Fried Winter Squash with Black Olives

September/October 2014

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In this sautéed butternut squash recipe, vinegary, caramelized onions and black olives add sweet, salty and tangy flavors. Other hard winter squashes, such as hubbard or red kuri, work nicely in this dish as well.

Fried Winter Squash with Black Olives

Makes: 8 servings

Serving Size: about 1 cup

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 2 medium yellow or red onions, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup salt-cured (or oil-cured) black olives or Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup slivered fresh mint, divided


  1. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large cast-iron skillet or shallow enamel-lined pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place a wire rack next to the stove and cover with a layer of paper towels. When the oil is very hot (but not smoking), add squash, a few slices at a time, and cook until tender and browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes a side. Remove to the prepared rack. Continue with the remaining slices, reducing the heat as needed to prevent the squash from overbrowning before it’s tender. Arrange the squash on a serving platter and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  2. Discard any oil remaining in the pan and wipe it out with paper towels. Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil to the pan and heat over medium-low. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until completely softened but not brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add olives and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Meanwhile, heat vinegar and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar reduction to the onion-olive mixture and increase heat to medium-high for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and all but 1 tablespoon mint. Spoon the onion mixture over the squash slices. Garnish with the reserved 1 tablespoon mint. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to let the flavors develop before serving.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Per serving: 235 calories; 18 g fat (2 g sat, 14 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g total sugars; 2 g protein; 5 g fiber; 290 mg sodium; 420 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (274% daily value), Vitamin C (36% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 3 1/2 fat

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