As the summer harvest continues, here's one more recipe for you: Southwest Zucchini Casserole. This recipe takes zucchini to a whole new level, with gooey cheesy goodness and a kick of spicy green chile.
Here in southern New Mexico, the smell of roasting green chile is a sure sign of late summer. When I go outside in the morning, I can smell the wonderful fragrance wafting up from the valley to the west. As the abundant summer squash harvest continues, this is a perfect time to pair zucchini with chile in this casserole.
Pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and green chile give this recipe a southwestern flavor boost. The cream cheese gives this casserole a nice creaminess and the crushed crackers provide just enough crispy texture on top. My kids and I love this recipe, and when we've served it to company it was a hit there, too!
NOTE: This recipe can be made with any summer squash, including zucchini, yellow squash, or even pattypan squash.
Southwest Zucchini Casserole
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Baking Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
3 Tb butter, preferably from grassfed cows
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
4 medium zucchinis and/or other summer squash (such as yellow squash or pattypans), to make ~2 pounds total
2 cloves garlic, minced
1&1/2 tsp chunky Celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup roasted, chopped green chile (choose mild, medium, or hot according to your spicy preference)
juice from half a lemon (~2 Tb)
3/4 cup sour cream
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs, preferably from pastured hens
15 round buttery crackers, preferably organic
Chop the onion.
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and 1 tsp salt. Saute for about 7 minutes, until the onion is starting to soften. It's okay if the onion takes on a bit of brown, caramelized color while cooking.
In the meantime, chop the zucchini/squash.
Add the zucchini/squash to the onion. Season with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Saute for about 8-10 minutes, until the squash is nearly cooked through. (If you're using pattypan squash, add a few minutes to the cooking time in this step.)
In the meantime, mince the garlic. Shred the pepper jack cheese using the large side of a box grater.
Once the squash has cooked for 8-10 minutes, add the minced garlic to the skillet. Saute just until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Turn off heat and allow to cool a bit.
Combine the eggs, cream cheese, and sour cream in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined.
Stir the cheese into the creamy mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Crush the crackers in a bowl. I find that my fist works well initially, followed by a fork to further crush the crackers.
Stir the green chile and lemon juice into the veggie mixture.
In an 8X8 glass baking dish, layer half of the veggie mixture, then half of the creamy mixture, then the remaining veggies, and then the remaining creamy mixture. Top it with the crushed crackers.
Bake the casserole for about 35-40 minutes, until bubbling and lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. This casserole makes a great side dish or it can even serve as your main course.
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