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Butternut Squash Stew

I love making this Butternut Squash Stew on crisp autumn and chilly winter evenings. There’s something about watching the steam waft off the bowl that’s just so satisfying. This rustic homemade stew is amazing with a loaf of crusty bread.

This rich, hearty stew is full of delicious and healthy butternut squash, onions, tomato, and white beans. You’ll love the medley of fall flavors, from rosemary to garlic to the rustic umami of Parmesan rind! A splash of pure squeezed orange juice adds a touch of acidity to the warming broth.

What You’ll Need

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: You can also use avocado oil or butter.
  • Yellow Onion: One medium onion, halved and thinly sliced.
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper: Use freshly ground pepper, if possible, for the best flavor.
  • Fresh Garlic: Five medium garlic cloves, minced or put through a garlic press.
  • Cannellini Beans: I use canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained.
  • A Small Butternut Squash: The squash should be peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes: You can also substitute canned whole or plum tomatoes. Gently break the tomatoes into pieces as you add them to the stew.
  • Parmesan Cheese Rind: This optional ingredient adds richness and body to the soup.
  • Vegetable Broth: You can use pre-made broth or make your own!
  • Dry Ground Rosemary
  • Zest of a Small Orange: Be sure to wash the orange thoroughly before zesting.
  • Premium Orange Juice: About ¼ of a cup.
  • Crusty Bread: For serving, optional.

Why Do I Use a Parmesan Rind?

I know this is an unusual ingredient but it adds incredible flavor to your stew. Whenever we buy a big hunk of parmesan from CostCo I always cut off the rind and stash it in the freezer for latter use. Parmesan rinds don’t have any wax on them and are additive free, so you can easily add them to any soup, chili or stew for a burst of umami flavor. Remove the rind just before serving.

How to Make Butternut Squash Stew

  1. Caramelize the onions. Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven until shimmering. Add the onions and half a teaspoon of the Kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the Other Ingredients (Except Orange Zest and Juice). Add the garlic to the onions, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add the beans, squash, tomatoes, Parmesan rind (if using), and broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Add Orange Zest and Juice. Remove the cover, add the orange zest and juice, and continue to simmer until the stew thickens, about 15 minutes.
  5. Discard Parmesan Rind and Serve. Ladle the stew into bowls and serve with slices of crusty bread. Enjoy!

Tips for Success

  • Don’t Skip the Saute: All stew, but especially vegetarian and vegan stews, can get a boost of flavor from well-caramelized aromatics like onion. Don’t skip it!
  • Season as You Go: If you taste your recipe frequently for a good balance of seasonings, you’re more likely to wind up with a tasty finished product. I usually taste a few times while cooking and then once more before serving, adjusting as needed.

Serving Suggestions

  • Artisan Bread: This hearty stew pairs perfectly with a crusty, artisan bread. Bonus points if you toast the bread and top it with roasted garlic and a drizzle of olive oil!
  • A Refreshing Salad: The rich, slowly-simmered texture of this stew contrasts really well with a crisp salad. I particularly like serving a classic green salad with cranberries and nuts, but a hearty chopped salad with creamy ranch is also a great choice!
  • Basmati Rice: Sometimes I’ll add a little extra comfort to the menu, in the form of carbs! Try this stew with a small serving of steamed basmati rice garnished with ghee. It’s a perfect match.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

To store in the fridge, simply cover the butternut squash stew well with a tightly fitting lid, inverted saucer, or plastic cover. Keep for 3-4 days. Reheat by bringing the leftovers just to a simmer on the stovetop.

Can I Freeze this Stew?

Yes! Cool the stew to room temperature, and then transfer to an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Note: the texture of the squash will be softer when thawed.


Butternut Squash Stew Recipe

A warming vegetarian stew of tender butternut squash, tangy tomatoes and onions in a savory broth. Perfect for winter and autumn evenings.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • small butternut squash (about 1½ lbs), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice (about 3½ cups) 
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon dry ground rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • ¼ cup premium orange juice
  • Crusty bread (for serving, optional)


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.

Add the minced garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the beans, squash, tomatoes, Parmesan rind (if using), and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cover, add the orange zest and juice, and continue to simmer uncovered until the stew thickens, about 15 minutes.

To serve, remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Stir the stew, adding salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the stew into the bowls, and serve with a slice of crusty bread.

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Great base to play with. I used whole lemon instead of orange / juice — grated rind and cut up fruit with rind and added. Used cherry tomatoes (red and green) from my garden instead of canned tomatoes. Added grated radish and chopped jalapeño and kale from my garden.