Butternut squash is practically a prerequisite for Thanksgiving dinner. I realize it's incredibly popular to do the "sweet thing" and use brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, maple syrup, etc. However, there's plenty of sugar coming in the pies and desserts. I like the meal itself to focus on a more savory palate. Though I did have my Thanksgiving Series in mind when I made this dish - it's a really great side dish any time of the year. You can easily make it ahead and re-heat on the big day. This savory butternut squash sauté is out of this world.
Savory Butternut Squash Sauté Will Be Your New Favorite Side Dish
If you are a regular reader of my site, which of course you are, you'll recognize the flavor profile. It's very similar to how I start my Butternut Squash Risotto -- a great dish if you're serving vegetarians on Thanksgiving!
But I simply must get on my soapbox for one moment and gush about the power and the flavor of leeks. I cannot encourage you enough to start using more leeks in your cooking. Leeks are a revelation and leeks with butternut squash, salt, pepper, butter, and fresh thyme will make you lose your mind. It will take some time to get it back and you might walk around confused for a little while, but you will eventually find your mind again so don't worry too much about that part of the process. We've all been there.
This butternut squash recipe is so delicious and, even better, you can make it the day before. Some foods do not taste great re-heated. However, butternut squash is not one of them. It tastes exactly the same as when you first made it!
Thanksgiving: Everything Else to Pair with This Savory Butternut Squash Sauté
Welcome to my Thanksgiving Series! This is a feast I made for about $95 and it serves 8-10 people. You’ll probably still have some leftovers too! I bought a whopping 19 ½ pound turkey and economized as much as I could to keep this under $100. I know staying on a budget is important. This is my first Thanksgiving as a food blogger and I hope to add new Turkey Day recipes each year. The dinner here is a budget-friendly, beginner-friendly option.
All the Thanksgiving Series Essentials:
- Thanksgiving Turkey & Gravy
- Fantastic No-Frills Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Pepperidge Farm Stuffing with Apples & Celery
- Steamed Brussel Sprouts w/Toasted Pine Nuts & Bacon Bits
- Killer Apple Pie with Butter Crust
Need some appetizer ideas? No Problem!
- Holiday Appetizers: Phyllo Cups FIVE WAYS!
- Stuffed Mushrooms w/Sausage, Cheddar & Panko
- Nana's Weird Hot Dog Appetizer (the kids will love this!)
- Honey Butter Bourbon Shrimp
- Brown Sugar Bacon Sticks Brushed w/Maple Syrup
- Apple Brie Crostini w/Pecans & Honey
- Warm Shrimp & Gorgonzola Dip w/Pancetta Bacon (make-ahead friendly)
- Crispy Thai Pork Toast (make-ahead friendly)
- Crunchy Baked Kale Chips (great for vegetarians)
Sautéed Butternut Squash with Caramelized Leeks and Fresh Thyme
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
Looking for a savory rather than sweet butternut squash recipe? You’ll love this sautéed butternut squash with caramelized leeks and fresh thyme.
For the butternut squash
- 2 medium to large butternut squash
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
For the caramelized leeks
- 2 leeks, sliced into rings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- Be sure to watch my video with step-by-step instructions.
- Peel the butternut squash using a veggie peeler.
- Cut the squash in half then cut each half in half again. Scoop out the seeds from the squash with a spoon or melon baller.
- Cut the squash down into thick strips then into bite-sized cubes. My video shows this well.
- For the leeks we’re only using the white and light green part. Cut the dark green top part off and discard along with the frizzy root. Slice the leeks into rings. Leeks can be very dirty inside the rings so transfer all the sliced leeks to a bowl of water and separate the rings in the water to make sure they’re as clean as possible. Drain in a colander when finished.
- You’ll need two pans for this. One pan will have the butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and leeks. Should be on low-to-medium heat. Stir frequently while cooking. Should take about 7-10 minutes to get them caramelized and browned.
- The second pan will have the butternut squash, olive oil, salt and pepper. Should be on low-to-medium heat. Toss the squash to coat in the olive oil. Then put on the lid to steam. Cook until fork tender and be sure to stir a few times. I like a little brown on my butternut squash, but if you don’t turn the heat down a bit. Keep checking them to make sure they don’t burn. Should take 20-30 minutes to steam. Keep checking with a fork – when they are tender all the way through they are done.
- While the leeks and butternut squash are cooking, you can chop your fresh thyme. When the leeks are finished cooking, add the thyme and mix to combine. Cook an additional minute or two once the thyme is added.
- Transfer the cooked butternut squash to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the caramelized leeks and thyme to the bowl with the squash. Gently mix to combine.
- Transfer to a serving dish. Enjoy!
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