Butternut Squash and Purple Cabbage Stir-Fry

Two of the prettiest Autumn vegetables taste and look great together!

            This is definitely the season for both squash and cabbage, and the combination of beautiful orange butternut squash and vibrant purple cabbage are a match made in heaven. 

Weekly routine

            We have a stir-fry at least once a week at our house, often twice! This butternut squash and cabbage stir-fry mingles some of the most delicious of autumn vegetables, with eye appeal as well. My wok gets plenty of use on my gas burner, but you can use a large heavy-bottomed skillet just as well. In fact, if you have an electric stove, the flat surface of the skillet would probably serve you better.

            A stir-fry is all about adding prepped vegetables to the pan in order of how long they take to cook, beginning with those that take the longest. Prepping is the key here, a stir-fry happens fast, so you need the veggies to be ready when the pot is.

It’s all about the timing

If you haven’t been cooking long and are unsure about when the squash might be cooked half-way and time to add the cabbage, simply cook the squash until it is done, take it out of the pan, and add the cabbage and cook it to crisp tender. Then, return the squash and the rest of the ingredients to the pan. But, it’s good practice though to learn to gage when a vegetable is about half cooked. There will be some resistance to the fork, but some tenderness as well. A note here, I usually check my veggies for doneness with a fork. A sharp knife will sometimes go in so easily it is hard to gage the stage of doneness, especially with potatoes.

You can certainly mix apples and oranges! The apple lends sweetness, a little tartness, and texture to the dish. The orange in the sauce is essential for its flavor and vibrancy. My big fat orange yielded 1/3 cup juice. If yours is stingy, add a little more orange juice or a bit of vinegar. The nuts add crunch. You can substitute any favorite here, and scallions liven the dish up at the end.

Tons of both nutrition and flavor!

Butternut Squash and Purple Cabbage Stir- Fry

  • 1 pkg. extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. mirin
  • Zest and juice of one organic orange
  • Pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. neutral oil
  • 1 small purple onion, sliced
  • 1 lb. butternut squash, cubed
  • ½ small purple cabbage (12 oz.) sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp. chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 stalks scallions, sliced on diagonal, whites and greens

Press tofu for at least an hour to remove excess moisture. I have a nice little press that I use, but you can wrap the tofu in toweling, place a plate on top, and weigh it down with something heavy, like a large can of tomatoes. What you are aiming to do is remove excess moisture from the tofu.

Mix together tamari, syrup, sesame oil, mirin, orange zest and juice, pepper flakes, and cornstarch. Whisk well and set aside. This is the sauce you will add at the end.

Once the tofu is pressed, cut it into cubes, blot again, season with salt and pepper, and dust lightly with a little more cornstarch. I cut my tofu about the same size as the squash.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add a tbsp. oil, make sure it shimmers, and add the tofu. Stir fry until lightly browned on all sides. Set aside, tent, and keep warm.

Add a little more oil to the pan and add the onion and squash and a little salt. Stir-fry, stirring now and then, until the squash begins to color, then add the cabbage and cook another few minutes. Once the squash and cabbage are cooked, add the garlic, apple, and fresh ginger. Taste and season accordingly.

Return the tofu to the pan, mix well, then add the reserved sauce. This only needs to cook a minute or so until thick and shiny.

Plate and sprinkle with nuts and the scallions, and serve with rice of choice. If you have another orange, zest a little more over the top.

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  1. Looks yummy!!

    1. Thanks, it was really delicious!

      1. This looks amazing 😍

      2. So glad you appreciate this! ❤️

  2. Color my world! 🌎🍂

    1. The color of food can make the heart sing!

  3. Oh my! Thanks for the recipe! I need to try to make it this week!

    1. You will be delighted I’m sure! Happy Monday!

  4. This dish looks so delicious. Love the colorful combination of vegetables you’ve used here. So perfect for the season. 🙂

    1. Yes it is Ronit, such beautiful colors, flavors, and textures!

  5. Such lovely colours and flavours together and red cabbage is such a great addition to stir frying and roasts.

    1. Thank you! It all came together beautifully.

  6. chef mimi says:

    Mmmmmmmmm. I love everything about this! and pretty enough for the Thanksgiving table!

    1. Thank you! It certainly holds its own on the holiday dessert table!

  7. Sandhya says:

    Love the colorful and flavorful stir fry with layers of flavor and texture!

    1. Thank you so much! The colors get you interested, then the flavor makes you happt

  8. There is nothing better than a well prepared rainbow of vegetables! My kind of dinner!

    1. Thanks Jenna! I love the color too, it puts me in such a good mood to cook. Then, of course, is the reward!

  9. Let's Cook says:

    This looks so tasty

    1. Thanks! It’s really good and a family pleaser.

  10. abhiricooks says:

    Looks perfect for a winter brunch!

    1. Yes! A big platter, and maybe poached eggs on the side!

  11. Carolyn Page says:

    Oh yum, Dorothy, this one’s on my list of grocery shopping! The flavours of this recipe would, I know, be incredibly delish.

    1. Thank you so much Carolyn! We just loved the hint of orange!

  12. Sarah Davis says:

    I have to try this!

    1. Oh, I hope you do! I bet you’ll love these flavors of the season.

  13. AimsHerWay says:

    Looks SO delicious!!

  14. It so looks like farmhouse salad. Love the vibrant colors.

    1. Thank you! The colors catch your attention, and you know it’s going to taste good!

      1. Absolutely!

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