Sauteed butternut squash is a simple, one-pan, stove-top, savory recipe that pairs well with most main dishes. This dish has a mild flavor, just like this vegetable pulao, that kids will love.
Butternut squash can be quite a daunting vegetable to tackle, but only until you make the first cut. Once you go past the hard exterior, the squash reveals itself in all its glory - the beautiful orange color, promise of good taste and health!
Although an autumnal vegetable, these days butternut squash is available in the supermarkets all through the year, unlike pumpkin which makes its yearly appearance during autumn! When pumpkin is not in season, I use butternut squash instead in recipes such as this dairy free banana bread and this comforting vegan stew.
What is your favorite squash recipe? Do share with me in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!
Ingredients for Sauteed Butternut Squash Recipe
This recipe pairs well with almost any main dish and is a nice deviation from the potent cinnamon-sweet dishes that are associated with this squash! The natural sweetness of the vegetable is balanced with the earthy taste of ground coriander and cumin. The dash of red chili flakes gives that delicious "kick" to the dish.
Squash: If you do not have butternut squash with you, you can use sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or any other winter squash that is locally available to you.
Spices: The use of minimal spices enhances the natural sweetness of the squash.
Ground roasted cumin powder (bhuna jeera): roasted powdered cumin adds an extra depth of flavor and earthiness that goes so well with butternut squash. You can use regular cumin powder instead.
Red chili flakes: Use the mild variety for that gentle kick of heat against the natural sweetness of the squash. It is ok to omit using the chili flakes if you so prefer or if you are making this for your child.
How to peel butternut squash?
It can be quite tricky to handle this vegetable - that is until you can figure out an easy way to peel and cut them. You can buy precut squash cubes from most supermarkets these days. However, peeling and cutting squash is something that can be easily learned.
You can peel the squash using a knife or a peeler.
Whether you use a knife or peeler, the first thing you need to do is to cut the squash across its thinnest part (belly) in half. Then cut each half into half again so that you get four large chunky pieces.
Now it will be easier to peel.
Gently ease the knife across the surface of the squash to remove the skin.
Make sure to remove the white part just underneath the skin to reveal the orange flesh. The white layer can make the dish bitter.
My personal preference is to use the peeler. I feel that there is less wastage.
Which way of cutting the squash do you prefer? Do let me know if the comments below. I would love to hear from you!
How to cut butternut squash?
Step 1: Wash the squash and wipe it dry.
Step 2: Cut across its thinnest part (belly) in half. Then cut each half into half again so that you get four large chunky pieces.
Step 3: Now scoop the seeds and the fibrous strands with a spoon.
Step 4: Cut each large piece into 3 or 4 wedges and then cut them into cubes.
How to sauté butternut squash?
Now that you have cut the squash, making this dish is E-A-S-Y! This dish will be ready in just about the time it took you to cut it!
Let's make this incredibly easy and delicious side dish.
Measure the ingredients and keep them ready.
STEP 1: Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the chili flakes and fry for about 30 seconds. Add the squash cubes and mix so that the oil and the chili flakes coat the cubes.
STEP 2: Add 1-2 teaspoons of water. The water will help build up the steam and cook the squash pieces. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.
STEP 3: Now add in the spices - ground coriander, roasted ground cumin powder, turmeric, and salt. Add 1-2 tablespoons more water. Mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until the squash cubes are cooked through.
Note: You can use regular cumin powder in place of roasted cumin.
Note: The top end of the cubes (the part that was just under the skin) can be quite tough to cook and will take the longest to soften. If required, add 2 more tablespoons of water to help them cook through.
That's it! sauteed butternut squash recipe is ready for you and your family to enjoy!
Tips and notes
Spices: I like the simple earthy spices for this dish. You can, if you want, use strong spices, such as garlic or rosemary but make sure that you them in small quantities.
Kid-friendly: If making this dish for your kid, feel free to leave out the chili flakes entirely.
No butternut squash? No worries, use pumpkin or sweet potatoes instead.
This savory butternut squash dish pairs well with both rice and roti (flatbread).
Here are some meal suggestions:
- Serve this dish with this jeera rice and this cucumber raita to make a comforting gluten-free meal.
- For a delicious, grain-free meal, have this sautéed squash with gluten free naan and this green moong dal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are good substitutes for butternut squash.
Butternut squash is also known as winter squash, gramma pumpkin or butternut pumpkin.
Yes, butternut squash can be pan-fried. It is such an easy vegetable to cook! This recipe is made entirely in a pan. Do check the recipe above or the video below to learn how to cook this vegetable.
Yes. The skin of butternut squash is tough and must be peeled before cooking. Read the sections above for a detailed explanation (with pictures) of how to cut and peel this winter squash.
Earthy spices taste best with butternut squash. Cinnamon, we all know works very well with this vegetable. The woody warmth of cinnamon is like a match made in heaven with butternut squash. In this savory recipe, however, I have used coriander, cumin, and turmeric which balance well with the natural sweetness of the squash. Fresh garlic or garlic powder will taste good with this vegetable too.
If you have made this easy sauteed butternut squash recipe, please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! xx Padma
Sauteed Butternut Squash Recipe [Vegan]
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 medium size butternut squash (700 grams, approximately)
- 1 teaspoon salt (adjust as per taste)
- 4 teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon roasted powdered cumin (or regular cumin powder)
- 3 tablespoons water
Prep the butternut squash
- Wash the squash and wipe dry. Peel and cut it into cubes. Don't cut them too big (will take long to cook) nor too small (will turn into mush).(see the section above for how to peel and cut the squash)1 medium size butternut squash
Keep the ingredients measured and ready.
Now let us make the dish
- Place a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Add oil. When the oil is hot, add the red chilli flakes. Fry them for about 30 seconds. Add the cubed butternut squash and mix so that the oil and the chilli flakes coat the cubes.1 tablespoon neutral oil, 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Add the spices. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.Adding the water will build up the steam and help cook the squash pieces.1 teaspoon salt, 4 teaspoons ground coriander, ½ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon roasted powdered cumin, 3 tablespoons water
- Now add in the ground coriander, roasted ground cumin, turmeric and salt. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of water. Mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until the squash cubes are cooked through.Some parts of the squash can be quite tough to cook. If required, add another 1-2 tablespoons of water to help them cook through.
- That's it! Sauteed butternut squash recipe is ready for you and your family to enjoy!Serve it with this colorful vegan tortilla
- Free from: This recipe is allium-free; gluten-free; nut-free and soy-free.
- No butternut squash?: If you do not have butternut squash, you can use pumpkin or sweet potatoes instead.
- More spices? You can add other spices to this recipe if you so prefer. Woody, earthy spices taste best with butternut squash. Cinnamon, we all know works very well with this vegetable. Fresh garlic or garlic powder will taste good with this vegetable too, but do not use too much as it will overpower the natural flavor and sweetness of the squash.
Note: The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Love butternut squash! Loving all the spices!
Padma Kumar says
Thank you Laura. Butternut squash is such a versatile vegetable!