Last week when I made the Baked Ham with Cranberry Apricot Glaze, I also made some low carb side dishes to go along with it. One was the truly delicious Creamed Kale recipe I posted yesterday, and the other was this melt in your mouth Butternut Squash & Fennel Gratin.
They both complemented the ham and each other beautifully, so if you’re looking for a relatively easy low carb dinner menu for entertaining guests or family then this is definitely a great option!
The butternut squash and fennel combined has a lovely sweet and slightly anise flavor – I love the tang that the blue cheese gives it, but if you aren’t a blue cheese fan you could substitute goat cheese or even gruyere or swiss with great results!
I recommend choosing a butternut squash with a long neck and after peeling it using a very sharp chef’s knife or a mandolin to slice it into uniform slices of around 1/4 inch thick.
I didn’t even have to use the cavity part for mine because the neck of the squash I found was abnormally long, but if you do it’s not a big deal – just hide the ugly pieces at the bottom and nobody will ever know! ?
As far as the fennel goes, it will likely come apart into rings anyway so you don’t need to worry too much about how neat your slices are, just make sure they aren’t too thick or they won’t soften at the same rate as the squash during cooking.
This Butternut Squash & Fennel Gratin is a delicious and healthy low carb side dish that reheats really well if you want to make it in advance. Perfect when you’re entertaining or anytime you want a comforting home cooked meal.
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- 4 cups peeled butternut squash slices, approximately 1/4 inch thick
- 3 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
- 1 tsp butter to grease dish
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 2 oz good quality blue cheese (or another cheese)
- salt and pepper
- Grease a 9 x 9 casserole dish or equivalent with 1 tsp butter. Layer the squash first and then the fennel, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper between each layer.
- Combine the almond milk, heavy whipping cream, butter and cheese in a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 2 minutes or until mostly melted. (or melt in a saucepan)
- Pour the cream mixture evenly over the vegetables.
- Cover loosely with foil and bake in a 350 degree (F) oven for 60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes or until slightly browned on the top.
- Let set for 10 minutes before serving.