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Creamy Turkey, Butternut Squash, Kale and Rice Casserole

Some clarification – this is cream-less “creamy”; gluten and dairy free – probably paleo, whole 30 and definitely lectin free, since I made it for my husband. Remember when I made him that quick turkey curry recipe three straight weeks in a row (and he ate it four nights in a row each week)? I got sick of making it before he got sick of eating it, so this was it’s replacement (and I’ve made it twice now). I made a recipe this past summer that had a coconut milk based “cream sauce” and I realized that if you add the right stuff, you can make coconut milk based sauce not taste like coconut anymore. Chicken broth, spices and herbs, and nutritional yeast are the players, and the end result is so good I kept “tasting it” with my spoon way after I’d determined it was finished.

Tons of room here to make this like you want it. The starch on the bottom could be any kind of rice, or even a gluten free pasta (rotini would be great), just make sure whatever it is is cooked first. Next comes meat; again, you could sub chicken, ground pork or lamb, or even beef (though I like it best with a white meat). The veggies here are seasonal squash and kale, but you could sub sweet potatoes/spinach or another root vegetable/hardy green combination. The sauce ties it all together. It doesn’t get baked again, no need, so serve it once you’ve topped it or cover and heat portions as needed. This stayed fresh and absolutely delicious for four nights.

Creamy Turkey, Butternut Squash, Kale and Rice Casserole 

Serves 6-8

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1 inch cubes

3 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

3 c. (packed) kale, torn into bite sized pieces

1 1/2 c. raw rice, cooked (pressure cooked for lectin free)

1 lb. ground turkey

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning


1 can coconut milk

1 1/2 c. chicken broth

1 tbsp. tapioca starch

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. rubbed sage

1 tbsp. nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place squash and olive oil on pan large rimmed baking sheet and toss to combine. Spread out and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until deep golden brown on bottom and cooked through. Stir and top evenly with kale. Return to oven for an additional five minutes until kale is wilted.
  2. Meanwhile, heat skillet over medium heat and add turkey. Cook, breaking up meat, until no longer pink. Add salt and Italian seasoning and set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan, add sauce ingredients and whisk well. Heat over high heat until bubbling – reduce to medium low and let simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened, about five minutes.
  4. Place cooked rice in bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Top with meat, then vegetables, then drizzle sauce evenly over top. Serve.