Butternut squash parmigiana is a fun Fall inspired twist on the classic eggplant parmigiana. Slices of roasted butternut squash are layered with sage, marinara, mozzarella, and Parmigiano Reggiano and topped with homemade seasoned breadcrumbs and baked until bubbly and toasty.
Who doesn't love a good parmigiana?
Whether it's the classic parmigiana di melanzane, aka eggplant parm, or chicken parmigiana, it's tough to go wrong when you top anything with marinara, mozzarella, and Parmigiano Reggiano, am I right?
So why not take our beloved late harvest friend, butternut squash, and make it even better!
Our butternut squash parmigiana is extra special because it is topped with homemade garlicky seasoned breadcrumbs that put this dish over the top!
And for those of you who are scratching your head thinking "sage and marinara"? I know it's not a traditional combination, but trust me, it WORKS.
It adds to the Fall-inspired flavor of this dish and I think you'll be quite pleased with the results.
How to make the seasoned breadcrumbs
- Begin by toasting 4 slices of bread at 325f until dry (about 30 minutes). Flip the bread at the halfway point to further aid in drying it out. Note: Any type of bread is fine. Seeded Italian bread is shown in the pic below.
- Place toasted bread in a bag and crush with a rolling pin or mallet. Or just use the pulse setting in a food processor.
- Mix the breadcrumbs with 1 finely minced garlic clove, a ¼ cup parsley, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Placing all the ingredients in a food processor and pulsing works very well, but if you don't have one just distribute with your hands as shown in pic 3 above.
- Toast the breadcrumbs for 10 minutes at 325f until crunchy. Set the seasoned breadcrumbs aside to use below when preparing the butternut squash parmigiana.
How to make butternut squash parmigiana
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Preheat oven to 400f and set the rack to the middle level. Peel 2 large butternut squash, slice in half, and remove seeds. Slice the halves crosswise into ¼" thick pieces.
- Place those pieces on parchment paper lined baking sheets and drizzle with a ¼ cup of olive oil. Season the pieces with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a ½ teaspoon black pepper divided amongst all pieces. Roast the pieces for 20 minutes.
- Using this 15-minute marinara recipe, spread a thick layer of sauce into a 3-quart baking dish. Place one layer of the squash pieces, then more sauce on top. Note: Any square, rectangle, or round baking dish is fine.
- Next distribute ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese and ⅓ of the Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Sprinkle ⅓ of the chopped sage and then repeat with 2 more layers. Any extra butternut squash can be saved for another purpose, or if you have extra sauce and enough height left in the dish, make an extra layer.
- Cover the baking dish with a layer of parchment paper, then foil (prevents any cheese sticking), and bake for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, sprinkle a layer of the seasoned breadcrumbs all over the top and bake uncovered for 5 more minutes.
- After removing the butternut squash parmigiana from the oven, wait for at least 20 minutes to cut into it and serve so that the juices settle.
Making butternut squash parmigiana doesn't have to be difficult.
Having these helpful tips in your back pocket will hopefully make it even easier!
- Microwave the squash before slicing. Warming the butternut squash for about 3 minutes in the microwave will help soften the thick skin, requiring less effort when peeling the squash.
- Cover with parchment, then foil when baking. Placing a layer of parchment paper on top of any cheesy dish, like baked ziti, or any other parmigiana will help prevent sticking. Cheese likes to stick to foil, and the parchment providers a non-stick barrier.
- Make the breadcrumbs in advance. Making homemade breadcrumbs in advance can cut down on the prep time needed when you're ready to make the butternut squash parm. Store them in the refrigerator and use them to top pasta or salads.
- Use my 15-minute marinara sauce. I know it may be tempting to use store-bought marinara. But, the marinara sauce we make is so simple, and quick that it can really be made in the same amount of time it takes to warm up a jar of store-bought sauce.
More butternut squash recipes
We love butternut squash here at Sip and Feast. During the cooler months, it seems we are eating it in some way, shape, or form at least once a week. Here are a few of our favorite ways to prepare it.
- Butternut squash gnocchi - With sage brown butter sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano, and grated amaretti cookies.
- Baked butternut squash pasta - Like baked ziti, but with a creamy butternut squash sauce and sage.
- Butternut squash soup - Creamy puree of butternut squash soup with apples and maple syrup.
- Butternut squash chili - With roasted poblano peppers for some heat.
- Roasted butternut squash - With pumpkin seeds and brown sugar.
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For the seasoned breadcrumbs
- 4 slices bread toasted
- ¼ cup parsley minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 clove garlic minced
For the butternut squash parmigiana
- 2 large butternut squash sliced into ¼" thick pieces
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound mozzarella shredded
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 4 cups marinara sauce see notes below
- 3 tablespoons sage chopped
For seasoned breadcrumbs
- Toast 4 slices of bread at 325f until dry (about 30 minutes).
- Place the bread, parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes into a food processor and pulse to make coarse breadcrumbs.
- Lay the breadcrumbs out on a large baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes at 325f.
For the butternut squash parmigiana
- Preheat oven to 400f and set the rack to middle level. Peel 2 large butternut squash, slice in half, and remove seeds. Slice the halves crosswise into ¼" thick pieces.
- Place squash pieces on parchment paper lined baking sheets and drizzle olive oil onto all the pieces. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes at 400f.
- Spread a thick layer of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9 by 13" baking dish. Place 1 layer of roasted butternut squash pieces, then another thick layer of sauce. Next spread out ⅓ of the mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, and sage. Repeat for 2 more layers.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper, then foil over the dish and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes remove the covering and sprinkle a thick layer of the seasoned breadcrumbs on top. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for 5 more minutes or until bubbly and toasty.
- Wait at least 20 minutes before cutting into the butternut squash parmigiana so that it solidifies a bit. Enjoy!
- Use this marinara sauce recipe or a storebought version.
- Seasoned breadcrumbs can be made in advance and should be stored in the refrigerator. Use leftover breadcrumbs for pasta toppings, chicken cutlets, or whatever you like.
- Extra butternut squash pieces can be saved for another purpose or if there is enough room left in the baking dish, make another layer.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the oven at 325f until warm or in the microwave.