Au Gratin isn’t just for potatoes! Yellow squash, zucchini, and delicious smoked Gouda cheese combine to form the best keto-friendly au gratin dish ever.
*Heavy sigh*. Your girl has been accused of recipe theft. By another blogger? Nope, I’d never do that to one of my peers. By a famed chef? Oh no, I’d be mortified. By a well-known publication? I don’t have the nerve. This bold claim came from no other than -wait for it- …my mother.
Ok, so oftentimes when I’m in the testing phase of a recipe I’ll put out feelers. I’ll toss around ideas or ingredients with my close friends or family who I know have good opinions on food and drinks. I’ll even send some photos to see how they may be received by a wider audience. When I sent photos of this recipe to me mother this was the message I received in response.
Once I picked my jaw up off the floor, it was time to defend myself. I’m an honest person, so I’m willing to admit that this claim is not completely unfounded. In our house we grew up eating a zucchini and yellow squash casserole that consisted of melted cheddar, heavy cream, and sautéed onions. We even sometimes ate the Betty Crocker scalloped cheesy potatoes or even what’s often called “funeral potatoes”. It was absolutely delicious and I do credit her recipe as lending itself to my love of squash. But this one is mine. Hello mother.
I think we all grow up and adapt recipes based on what was cooked in our homes. Family recipes are the absolute best, and remind you of your loved ones no matter where you are in the world. Many of the recipes I share here on my blog are inspired by the meals we ate growing up. They’re homey, comforting, and not inaccessible to the average home cook looking to whip up a meal for their busy family. So if my recipes can make my husband and son feel even a fraction of the way I felt when mom used to make her squash casserole, then my job is complete. At least until it’s time for the next meal.
What is Au Gratin?
Most of us are very familiar with potatoes au gratin, but what does au gratin even mean? Au gratin is a culinary term derived from French cooking, which simply means creating a dish that has a golden brown top. There are other definitions floating around that assert that it’s a dish topped with breadcrumbs or cheese.
In previous tests of this recipe I did attempt to create a crunchy faux breadcrumb topping using finely ground almonds. It didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t add that “thing” I was looking for, and I found the dish more enjoyable without. If you’re not following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, you may try adding panko and see how well you like it. For me, I found that the crispy cheese topping was perfect for the taste and feel I was going for.
My recipe uses plain, unsweetened almond milk. Look, I love heavy cream. I do. But it has tons of calories and sometimes I just want something a little lighter on the stomach. Using almond milk as the base for my sauce turned out perfectly. It was still creamy and smooth and just the right consistency. Obviously, the more cheese you add the creamier and thicker your sauce will be. So if you find that your sauce is a little thin, try tossing in more cheese a bit at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. For me, two cups of freshly grated smoked Gouda was enough.
Smoked Gouda is straight up delicious, y’all. I cannot sing its praises enough. Gouda is good, but smoked Gouda is amazing. When it melts, it’s so buttery and smooth. To me, it almost tastes like bacon. While this recipe will work with almost any type of cheese you prefer, I highly recommend you stick with what I have here. Your taste buds will certainly thank you!
How to Make Squash Au Gratin
I start by thinly slicing my zucchini and yellow squash. About a quarter inch works just fine. I sort of arranged my slices in a spiral in a round baking dish; this was mostly for presentation purposes. Arrange yours however you like.
In a sauce pan, I combined the milk, Gouda, butter, rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, until a creamy and smooth sauce formed. I’m telling you, my kitchen smelled amazing.
Finally, I slowly poured the sauce over the squash slices, ensuring that I was getting sauce between each slice. Of course, I topped with more cheese. Don’t skip that step, as that is how you will get your crusty, golden brown top layer. I also added additional rosemary to the top. We are a rosemary loving household.
After 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven, this dish was bubbling, brown, and ready to devour. It must have been pretty good, I came back after checking on baby Cash* and Terrance had already dug in without me. “Quality control” is what he calls it.
That’s all, folks. Try this dish out and let me know what you think! I’m sure you’ll love it. Since you’re here, make sure that you sign up for my mailing list, Adri’s Secret Menu. You’ll be the very first to receive exclusive keto and low-carb recipes not published here, as well as giveaways, updates, and tons more. You’ll find the form down below. Let’s stay connected. We’re family. While you’re at it, join my Instagram family. I’d love to have you.
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Au Gratin isn’t just for potatoes! Yellow squash, zucchini, and delicious smoked Gouda cheese combine to form a delicious keto-friendly side dish!
- 2 Large Zucchini Squash, sliced
- 2 Large Yellow Squash, sliced
- 3/4 Cup Unsweetened/Unflavored Almond Milk
- 2 Cups Smoked Gouda, grated
- 1 tbsp. Butter
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper, ground
- Leaves from 3 Rosemary Sprigs, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme, Chopped
- 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400° F
- Wash and slice both the zucchini and yellow squash to 1/4 inch thickness. Arrange in baking dish.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine almond milk, smoked Gouda, butter, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, rosemary, and thyme over medium heat. Stir continuously until a creamy and smooth mixture forms.
- Pour milk & cheese mixture over the squash, ensuring that sauce is evenly distributed.
- Cover with cheddar cheese and additional rosemary as desired.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.