarpone
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme chopped
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons sage freshly chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Roasting Butternut Squash - Preheat the oven to 400 * F. Line a half size sheet pan with foil and set aside. - Lay your butternut squash cubes onto the baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil, and sprinkle the salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning over the cubes. Massage the seasoning into the butternut squash. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the butternut squash for about 40 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender. In the bowl of a food processor, add the butternut squash and puree until smooth. Set aside.
Filling - While the butternut squash is baking begin working on the filling. In a large sauté pan placed over medium-high heat, drizzle a little olive oil and add the chicken sausage. Break up the meat with a heat-safe spoon or spatula; cook the sausage until the meat is no longer pink. Remove the pan from the heat and place the sausage into a bowl and let it cool. - Place the same pan back on the burner set to medium heat. Melt the butter and olive oil in the pan. Add in the sliced onions and stir them gently to coat them with butter. Occasionally stir the onions with a heat-safe spoon and let the onions cook down for about 30 mins. Once the onions appear to have broken down and are getting deeper in color, add the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Now, stir in the baby kale and let cook for 3-4 mins. We just want the baby kale to wilt down some. Set aside.
Butternut Squash Sauce - Place a large saucepan over low heat and add in the squash puree, the warm chicken stock and the warm half and half. Whisk carefully to ensure that the ingredients are completely combined. Add in the nutmeg, thyme, cayenne, sage, and salt and pepper. Add the mascarpone cheese and Parmesan cheese; whisk to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside. (You can make this ahead of time by cooling down the sauce and refrigerating until you are ready to assemble the lasagna.)
Lasagna Assembly - Preheat the oven to 350* F. - Butter/grease your lasagna dish (I used a 8”x11.5”x2” baking dish) and begin layering your lasagna by placing a few ladles of butternut squash sauce at the bottom of the dish. Next, place enough lasagna noodles to cover the sauce. Next, ladle enough sauce to cover the noodles. Layer half of the cooked sausage and half of the kale mixture onto the sauce. Sprinkle about a cup of the mozzarella cheese on top of the filling. Next, add another layer of lasagna noodles and ladle some more sauce to cover the noodles. Layer the remaining sausage and kale mixture onto the sauce and sprinkle about another cup of mozzarella cheese on top. Add one final layer of lasagna noodles followed with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the rest of your mozzarella cheese on top and place the lasagna into the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is lightly golden brown. Serve it while it’s hot.