My first thought after sitting down and taking a few bites of this recipe was, "I'd pay good money in a restaurant to eat this." I adore recipes that taste as good as what you'd order at a favorite, high-end restaurant, but that give you the added satisfaction of having made it yourself. From selecting the best ingredients, to making slight adjustments to suit your tastes, to plating a beautiful meal on a dish, cooking at home gives you a sense of pride and a healthier option than eating out.
This recipe proves you can easily make things at home that taste as good or better than anything you could order when dining out. The complexity of the black bean sauce along with the tangy-ness of rice wine and soy sauce balance that sweetness of the butternut wonderfully. Similarly, the softened texture of the butternut is countered by the slightly more crunchy texture of the wilted bok choy. A delicious, rounded meal served over rice, and it takes only about 20-25 minutes to make.
Tip: One way to more easily manage peeling and cutting a butternut squash is to roast it at about 250 degrees for about 15 minutes. This will soften it up just enough as to make it easier to work with. It adds a little time to the process but it makes the prep work on it much easier.
This recipe is adapted from "The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook" by Kim O'Donnel.

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Cook time: 25 minutes 

Total time: 40 minutes 

Yield: 4-6 servings

Braised Butternut Squash with Bok Choy and Black Bean Sauce


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shallots, about 2 bulbs worth, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon Asian black bean-garlic sauce
  • 3 or 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 1 large bunch bok choy, cleaned thoroughly and trimmed as needed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil for drizzling
Cooking Directions
  1. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 5 minutes or until they're softened. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute or so, then add the black bean sauce. Stir everything together so it is well combined. Add the squash and stir to coat it with the mixture.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the rice wine, soy sauce, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the mix to the skillet and bring everything to a simmer. Add in the vegetable stock — just enough to almost cover the vegetables. You may not need to use the entire cup called for in the ingredients list. Cover the skillet and cook for about 15 minutes or until the squash is just tender.
  3. Remove the lid and add the bok choy, and drizzle it with a bit of sesame oil. Return the lid and allow the bok choy to steam until it is wilted and slightly tender.
  4. Serve the hot mixture over rice, quinoa, or rice noodles.

butternut and bok choy

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Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Braised Butternut Squash with Bok Choy and Black Bean Sauce
Sweet, savory and tangy flavors combine in this delicious dish.