I love roasted butternut squash, but sometimes I want something a little different and today I’ve made sauteed butternut squash! Add some chopped up Swiss chard and you have a healthy, easy side you can make right in your saute pan.
I am all about adding more vegetables to my life – sautes, salads, soups, and more! A basic green salad or some steamed broccoli is a good place to start, but I think the secret to eating more veggies is to mix it up and go beyond the basics.
Because no matter how good steamed broccoli is (and we do love it!), that same old gets dull after a while and it’s hard to maintain interest for the same dish over and over. Or maybe that’s just me? 🙂
One great way to go beyond the basics and create a little excitement in your veggies is to add some caramelization to the party. Basically: grilling, roasting, and sauteing.
What is Caramelization?
Caramelization is the browning or oxidation of sugar in foods. It is similar to the Maillard reaction in meats in that both reactions cause browning in the food. However, since caramelization involves sugar, it not only turns the food all brown and yummy but also toasty, sweet, and a little nutty.
In other words, caramelization is a great way to increase the YUM factor in your food!
How do you Saute Butternut Squash?
It’s seriously easy!
First step is to peel the squash. I love my y-peeler – it makes short work of peeling the squash and it’s so comfortable to hold.
Second, cut off the seed end and slice the squash into cubes.
Third, a little butter and a hot saute pan. 15 minutes will take you from raw butternut squash to beautifully caramelized veggies. A little spicing and you’re done!
What to Pair with Sauteed Butternut Squash?
I think that butternut squash pairs wonderfully with winter greens so I chose to use some chopped Swiss chard. I just add it about 10 minutes into the saute, which gives it enough time to wilt while the squash continues to brown.
If you don’t have or don’t like Swiss chard, you can use kale or spinach in its place. Baby kale or spinach will only take a couple of minutes to wilt, so add them a little later. Larger, more hearty kale or spinach should be added at the 10 minute mark like the Swiss chard.
This side goes well with any simple meat dish, like some pan roasted steak or a nice, sauteed fish or really any dinner where you need to add a veggie to the party. Just get that pan good and hot and get that caramelization going!
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Looking for a great fall and winter side? My recipe for butternut squash and Swiss chard is quick, healthy, and full of caramelized cubes of winter squash and tender chopped chard.
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 tsp dried thyme, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne, or to taste
In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter is bubbling, add the butternut squash and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. The pan should be hot enough to get the squash fairly brown before you add the chard.
While the squash is cooking, wash the chard (so it's wet when you put it in the pan), then remove the stems and slice the chard in about 1-inch pieces.
Add the Swiss chard to the pan and cover the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, giving everything a stir every minute or so. Check to make sure the squash and chard are fully cooked. If not give everything 1-2 more minutes.
- Sprinkle the thyme and cayenne over and stir it in. Serve immediately.
For a more colorful dish, use rainbow Swiss chard. Also, kale or spinach can be substituted for the Swiss chard.