Super flavorful and delicious, Sausage, Butternut Squash and Yam (or Sweet Potato) Casserole is easy to make ahead and freeze, making it a perfect Thanksgiving side dish!
For some, Thanksgiving is about grand parades, football or even annual 5K morning runs. But, for the Clayton family – it’s always been about the favorite foods that draw our family together. Like many, we celebrate with the traditional dishes, but through the years we’ve updated our favorites with new flavors, hints of spice and unexpected twists.
The traditional yam (or sweet potato) dish was the first to get a Thanksgiving meal makeover. While a sweet staple, you won’t find candied sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows on our table. We gave this dish a savory update by combining yams and butternut squash with sausage and cheddar cheese. Nutmeg and pecans give the dish a decidedly modern update.
This recipe has become a Clayton family Thanksgiving tradition, and has been adopted by many other homes that I have taken it to as part of a potluck dinner. We don’t like yam dishes that are too sweet and haven’t been able to find another recipe we like as much as this one. Another bonus? You can make it ahead and freeze it, reducing holiday stress.
Confused about the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? Find the answers at Yams or Sweet Potatoes?
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We gave the traditional sweet potato side dish a savory update by combining yams and butternut squash with sausage and Cheddar cheese. Nutmeg and pecans give the dish a decidedly modern update.
- 1 3/4 pounds yams (or sweet potatoes), peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 3/4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pound bulk pork sausage
- 1/2 heaping cup chopped green onions (white, light green and some of the dark green portion)
- 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small roasting pan, toss together chopped yams and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; toss again.
- In a second roasting pan, toss together chopped butternut squash and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; toss again.
- Place pans in the oven and roast vegetables for 15 minutes. Rotate pans, stir vegetables and continue roasting for another 15 to 20 minutes or until tender enough to mash. Remove from oven, mash vegetables and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in butter and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart shallow baking or gratin dish.
- Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring and breaking up. When sausage is no longer pink add green onions and sauté until sausage is cooked through, stirring occasionally, and continuing to break up into bits, about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat, strain off any fat and set aside.
- Spread half yam/squash mixture in prepared baking dish, top with half the sausage and half the grated cheese. Repeat layers, and top with chopped nuts. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
Gluten free: Use gluten free sausage.
Make ahead: The casserole can be prepared but not baked earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated, or frozen for up to a month. Return to room temperature before baking.
Variation (original recipe method): Instead of roasting, steam the yams and butternut squash until tender enough to mash, about 20 minutes.