Spicy Squash Casserole with Cornbread is a Tex-Mex-meets-Southern mixture of yellow squash, peppers, corn, green chilies, and dried crumbled cornbread held together with a cream sauce and cheese. If you do not love this, I promise to come and eat your leftovers.
If you’re a cornbread lover, what do you do with the leftovers?
My father-in-law used to stuff leftover cornbread into a glass and pour buttermilk over it. It might be good, but I’ve never tried it. Have you?
But more often than not, I throw leftover cornbread in the freezer and save it for this recipe. It’s the perfect excuse for making too much cornbread.
I was introduced to a version of this Squash and Cornbread Casserole at a restaurant many years ago. It was so delicious that I never forgot about it.
Over the years, I’ve perfected and tweaked this recipe. It’s like a marriage between cornbread dressing and a Tex-Mex yellow squash casserole. The green chilies and corn take it over the top.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- YELLOW SQUASH: Yellow squash is considered a summer squash. It is somewhat sweeter than zucchini.
Try to buy the smaller yellow squash in the store. If you grow them yourself, be sure to pick them before they get too big and tough. Peeling is not necessary.
- ONIONS: Yellow or white onions would both be appropriate in this recipe.
- BELL PEPPERS: Use red, yellow, or orange peppers. Green peppers are not as sweet as the other colors and have their own distinctive flavor. Suit yourself. Using many colors adds visual appeal to this recipe.
***Did you know you can chop and freeze bell peppers? Wash, seed, and chop. Place them into a plastic bag and drop them into the freezer.
- MUSHROOMS: White button mushrooms are the easiest to come by in my area, so that’s what I use. Canned mushroom bits and pieces are the cheapest way to go. Leave them out if you don’t like or can’t buy mushrooms.
- MILK: Use fat-free, low-fat, whole milk, or evaporated milk.
- CORN: This is a very important ingredient in my book. Fresh corn cut off the cob is the best, of course. But I rarely have that. Frozen corn is almost as good. Use canned corn as a last resort.
- GREEN CHILIES: Green chilies add the spice in this recipe. Start with a 4 oz. jar of chopped chilies (or less if you’re a bit timid about chilis). Add more chilis if you like spicy food. A dash of Sriracha sauce will also add some quick spice.
- CORNBREAD–DRIED AND CRUMBLED: Use cornbread made from a mix like Jiffy if you don’t have leftovers. As mentioned earlier, I pull cornbread out the freezer because my favorite cornbread recipe makes too much for the two of us.
See the notes in the recipe for how to dry and crumble your cornbread.
- CHEESE: The recipe calls for 1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese or Monterrey Jack. Use Pepper Jack if you want more spice.
Can I make this casserole ahead of time?
You can make this earlier in the day, refrigerate and bake. I prefer to bake it the same day I assemble it so the cornbread won’t get too mushy.
Leftovers taste even better in my book because the flavors blend and meld.
How To Make Spicy Squash and Cornbread Casserole:
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- 4 c. yellow squash, chopped (3 small squash or 2 medium squash)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup red or green bell peppers, chopped
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, cut into small slices
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 4 ounces chopped green chilies (more or less depending on your taste)
- 2 cups dried cornbread, crumbled (See note)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (4 ounces) Cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
- Cook yellow squash with a small amount of added water. I use the microwave on HIGH for about 8-9 minutes. Mash squash with fork or masher and drain well. Set aside.
- While the squash cooks, sauté chopped onions and red bell peppers in melted butter in a heavy skillet. After they soften, add mushrooms and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of flour to softened veggies. Cook and stir for about two minutes, then add milk to make a sauce. Stir and cook on medium-low until thickened like gravy.
- Add corn, green chilies, and cooked, drained, squash. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the dried cornbread and cheese. If you prefer, save half the cheese to sprinkle on top in step 5.
- Place into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Place into a 400˚F oven for 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top during the last 5 minutes.
Crumble cornbread with your hands and let it dry on the counter for a few hours. You can hasten the process using an oven at 300˚F until the cornbread is dry. Can't specify a time as it will depend on how moist the cornbread is to begin with. Mine usually takes 15 minutes.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 324Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 686mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 11g