Savory Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

What is Thanksgiving dinner without stuffing or dressing (which are the same thing)?  I don't know because I have never had turkey without it.  I also cannot remember the last time I had stuffing that was not cornbread-centric. 

This year I decided to roast my turkey unstuffed in order to fill it with onions, garlic, and herbs.  I considered throwing together a dressing in a casserole, which, if done right, can be delicious.  Instead I wanted to make a dressing that was vegetarian, but flavorful and substantial enough to satisfy the non-turkey eaters.  

Here is a savory bread pudding, made with butternut squash, cheese, and a healthy dose of garlic for a beautiful alternative to traditional stuffing which can also be served as a main dish to your vegetarian dinner guests. A nice crunch forms on the bottom of the pot for an extra treat.  You could top this with gravy, but trust me - it doesn't need it!

Serves 6-8


1 small loaf artisan whole wheat or seed bread, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups fresh butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes)

1 small bulb shallots, minced 

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Black pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese

1 cup light cream

1 cup whole milk

1 egg plus one egg yolk

3 tablespoon unsalted butter


1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a baking pan with foil and spread out the bread cubes.  Drizzle over the olive oil and toss to coat.  Place in the oven and toast for 10-15 minutes, tossing halfway through.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

2.  Lower the oven temperature to 350F.  Place a 5-quart heavy bottom dutch oven or oven safe pot over medium heat and melt the butter.  Add the shallots and garlic, sautéing until soft, about 2-3 minutes.  Raise the heat slightly and add the butternut squash and salute until slightly browned, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl beat together the egg, egg yolk, cream, milk, pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir in the thyme and rosemary leaves.

4.  Add the toasted bread and about 3/4 of the cheese to the pot with the butternut squash.  Toss gently.  Pour over the cream mixture and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and browned.  Serve hot.