City Editor Madeline’s farm fresh food recipe in Sacramento

America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital is the spot for produce year-round, and we’re here to show you how to take advantage of it.

A casserole sits on a dining table next to a floral arrangement + candle, and dishware.

Madeline served this butternut squash casserole with garlic bread + lavender lemonade.

Photo by SACtoday staff

Table of Contents

Hey Sacramento, City Editor Madeline here. One of the biggest privileges of living in Sacramento is the year-round farm fresh food at our fingertips. I’m on a mission to find recipes that use the fruits of our city’s labor — Fall produce edition.

Anyways, there’s quite literally nothing I hate more than a lengthy intro before a recipe, so I’m going to get straight into it — Butternut Squash Casserole.

Yes, it’s good. Yes, it’s easy — and most importantly? Yes, you can prep it fresh + local.

Butternut squash sit on a table for sale at a farmer's market.

The Midtown Farmers Market is a great place to find seasonal produce.

Photo by SACtoday staff

What you need

  • 3 cups of kale, roughly chopped | EcoFriendly Greens
  • 1 butternut squash, one-inch cubes | Full Belly Farm
  • 1 lb of ground beef | Sunfed Ranch
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
  • 2 tbsp of sage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup of sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs | Raley’s
  • 2 tbsp of Italian seasoning | The Allspicery
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil | The Chef’s Olive Mix
A casserole dish rests on a rack in an oven.

When fully baked, butternut squash should be tender + easy to pierce with a fork.

Photo by SACtoday staff

Let’s get cookin’

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a 13x9-inch baking dish with oil (spray or brush).
  2. While oven is preheating, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan with half of your onions + garlic.
  3. Once onions + garlic are fragrant, add in ground beef with a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Cook until meat is brown throughout.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the beef, squash, onion, leek, kale, garlic, sage, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Toss to get everything evenly mixed.
  5. Arrange vegetables in an even layer in the baking dish. Bake until squash is tender, ~30 minutes (Pro tip: make sure kale isn’t too close to the top of the casserole or it will burn).
  6. After 30 minutes, evenly top casserole with mozzarella and sharp white cheddar.
  7. In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs, Italian seasoning + remaining olive oil, then sprinkle evenly over cheese.
  8. Keep baking until cheese is melted and bread crumbs are golden brown, ~10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Enjoy — okay not yet, let it cool down at least a little you maniac.

This recipe is almost entirely inspired by Casey Elsass’s Butternut Squash Casserole recipe — just with some personal twists.

And yes, I’m definitely eating the leftovers as I write this, and it’s still so good.

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