A comforting (but healthy!) cardamom-spiced butternut squash gratin with kale and toasted almonds – creamy crunchy and totally delicious.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Blue Apron. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. Keep reading to find out how you can get an AWESOME discount on your first order!

cardamom-spiced butternut squash and kale gratin

When trying to figure out what to make for dinner feels like the sequel to Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Every recipe has too much of this, doesn’t use up enough of that, and requires a trip to the grocery store for an ingredient that is only sold in 12 pound bottles that may just take you the better part of a decade to use up.

Welcome to EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. Or, at least one night a week, but still. That’s one night too many.


If you’re nodding at me with weary eyes right now thinking YES YES YES! THAT! EXACTLY!

Then (a) obviously we are soulmates and (b) I have to tell you about Blue Apron.

AKA my secret “what’s for dinner?!” weapon.


Blue Apron is basically a grocery delivery service that allows you to create delicious, chef-designed recipes at home. Basically, they provide the ingredients and the recipes, and then you do the cooking. The selection of recipes that you can choose from changes every week, with each of them emphasizing seasonal ingredients and flavors. What I love about the recipes is that they are not your run-of-the-mill boring meals. They span a wide range of different cuisines and don’t shy from including more esoteric ingredients. For example, my menu included Saba – a thick grape syrup almost like very thick and sweet balsamic vinegar – in a salad dressing, which I had never heard of before. The recipes definitely try to push you out of your cooking comfort zone, at least a little, while guiding you every step of the way so you don’t feel totally overwhelmed.

You can choose either the 2-person plan or the family plan, which feeds a family of four. The 2-person plan comes with one delivery a week, each delivering three inventive meals that serve two people (although two of the dishes that I made did seem to serve 3-4 – yay for lunch leftovers!!), while with the family plan you can receive either one or two deliveries per week, each consisting of two meals. For the 2-person plan, you get to choose from 6 different recipes (3 meat/fish and 3 vegetarian), while for the family plan you can choose from 4. The prices for the two plans are $9.99 and $8.74, respectively, per person per meal and shipping is always free.

For the delivery, you can choose from a variety of delivery times – either during the day or after work. The ingredients are delivered in a refrigerated box, so even if they are delivered while you’re not home, they will stay fresh. Blue Apron delivers to over 80% of the country (you can check here for the different delivery zones).

blue apron menus

I opted for the 2-person vegetarian plan, so I received the ingredients for three recipes: Vegetable Tom Yum Soup with Napa Cabbage & Tofu, Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Freekeh Salad with Pickled Raisins, Shaved Parmesan & Hazelnuts, and Cardamom-Spiced Butternut Squash Gratin with Kale & Toasted Almonds (featured today). For each recipe, I received a menu card that described the dish, listed the ingredients, and illustrated a few of the key (and/or tricky!) steps involved.

This possibly speaks to my laziness, but I loved that the ingredients were pre-measured so all I had to do was prep and go. I am so bad about getting everything ready before I start cooking and am usually running around trying to find everything I need as I’m cooking (leading me to burn ALL THE THINGS), but with the first step of every recipe being to prep everything, it went so much more smoothly.


The first recipe I choose to try was the cardamom-spiced butternut squash gratin with kale and almonds.

This is likely a surprise to no one because BUTTERNUT and KALE and QUINOA. It’s like they created this recipe just for me.

We. Loved. This.

Honestly, I was a little wary of what the.boy would think because BUTTERNUT and KALE and QUINOA. But no. It was definitely love.

The sweetness of the squash is brought out by the creaminess of coconut milk and and a mix of cardamom, saffron, and cayenne. It pairs perfectly with the nutty quinoa and earthy kale, with a little bit of crunch from the breadcrumb topping. It’s definitely something I could see myself making again. And again. And again.

Oh, and it definitely made enough to serve 4 people. Which is such a good thing because the leftovers felt so good on so many levels.


Now for the key question – would I use Blue Apron again? YES.

Sometimes you want to make dinner but you just don’t want to think about what to make, am I right? Besides, I’ve been scanning through their recipe list and there are about a gazillion recipe I want to make, like the Fresh Chestnut Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Ghee, and Poppy Seeds, the Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos, and the Moroccan-Spiced Heirloom Cauliflower Salad, to name a few.

To get you guys SUPER excited about Blue Apron, the first 50 readers to order from Blue Apron (using this link!) will receive two free meals on their first order. WIN. (And JEALOUS.)

Cardamom-Spiced Butternut Squash and Kale Gratin
A comforting (but healthy!) cardamom-spiced butternut squash gratin with kale and toasted almonds - creamy crunchy and totally delicious.
Yield: 2-4 servings
  • ½ cup red quinoa
  • ½ bunch curly kale
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 leek
  • 3 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 (2 oz) packet coconut cream powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp saffron
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Heat two large pots of salted water to boiling on high. Once the first pot of water is boiling, add the quinoa. Cook, stirring occasionally, 18-20 minutes, or until tender; drain thoroughly and set aside.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Separate the kale stems and leaves; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Peel and halve the butternut squash lengthwise; scoop out and discard the seeds. Medium dice the squash. Trim off and discard the roots and upper, dark green leaves of the leek. Halve the leek lengthwise and rinse thoroughly, keeping the layers intact. Small dice the leek. Peel and mince the ginger. Roughly chop the almonds. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut cream powder and ½ cup hot water. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. While the quinoa continues to cook, add the butternut squash to the second pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 7-9 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain thoroughly and set aside. Rinse out the pot.
  4. While the squash cooks, heat a small, dry pan on medium heat until hot. Add the almonds and toast, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan. In the same pan, toast the breadcrumbs on medium, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  5. In the same pot used to cook the squash, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the ginger, leek, and spices. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until the leek is tender and the spices are fragrant. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined. Add the coconut cream mixture and ¾ cup water. Cook, stirring frequently, 4-5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  6. Stir the kale, toasted almonds, and golden raisins into the spiced bechamel. Cook, stirring constantly, until the kale has wilted. Stir in the cooked quinoa and squash. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, until well combined. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a baking dish and top with the toasted breadcrumbs.
Recipe from Blue Apron
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl


cardamom spiced butternut squash and kale gratin collage
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54 Responses to Cardamom-Spiced Butternut Squash and Kale Gratin

  1. Trisha says:

    Butternut squash + Quinoa + Kale + Gratin? All.the.things. I’d love the fact that everything is pre-measured too!

  2. It sounds like a perfect solution to those busy weekdays when there is no time for grocery shopping and prep work. Nice!

  3. I’ve been tempted to try Blue Apron for a while but really should just do it soon. How much easier is meal planning when they do it for you??

  4. Sues says:

    I think we’re soul mates because this dish has pretty much all my favorite things!!

  5. I love that cardamom in there!! Such a delicious way to make a gratin 🙂

  6. I’ve heard so much about Blue Apron! I’d love to give them a try sometime. This gratin looks incredible.

  7. This has everything I love, Joanne. A fantastic gratin!

  8. Christian says:

    I would love to try this, but unfortunately they seem to be avoiding the middle of the US like the plague. What’s up with that? Texas is the 3rd largest state in the Union and we get no love. 🙁

  9. Thanks for this post! I have been curious about Blue Apron because even though I meal plan, by thursday night I am out of ideas and this would be perfect. This meal looks amazing!

  10. I am ALWAYS “running around trying to find everything I need as I’m cooking” too! Blue Apron sounds like such a cool service idea.
    Cardamom is such an under rated spice – so love seeing it in this savory butternut squash and kale gratin, Joanne.

  11. Heather says:

    I am desperate for Blue Apron to ship to Minnesota. I love the idea of this and the recipes always sound so good and different.

  12. Sammie says:

    ooh Blue Apron sounds like an interesting option. And your salad looks amazing as always!

  13. Julia says:

    I keep hearing great things about Blue Apron in the blogging world, and I’m thinking I need to see what the whole thing is about. It certainly sounds brilliant and I’m allllll about trying someone else’s recipes for a change 🙂 PLUS: Pre-measured ingredients for.the.win!!

  14. cheri says:

    Cardamom is my most favorite of all spices, love, love this dish!

  15. I am totally in love with au gratin things. I’ve made both potato AND brussels sprouts lately, sooo good!

  16. OMG so much yummmmmm! This looks amazing! Would woulda known they had such great vegetarian stuff.

  17. I love Blue Apron! Such an easy way to get ingredients and make a meal. Your butternut squash gratin looks absolutely amazing!

  18. Oh, I love the addition of cardamom in this recipe – Blue Apron sounds like a great service.

  19. Oh, kale! I am going to be won over with anything that has kale in it. This sounds delicious.

  20. Mise en place. I marvel at how much easier dinner is (and yes, how much less food I destroy) when I do it, and yet I only do it about 3 times a year for gigantic, holiday-type meals where I need to have my stuff together or risk being made out to be a kitchen fraud.

    Allllllso, just saw that you’re going to be at FBF next month – super excited to meet you in real life 🙂

  21. Joanne, I love all the grocery delivery services out there now like Blue Apron! and there’s really no excuse now for eating healthy and good food!! I love this!! and I love your cardamom-spiced-butternut-squash-kale-gratin!!! brilliant, as always!

  22. grace says:

    oh, i do love a gratin! cardamom is woefully neglected in this country–kudos for giving it some attention!

  23. This looks absolutely fabulous, Joanne! I’m really intrigued by the cardamom in it. Sounds so good!

  24. Kate says:

    This looks like one of the best vegetarian “prepared meals” I have ever seen.

  25. Amanda says:

    I love this, you can’t get any better than healthy comfort food!

  26. This looks so amazing! I am needing to use my kale right now. This should be my next meal!

  27. I am so loving the kale in this dish. I know now that I can’t visit your blog without eating first lol.

  28. Kelly says:

    Blue Apron sounds like a great service and especially helpful for those nights you have no idea what to make. Love this butternut squash kale gratin! It looks amazing and the cardamom sounds fabulous in here!

  29. Mira says:

    It doesn’t get any better- healthy comfort food! Love the use of quinoa, too!

  30. Oh, Joanne, I’m totally with you on the whole ‘what can I cook tonight that doesn’t take too much – no, let’s rephrase that – any – effort’ thing. That happens to me nearly every night, too!
    This is a great option though for people who want to cook but don’t want to think about it! I get that!
    Great dish you started with, too. Super tasty and so so healthy!

  31. Hotly Spiced says:

    This is a great service for busy people and it looks like they have a good range of healthy and interesting meals. It would be so convenient to have all the ingredients ready-measured xx

  32. Zainab says:

    Oh this will solve so many days!! The dilemma of what to make after a day of failed experiments is the worst. Love this gratin!!

  33. Sippitysup says:

    If I ever have children I’m going to name my first born Cardamom. Which of course means there will never be a Cardamom Alison (or Alistair) Henry in this world. XOGREG

  34. Honestly, when I saw the big bowl of butternut squash gratin, I tried to lick the bowl. It didn’t work. #lickfail Guess I’ll have to try this at home. Delicious, Joanne!

  35. Love the sound of this healthy gratin! I’m a huge fan of Blue Apron and have used it on the weeks when I’m feeling lazy. It’s the best.

  36. Sarah Jones says:

    I’d love to try this recipe, but am not confident that I could find coconut cream powder without ordering it specially off Amazon. I’ve never cooked with it before, what would you suggest as a substitute?

  37. Never heard to a service like Blue Apron. But recipes like these will certainly win people
    over. Inventive, but easily doable. I love cardamom anyway. But I was very taken with how
    visually appealing the dish is.

  38. YUM! this company reminds me a another service similar to this one, but a little more expensive and it was aired on Shark Tank about a year ago. This is a great service to know- and your the recipe you prepared sounds amazing and – bet it is! Thanks for sharing.

  39. Blue Apron sounds like the most brilliant thing ever. I love this dish with the exotic spices and all. It’s just sooooo perfect! 🙂

  40. where in the world do you come up with this stuff! I mean its like off of a restaurant menu at times. It is so creative and so fun and so delicious. I just wish I could eat this dish and chat with ya someday

  41. Teffy says:

    This looks amazing!!!
    I love cardamom, but so far I’ve stuck to the safe side and only used it in sweet baking, but I’m loving the idea of adding it to squash!!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  42. Some days I would love this option 🙂

  43. Obsessing over this! I love all the flavors and cardamom is such a rockstar in any dish 🙂

  44. Katerina says:

    Delicious dish and packed with cardamom flavor!

  45. I’ve been wanting to try out Blue Apron for ages ever since finding their Instagram a while back. Your post has convinced me! Gotta love when someone else does the shopping for you 🙂

  46. Cailee says:

    WOW!! This looks amazing! So delicious and nourishing! 🙂 Great recipe! I’ve never tried red quinoa! …but I’m nuts about almonds! 🙂

  47. CARDAMOM. It’s the best spice ever. I love this already!

  48. A gratin that would have hipsters fighting all over it, I’m sure 😀
    Beautiful recipe the kale looks so fresh!

    Choc Chip Uru

  49. Cardamom is definitely an underused spice. Sounds so comforting!

  50. Reeni says:

    i think they created this recipe just for you! It screams healthy and comfort food at the same time. I want to devour it. 🙂

  51. Sarah says:

    Joanne you are the kale QUEEN. This looks amazing, especially with butternut squash in it. It’s healthy comfort food! 😀

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