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This Sautéed Delicata Squash is simple, yet packed with fall flavor. Thinly sliced delicata squash infused with herbs and spices, then topped with toasted almonds. Ready in just 25 minutes. Vegan and Gluten-Free.
Say hello to your new favorite side dish! This Sautéed Delicata Squash is the best way to get your winter squash fix without the fuss. It’s infused with fresh thyme and garlic, then sautéed on the stovetop until the squash is creamy on the inside and golden and browned on the outside. Finish with a sprinkle of toasted almonds and serve alongside your favorite main.
Table of Contents
What is Delicata Squash?
You’ve likely heard of pumpkin, butternut squash, maybe even acorn squash, but what is delicata squash? Delicata squash is a fellow winter squash scientifically known as Cucurbita pepo var. pepo. It’s known for its distinct, cylindrical and oblong shape and distinctive green and orange stripes that run the length of the creamy colored squash. Similar to acorn squash, it’s sweet and nutty with a creamy, tender texture once cooked.
It’s most often found at farmers markets and grocery stores during the fall and winter months, and once you taste this wholesome, nutritious squash, you’ll be craving it all season long. This sauté method is easily one of the fastest, most delicious ways to cook delicata squash, meaning you’ll be able to satisfy the craving in 25 minutes flat!
What You Need for Sautéed Delicata Squash
- Delicata squash: Depending on their size, you’ll need either 1 large or 2 small delicata squash. If you are choosing squash in the grocery store, I recommend purchasing a small to medium-sized squash, when possible. Smaller delicata squash tend to be more flavorful and have a higher ratio of flesh to skin and seeds. Additionally, look for a squash that has smooth, a slightly sweet aroma, and unblemished skin with a stem that’s firm and intact.
- Seasonings: While you can make sautéed delicata squash with just fresh squash and oil for pan-frying, it is so much more flavorful when infused with flavorful herbs and spices. For the best flavored squash, I recommend fresh thyme leaves, cumin, salt, garlic, and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
- Oil: Olive oil enhances the flavor of the squash and contributes to browning and crisping, giving the squash a golden exterior. If you are oil-free, you can sauté the squash in a dry pan, but it won’t be as flavorful.
- Almonds: I love the warm, nutty crunch toasted almonds adds to the squash, but the almonds can be omitted or replaced with another nut instead. Walnuts, pistachios, and pine nuts would all be great!
How to Make Sautéed Delicata Squash
- Prep and cut the squash rings into thin, 1/4″ slices.
- In a warm, dry sauté pan, toast the almonds until fragrant and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the olive oil, thyme, cumin, and black pepper. Sauté for 30 seconds or so, stirring constantly, to infuse the oil with the spices.
- Mix in the squash and salt, then cover to “steam” the squash.
- After 4 minutes, uncover and sauté for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until fork tender and slightly translucent. Add the minced cloves of garlic in the final 2 minutes.
- Serve the squash while warm with the toasted almonds and more black pepper, to taste. Enjoy!
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Peeling the squash is not necessary. Unlike hard-skinned winter squash, delicata squash skin is thin, smooth, and absolutely delicious! It’s also the source of additional nutrients and antioxidants, too.
- Be careful to slice thinly. If you cut the delicata squash into slices thicker than 1/4″, it will take significantly longer to cook through until fork tender. While this won’t affect the end result in terms of flavor and texture, it does defeat the purpose of using this fast and easy stovetop method.
This delicata squash is the ultimate fall side dish and pairs well with just about any main. Give it a try alongside a cozy bowl of soup, this Fall Farro Salad, or hearty mains like this Homemade Vegan Holiday Roast, Vegan Lentil Loaf, or Chickpea Pot Pie. It can even be enjoyed on its own as a light appetizer or nutritious afternoon snack. It’s truly hard to go wrong!
How to Store Sautéed Delicata Squash
Sautéed squash will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Always allow the squash to cool completely to room temperature before covering and storing.
Reheat leftover squash in the microwave, toaster oven, or oven until just warmed through.
The squash seeds inside of the delicata squash are edible and can be saved and roasted. Roasted Delicata Squash Seeds can be used just as you would toasted pepitas and sprinkle them on salads, soups, and baked casseroles.
Any quality cooking oil with a relatively high smoke point will work well when sautéing squash. Olive oil is my personal go-to cooking oil, but avocado oil or refined coconut oil are great alternatives.
A nonstick pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet is best. I almost always use my Caraway Home Essential Cookware Set for my home cooking and highly recommend it.
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Sautéed Delicata Squash
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds optional
- 1 large or 2 small delicata squash
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves stems removed
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 garlic clove minced
- Prep the Squash: Cut the ends off of each squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the center seeds of each half and discard. Cut each squash half into thin (~1/4”) slices; if you cut them thicker they will take longer to cook.
- Toast the Almonds (optional): Warm a large sauté pan with a lid over medium heat. Add the almonds and mix occasionally, dry-toasting them until they are fragrant and golden brown. This usually takes between 3 and 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Aromatics: Add the olive oil to the same pan and add the thyme, cumin, and black pepper. Sauté for 30 seconds or so to infuse the oil.
- Steam the Squash: Add the squash and salt. Mix well, then cover with a lid for 4 minutes to “steam” the squash
- Sauté: Uncover the squash and sauté for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender and slightly translucent. Stir only occasionally to help brown the squash. Add the garlic at around 2 minutes before you finish cooking; mix well with the squash.
- Serve: Transfer the squash to a serving plate and top with the toasted almonds and more black pepper, to taste. Serve warm; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Almonds: Almonds can be omitted or use another nut instead. Walnuts, pistachios, and pine nuts would all be great!