It’s time to take your Thanksgiving side dishes to the next level with this cheesy baked zucchini squash gratin! It’s creamy and packed full of zucchini, yellow squash, spinach and gruyere cheese.
Every year I grimace a bit over the Thanksgiving side dishes. Do I go slow cooker orange carrots or brussels salad (that is always a must for Christmas at least!) Candied pecan bacon brussels sprouts? This year I KNOW my side dish run down. Ready?
- Mashed Potatoes
- Homemade Rolls
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Creamy Gruyere Baked Zucchini Squash Gratin. IT’S SO GOOD!
I was watching a little Ina Garten one evening waiting for Cade to get home and I NEVER watch tv so I was totally excited to be soaking in a little inspiration. Ina (like we’re on first name basis) was cranking out a little zucchini and rice dish and I have been making my own version ever since.
Ingredients for Zucchini Gratin
You will need a few veggies, a couple of fresh herbs, two kinds of cheese, and a few other ingredients to make this delicious vegetable side dish. Here is your grocery list:
- Butter – adds flavor and keeps the veggies from sticking to the pan
- Olive Oil – cooks all the veggies before baking
- Yellow Squash
- Shallot – flavor
- Garlic – flavor
- Fresh Thyme – flavor, freshness
- Fresh Parsley – flavor, freshness
- Nutmeg – this might be surprising, but trust me…it adds a little pop of flavor
- Lemon Juice – flavor pop, and cuts through the richness
- Eggs – binder
- Heavy Cream – richness
- Gruyere – such great flavor and makes the dish so gooey
- Parmesan – salty flavor and golden crispy topping
The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card down below.
How to Make Zucchini Squash Gratin
You don’t want a side dish that is super complicated, especially for Thanksgiving. This recipe is so easy, which is exactly what you want! You can even make it a day ahead and pop it into the oven right before your Thanksgiving feast. Here are the basic steps:
- Preheat the oven.
- Place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Saute the zucchini, squash and shallots.
- NOTE: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, butter an oven safe dish and set it aside. Saute the vegetables in a skillet on the stove top. You will transfer everything to the buttered dish for baking.
- Add the garlic.
- Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Then add the thyme, parsley, nutmeg, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss everything together. Transfer it to the buttered cast iron dish.
- Whisk the eggs, cream, remaining melted butter and parmesan together. Pour the mixture over the veggies then sprinkle the top with the gruyere.
- NOTE: If you’re using a separate baking dish, transfer the vegetables to the baking dish before pouring the egg mixture over the top.
- Bake and sprinkle with the reserved parmesan. Serve!
These instructions can also be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
You don’t have to have a mandolin to slice your zucchini and squash but it sure makes life easier.
Can I Use Frozen Spinach?
Yes, frozen spinach will work great. I would wring out the moisture from the frozen spinach before adding it.
Look out Ina Garten! This baked zucchini, squash, spinach medley with creamy gruyere cheese is going to be everyone’s favorite of all the Thanksgiving side dishes!
More Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- No Fuss Stuffing
- Instant Pot Cheesy Potatoes
- Gruyere Sweet Potato Stacks
- Sweet Potato Souffle
- Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Salad
- Green Beans and Potatoes
- Zucchini Sausage Casserole
- Roasted Garlic Vegetables
Creamy Gruyere Baked Zucchini Squash Gratin
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted and divided
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Zucchini, sliced thin (we use a mandolin)
- 2 Yellow Squash, sliced thin
- 1 Shallot, sliced thin
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Cups Spinach, packed into the measuring cup or see note
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley , chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 4 Large Eggs
- 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream, whole milk or half and half work if needed
- 3/4 Cup Gruyere Cheese, grated
- 1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet (see note) over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, squash and shallots and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the pan while stirring with a wooden spoon and cook for one minute.
- Add the spinach to the pan and stir until wilted and then stir in the thyme, parsley, nutmeg, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and toss well. (Transfer to the buttered baking dish if you aren't using a cast iron skillet now)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter, and the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour the mixture all over the spinach and zucchini, then sprinkle with Gruyere.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with reserved parmesan and serve!
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Hi, looks delicious! Must try it. My question is can you not make it all in the butter cast iron instead of using a separate pan?
Hi Jackie! Great question! It’s because so many readers said they don’t have oven safe pans. So I use a cast iron skillet to make the whole recipe but for those who can’t, you’ll need to butter a dish as it’s going to be transferred. I will make that more clear in the instructions. Thank you for bringing that to my attention! Enjoy!
Looks amazing. Can it be made before and frozen?
Hi Leslie! Unfortunately, this recipe doesn’t freeze well. With all the dairy in it, it will separate and not turn out correctly.
Is there a way to make this healthier?
Hi Jacquie! Geez…I wish there was! I mean, you could replace the heavy cream with whole milk or half and half like it mentions in the recipe. You could also reduce the amount of cheese added slightly, but then you are going to lose some flavor and texture. I hope this helps, but it’s really just one of those recipes you indulge in occasionally.