11.15.16 Skillet Butternut Squash and Spinach with Toast
Whenever Forrest is out of town, there’s this dish I absolutely have to make. I stumbled across it on Smitten Kitchen awhile back, and it’s quickly become one of my favorites. Mushrooms, sauteed with kale, topped with hot, crisp toast, and covered in melty cheese. It’s simple to make, includes many of my favorite ingredients, and is recommended to be eaten straight out of the pan. What more could I want? Honestly, the main reason we’re not eating this on a weekly basis in our house is that I happen to be married to a mushroom hater. And since it seems a little cruel to make a mushroom hater eat a dish with so, so many mushrooms in it, I save it for the days when he’s not around. Then I eat the whole thing. I feel like we both win a little bit.
However, the concept involved with this dish - cook up some veggies and greens in a large pan, throw in some toast, and top it all with melty cheese - is a great one. It lends itself well to any meal, and is exactly the sort of thing I wish we were eating more often. And so, with some adjustments, and a whole lot less mushrooms (make that no mushrooms), I made it into something everyone in our house could enjoy. Building a strong base of caramelized onions and hearty spinach, foregoing the mushrooms in favor of roasted butternut squash, and topping it all with plenty of melty brie cheese, I hit upon a winner.
Case in point, our son, who will not eat seemingly standard things like buttered noodles with parmesan (when I was a kid, this was like THE BEST thing ever), is happy to stuff his face with this delicious mess. We’ve found that how much Leo likes a particular food is directly proportional to how wide he opens his mouth when we’re feeding it to him. This dish got the widest possible open mouth seal of approval. His parents enjoyed it too.
Skillet Butternut Squash and Spinach with Toast
You’ll only use half of a squash for this recipe, but I definitely recommend roasting up the whole thing while you’re at it. Having extra roasted squash on hand means you’ve got a head start on your next meal. Lately, I’ve been loving roasted squash in tacos, mashed atop toast and topped with a fried egg, or tossed with arugula, goat cheese, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette for a simple fall salad.
- ½ large butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½” pieces (about 2 cups)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 8 oz spinach, tough stems removed
- 5 oz rustic sourdough bread, toasted (about 3 thick slices)
- 4 oz brie cheese, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine the squash, 1 Tbsp olive oil, smoked paprika, ½ tsp salt, and pepper in a large bowl, mixing to coat everything evenly. Spread squash evenly on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 degrees until tender, about 30 minutes.
3. While squash roasts, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and very fragrant, about 25-30 minutes. The onions should be ready about the same time the squash is done roasting.
4. Add the remaining ½ tsp salt and the apple cider vinegar to the pan, and cook 1 minute more. Add the spinach and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the roasted squash to the pan. Tear the toasted bread into pieces and add to the pan. Mix everything together until well combined.
5. Place cheese slices on top, cover pan, and cook until cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer pan to the table, grab some forks and dig in.