I know - they’re intimidating. The mounds of colorful, tough-skinned squash and gourds. It seems that these beautiful gourds are destined to be arranged on the front stoop of every suburban home from October through December.
Underneath their colorful, sometimes rough, exteriors is nutrient-dense flesh that does really well in soups – it's just the right amount of starch to yield a creamy texture. Of course, straight up baking or roasting your squash is always an option. I also love adding roasted squash to salads and puréed squash to baked goods. Here are my favorite ways to enjoy them:
Delicata: On the top of my list for ease of preparation! Delicata squash has a mild, nutty flavor, and thin edible skin. Preparing this variety could not be simpler: rinse, cut in half, remove seeds, slice into half-moons, toss with some olive oil and salt and bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes until browned. Try this Roasted Delicata Squash with Apples, delicious with a meal or as a fiber-rich snack!
Butternut: With pale tan skin, and richly hued orange interior, butternut squash favorite fall menu item. It’s sweet, nutty taste is similar to pumpkin. The beauty of it’s popularity is that you can easily find a pre-prepped version in the produce section or the frozen food aisle, saving you all the work! If you prefer to prep yourself, trim ends off of the whole squash. Cut in half, peel with a vegetable peeler, or paring knife. Remove seeds from the round bulb before chopping the flesh into two inch cubes. Toss it with olive oil, cinnamon, a pinch of salt and roast it in the oven at 400°F for 40-50 minutes. Enjoy as a dinner side or puree leftovers with broth into a naturally creamy soup like this delicious Carrot Apple Butternut Squash Soup.
Acorn: This squash varies in color from dark green to tie-dyed green with orange shades. Just one cup provides more than 25% DV of vitamin C. You can soften the squash before cutting by heating in the oven, although it is small enough that this may not be needed. Trim the top from each squash, invert on the cutting board, and slice from bottom to top to create two halves. Remove seeds. You can bake the halves with a drizzle of olive oil and a touch of maple syrup for 30 minutes at 400°F – an excellent side dish. You can also slice into half moons to prepare for roasting. Enjoy turning leftover roasted squash into this delicious Acorn Squash and Kale Salad with Turmeric Dressing.
I hope I’ve helped to make these beautiful, nutrient dense seasonal favorites more approachable for you.
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