Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Sauté


Great side dish for the holidays! Roasted cubes of butternut squashed tossed with balsamic sautéed onions, kale, pecans, dried cranberries.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Looking for a great holiday side? How about a drop dead delicious, healthy kale and squash sauté that is surprisingly easy to put together?

Roast cubes of butternut squash so they get tasty caramelized edges. While roasting the squash, prep the onions and kale and then sauté them with balsamic vinegar, adding the squash, pecans, and cranberries at the end. Simple. Beautiful. Packed with flavor and color.

Roasted Butternut Squash Sauté

The balsamic vinegar? It’s what makes all the difference. The sweet tartness just intensifies the flavors of the onions, squash and kale.

Oh yeah, it’s also vegan. It may even be paleo (if you swap out the sweetened dried cranberries with raisins).

Every year we try to come up with at least one sparkling holiday side that will wow your guests. This year this is it. I’m making it for our Thanksgiving dinner and hope you do too!

Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Sauté Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Time saver: while the squash is roasting, prep the other ingredients.

To make ahead, roast the cubed squash and prep the ingredients, then do a quick sauté before serving.


  • 4 cups 3/4-inch cubes of butternut squash (from about 1 3/4 pound whole small butternut squash)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Sprinkling of black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, quartered and sliced (about 2 cups of sliced red onions)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cups thinly (3/4-inch) sliced kale (center ribs removed) (from about 1 bunch of kale)
  • 1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1/2 cup slightly broken up pecans
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1 Roast cubed butternut squash: Preheat oven to 425°F. Place cubed butternut squash in a bowl and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Spread out onto a lined baking sheet. Roast in oven for 25 minutes or until the squash is cooked through and browned on the edges.

2 Sauté onions and garlic: 15 minutes into roasting the butternut squash, start on the onions. Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a thick-bottomed 4 to 5 quart pot. Add the sliced red onion and toss to coat. Let cook for 7 to 8 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

3 Add balsamic and kale: Add the balsamic vinegar and the shredded kale. Stir until the kale is mixed well with the onions (it helps to use tongs to turn over the kale). Let cook for a minute or two until the kale is just wilted (don't overcook).

4 Add roasted squash, dried cranberries, pecans: Then stir in the roasted butternut squash, the dried sweetened cranberries, and pecans. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Sauté

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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28 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Megan Knight

    Hello! I love your recipes! I actually made this on a night that I was making pork tacos. I ended up leaving out the balsamic and the pecans. My meat wasnt ready by dinner time so I subbed this mixture into tacos. It was delicious and now I make it just to eat as a taco filling :). Thank you!


  • Lauren

    This was a really good recipe. Next time I’m going to dice the onions rather than leave them long though. I like the taste of onions but not necessarily the texture of them. I eat mostly vegetables so this was my main meal and I had this with a tiny piece of steak :-) perfect match.

  • Michelle

    Delicious! I used spinach and fresh cranberries… went back for seconds, so good!


  • Jean

    This was delicious. I am always looking for a better recipes to prepare vegetables and this will be added to my favorite list.


  • Andrea C.

    This ended up being quite versatile! We had whole pumpkins to use up, so I subbed that for the butternut squash (same roasting time + technique). I used golden raisins instead of the dried cranberries. I tripled the recipe and ended up with a lot of leftovers. Half ended up in a creamy soup (I simmered everything in chicken stock + olive oil then pureed in blender). The other half went into a savory tart (sheet of puff pastry, veggies, sheet of puff pastry, bake 40 minutes @ 400). The leftovers were even better than the original recipe, because of the added savory aspect that worked better for my family’s palate. The pecans made both the pastry and the soup so good!

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