Butternut Squash and Kale Bread Pudding

24 Nov

A new weekly tradition in my world is Meatless Mondays, a concept aimed at reducing my overall intake of meat.  On the surface, this concept may seem silly to foodies, especially considering the fact that I’m the type who takes specialized road trips for the purpose of consuming ungodly amounts of BBQ.  Don’t worry, I still love my “research projects,” but for the everyday routine I felt the need to cut back on meat for the following reasons:

  • Americans eat way too much red meat and the diet can lead to detrimental health effects.  I’m all about balance and moderation.  If I want mybig ol’ juicy ribeye once or twice a month, I better counteract that with some Meatless Mondays.
  • “Animal-based foods unambiguously use more energy and causes more pollution than plant-based foods…livestock accounts for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 8 percent of global water use.” (see citations and background research at Econerd Food)  This was one of the issues addressed at a recent lecture I attended at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.  I’m still exploring and reseaching my own stance on eating ethically while not placing too many limitations on my innate food curiosity, but Meatless Mondays seemed like a step in the right direction.

This Bon Appetit recipe caught my eye as a satiating dish that offers a wide mix of textures and flavors inspite of its lack of a meat component.  The two main ingredients, butternut squash and kale, offer great sources of fiber, Vitamin A, iron, calcium, and Vitamin K.  I modified a few of the other ingredients to decrease the fat and cholesterol.

Butternut Squash and Kale Bread Pudding


Serves 5-6 as main dish, 8 as side dish

1 medium butternut squash (about 1.5 to 2 lbs), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bunch kale (1 to 1.5 lbs), rinsed and dried, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
2 large eggs (egg yolk and egg white) and 3 large eggs (egg whites only)
6-8 thick slices of day old French bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
3 large shallots, chopped
6 oz coarsely grated cheddar cheese
2 cups skim or low fat milk
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp of butter or margarine
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Toss squash with 1 tbsp of olive oil on rimmed baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and egg whites in large bowl.  Add milk, wine, mustard, and 1 tsp salt, whisking together to blend.  Add in bread cubes, gently folding into milk and egg mixture.  Let soak in fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add shallots and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add kale and 1 tbsp of water, cover and cook for 2 minutes until kale is mostly wilted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Uncover and stir fry until kale is a little crunchy, 2 to 3 more minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 (after squash is done roasting).  Butter the bottom and sides of a large baking dish.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of soaked bread cubes to baking dish, spreading them to cover the bottom of the baking dish.  Spoon half of kale and shallot mixture over bread cubes.

Spoon half of squash over kale, sprinkle with half of the cheddar cheese. 

Repeat layering with remaining bread cubes, kale, squash, and cheddar.  Pour remaining egg and milk mixture over casserole.

Cover casserole with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake until egg custard is set, about 20 to 25 more minutes.

Preheat broiler.  Broil casserole until cheese browns slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.  Cool 3-5 minutes before serving.

4 Responses to “Butternut Squash and Kale Bread Pudding”

  1. Hayley 11/24/2009 at 9:08 pm #

    So…how does M like this?

  2. diynovice 11/24/2009 at 10:06 pm #

    It was very delicious. Although, it could have used a side of bacon 🙂

  3. FatCap 11/26/2009 at 9:54 am #

    FWIW, I think both McWilliams’ research (for his book) and lecture to be sloppy and intellectually lazy (as pointed out, albeit not as focused as by farmer/rancher Robert Hutchins, whose operation is, BTW, in Greenville). Had his book (which, unlike a scientific journal article, isn’t peer-reviewed) been a dissertation and I on his review committee, I’d have raked him over the coals. I also didn’t like his “look how smart I am” stance on the Q&A panel, so cartoonishly typical of academics who don’t have to deal with real-world concerns, hubris-filled in their obliviousness of their own ignorance of actual utility. For real, he answered Hutchins’ criticique with, “[if you don’t like my viewpoint], write your own book.” Really? That’s your response?

    Read what grist.org had to say about this book:

    “Unambiguously”? sez who? Check this one fact: what is wet-paddy rice cultivation’s contribution to global methane production? (for those new to this discussion, methane is 15-21 times, depending whose analysis you believe, more potent a greenhouse gas than its more hyped cousin, carbon dioxide and can be produced by the microbial breakdown of cellulose, such as happens in cattle digestive tracts, but also elsewhere).

    Let’s all do more than just consume the easy “facts” fed to us, lest we be no better than “cattle” gorging ourselves in an information CAFO.

    While I agree that Americans eat too much, period, like diynovice, I like to “counter” my monthly NY strip with fillers of pork belly, chicken, and chocolate. All sustainable and in small portions, of course. Riiiight.

  4. Kelly@EvilShenanigans 12/01/2009 at 1:19 pm #

    I love butternut squash. I have been eating a lot of it this Fall. It is so versatile and very popular so it is almost always a good option for holiday dinners. Your bread pudding sounds smashing!!

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