How to Cook Squash on the Stove Top for an Easy Side Dish

by Pamela

how to cook squash, squash recipes, vegetable side dishes, roasted squash

While it may seem like it, especially this time of year, all squash was not created equal. Beyond that, all squash does not have to be boiled or roasted before it can be eaten either. Yes, really. Today, I’m going to show you how to cook squash on the stove top in mere minutes. Not only does this squash recipe come together quickly, but it’s also cooked all the way through. You won’t feel like you’re chewing on a rock. I promise.

If you’re like me, you’re trying to figure out some new and interesting vegetable side dishes for the new year. Plus, aren’t we all trying to be a bit healthier after the last couple of months of gluttony we just put our bodies through? I know I am. So why not have some squash for your side dish? It’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Since they’re in season right now they’re at the peak of flavor and super inexpensive. I hear ya…you’re kind of tired of just eating roasted squash and you want something a little different.

I too am a bit tired of roasted squash and since I’m not a fan of boiled or steamed squash, I grabbed the frying pan. I figured if it was good enough for cooking summer squash, why not winter squash.

Squash Vegetable Side Dishes

All the usual wintery flavors are here. Things like garlic, ginger and even a sprinkling of dried cranberries (fresh would work if you’ve got some still hanging around). Admittedly, not all of the winter squashes will work in this recipe. I used delicata squash for this because it’s not quite as dense as something like kobocha squash and you can eat the skin, so there’s less prep work too.

Could you use acorn or butternut squash in this? You could, but you’d need to peel it first and cut it into very thin strips or even grate it. The final result won’t have the different textures, but it would work.

I enjoyed chowing down on this as a side dish with both chicken and pork (it’s not too sweet or too savory…it’s just right). I also added a little bit of goat cheese and found that it made a fantastic light lunch. All the fiber in the squash really fills you up, but you don’t feel heavy (like you just ate a hamburger and fries). In all seriousness, I was full until dinner.

So if you’re trying to figure out how to cook that squash you keep seeing, and walking past, at the store you no longer have an excuse. This is the way! Besides, you need to get more vegetables into your diet this year. Wasn’t that one of your New Year’s resolutions? I think it was.

How to Cook Squash on the Stove Top for an Easy Side Dish
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
See how to cook squash on the stove top in minutes and have a great side dish or a filling, but light meal. Not all squash recipes take a long time to make.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 Pounds Delicata Squash
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1" Piece of Ginger (peeled and grated)
  • ¼ - ½ Teaspoon Red Chile Flakes
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup Water (or could use chicken stock for more flavor)
  • ¼ Cup Dried Cranberries*
  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove ends and scoop out seeds.
  2. If you have a mandoline, use the julienne blade and cut the squash into strips. If you don't have one of those, you can cut the squash into ¼" x 2" strips.
  3. Heat olive oil in large skillet, over medium heat.
  4. Once oil is hot add the garlic, ginger and chile flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, but do not let the mixture brown. If it's cooking too fast, reduce the heat.
  5. Add the squash to the pan and turn the heat up to medium high.
  6. Add a few grinds of black pepper and a couple of pinches of salt and stir to combine.
  7. Let squash sit for 5 minutes, then stir. It should be browned in some spots. If it's not, let it sit for 2 or 3 more minutes.
  8. Stir everything again and let sit for another 5 minutes then stir.
  9. Add the cranberries and water, or stock, to the pan and give everything a stir. Partially cover the pan and let cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  10. When you remove the lid, most of the liquid should be gone and give everything a stir. If not, cook uncovered until the liquid is gone.
  11. Remove from heat and serve.
  12. **If you use chicken stock, the recipe is no longer vegetarian and if you top it with goat cheese, it won't be vegan.
*If you use fresh cranberries, use the same amount but roughly chop them before adding to the pan. The amount of chile pepper is up to you and how spicy you like things. When serving as a light lunch, I topped mine with crumbled goat cheese.


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Maureen | Orgasmic Chef January 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I usually roast, bake in the half shell or steam. I might try my julienne cutter and see how it works. 🙂

Pamela January 15, 2014 at 8:36 pm

I usually roast or steam too Maureen. Pan frying gives you a bit of both and the taste is different…in a good way. 😉

John@Kitchen Riffs January 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Great idea! I usually roast squash, and honestly don’t get tired of it. But it’s nice to have a change now and again. This looks terrific – thanks.

Pamela January 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I’m with you John…I’ll pretty much eat squash any way it’s prepared. This stove top method is a big help for those of us who are organizationally challenged. LOL

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