I’m such a fan of winter squashes that start to become abundant during the fall season, so finding new squash recipes is always a joy for me to discover a new way to enjoy this fall superfood. Winter squash varieties such as kabocha, acorn, butternut, pumpkin, delicata, hubbard, red kuri, spaghetti and turban squash are all some of my favorites, though there are many other varieties aside from those. All fall squashes are rich in potassium, Vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, water, magnesium, B vitamins and Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. They are thought of as a starchy vegetable, but due to their fiber and vitamin/mineral complex, they are worth adding to your plate. They’re also great to eat if you have trouble with starchy foods since they eliminate bloating, are digested easily and they cure a sweet tooth like crazy! Plus, they're so nutritious for you! Try some of these new squash recipes I found, which are some of my favorites, aside from simple roasted squash. Then, join me this fall as I indulge in one of nature’s most humble, yet amazing superfoods yet.
1. Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole
This dish makes for the perfect fall dessert recipe, and is one of the simplest squash recipes to make. You can also make this healthier if you wish, by using a gluten-free flour or oats in place of the regular flour and using coconut sugar instead of brown sugar in this recipe, which is a lower glycemic and a more natural option. If you want to make this vegan, use coconut butter instead of the butter called for in this recipe, or use a vegan version like Earth Balance. Either way, when you smell this baking in your oven, you’ll be welcoming in all the best scents fall has to offer and have a delicious dessert to enjoy. This makes the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or other holiday dinners too.
1 small butternut squash
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
First, prepare the butternut squash for your dish. Peel the squash. Remove its seeds. And cut it into large chunks that will then be sliced.
Next peel and core the apples into pieces that will also be sliced. I'm going to use a food processor to slice my squash into even pieces. Use the slice blade attachment and be sure it's locked securely in place. Lock on the lid and place the apple slices into the mouth. Turn on the food processor and slice.
Next, you’ll want to ensemble the dish together. Slice the large chunks of the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the slice attachment on the food processor and pour the sliced squash and apple into 11 by 7 baking dish. Spread out the pieces evenly.
To make the crumb topping, combine the brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Cut in four tablespoons of cold butter with a fork until it's crumbly. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the sliced squash and apples.
Put the dish into the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and serve warm.
2. Butternut Squash Stir Fry
I love the simplicity and flavor complexity of this dish, which contains healthy ingredients that are full of antioxidants. This makes one super tasty side dish, or a large entrée with a side salad. You can serve this anytime of year, not just in the fall. Yet, if you’re new to butternut squash, or looking for a new way to try it, this fall is the perfect time to try it as a stir fry instead of heavier types of stir fries many of us are accustomed to. You could technically use any squash you like here if you don’t like butternut or have a different favorite.
Serves: 4-6 as a side
1 medium butternut squash or 1 bag cubed squash (about 2 lbs.)
1 Tbsp. vegetable or grapeseed oil
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely shredded
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
Halve squash lengthwise. Scoop out seeds, cut off and discard rind, and chop squash into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
In a large frying pan or pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover, and cook until you hear them "pop," about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until opaque and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add squash, salt, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Add additional water if necessary to keep squash from sticking to the pan.
Add cilantro, if you like, and stir to combine.
3. Acorn Squash with Mustard and Honey
Acorn squash is my favorite winter squash aside from kabocha squash, which is harder to find and slightly sweeter. Acorn squash is hands down sweeter than butternut or spaghetti squashes, though they are very similar in nutrition. This acorn squash recipe uses mustard and honey to give a sweet and savory flavor to this amazing squash. I recommend buying acorn squash that is more green than orange on the outside, which means it is riper and will taste better.
2 acorn squash
Butter-Mustard- Honey Mixture:
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon good mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut squash in half cross-wise and scrape out the seeds and inner gunk with a spoon. Rub the skin and cut edge with a little olive oil. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn cut-side up and add butter-honey-mustard mixture, brushing inside walls and the top rims. Continue baking for another 30 minutes or until done. Serve and enjoy!
4. Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Cherries
If you’re a quinoa fan, check out this recipe because it’s incredible. Quinoa is such a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Paired with sweet, rich acorn squash, this is a filling dish all on its own. You could easily serve the squash halves as small meals for one since they are very filling. This is a sweet, amazing fall dish that will make any squash newbie a fan for life!
2 acorn squash, washed
1 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1/4 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries, preferably halved
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, preferably toasted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds and membrane. Rub skin and cut edge with oil.
Place squash face-down on a baking dish (preferably one with sides as high as the squash halves) and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, return to a boil and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until liquid cooks away. Stir in the fruit, nuts, maple syrup, butter and cinnamon.
Mound the quinoa mixture in the squash halves. Cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
5. Raw Butternut Squash Salad
Most people would find it hard to believe you can eat butternut squash raw, but in all actuality, though it is hard before cooking it, butternut squash becomes very soft and tender once grated. It is also surprisingly easy to digest this way, and so much more nutritious. I love the sweet, tender flavor it yields when eating it this way, and enjoy eating this with a large green salad for lunch sometimes. Try it and you might find a new way to love this common squash as well!
Serves: 3 cups
1 small butternut squash (about 1-1/2 pounds to yield 1 pound of edible squash)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons good light-colored vinegar (for example, champagne, white wine, sherry, rice)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1/4 cup currants or dried cranberries (see TIPS)
Salt & pepper to taste
Trim and slice off the skin of the "neck" of a butternut squash -- twice, it's yielded exactly one-pound of sweet winter squash flesh. Grate the squash on the large holes of a hand grater (see tips below). Stir in the remaining ingredients.
Serve and enjoy!
Make ahead version:
Combine all the ingredients, cover and refrigerate. Much to my surprise, the texture doesn't really change (at least over 24 hours) and the squash doesn't discolor either.
Cook’s Tips and Kitchen Notes:
I thought a mandoline would make "prettier" pieces of squash. But a butternut squash is too tough for a mandoline, it just won't slide through. In contrast, a three-sided grated, with a little elbow grease, worked just great.
I have the idea that most people will find a full half cup of this salad to be "a lot". So volume-wise, three cups could go a long ways, a spoonful at a time, almost more like a salsa or relish.
I always choose currants over raisins -- they are less sweet. And because they are smaller, a smaller quantity will "go further" when distributed in a salad or cookies or whatever. Dried cranberries are nearly always large -- so I'd recommend chopping them a little to distribute better.
For texture contrast, I might top with a few toasted almonds or toasted pecans.
6. Chicken and Rice with Kabocha Squash
Whenever I know I want a great, no fail recipe, I turn to Martha. Martha Stewart, that is. I’ve made many of her recipes on a whim for people and they’ve always come out excellent. This dish is no different and is one of the best I’ve ever had using my favorite squash, kabocha squash. This is a one pot meal, in which you could easily use acorn or butternut squash if you can’t find kabocha at your store. Either way, it is a wonderfully creamy dish, and so tasty. I made this with wild rice instead of Arborio rice and it was even better in my opinion, but use whatever rice works for you. Feel free to also use skinless chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs for an even healthier option.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
6 skin-on chicken thighs
Coarse salt and pepper
1 medium white onion, diced medium
1/2 large kabocha squash, seeded and cut into large chunks (4 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 sprigs oregano
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until deep golden and fat is rendered, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip and cook 1 minute more. Transfer chicken to a plate. Discard fat and wipe pot clean.
Reduce heat to medium-high and add remaining tablespoon oil to pot. Add onion and squash and cook until onion is translucent, 8 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring, until opaque, 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until completely evaporated, 2 minutes. Return chicken to pot, skin side up, and add broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil; cover, transfer to oven, and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 25 minutes. Let sit, covered, 10 minutes.
7. Simply Roasted Kabocha Squash
I saved my favorite way to cook any squash for last. It is simple, easy and the most delicious, in my opinion. If you’re making squash for anyone new to it, try this recipe. This recipe is from one of my favorite websites and the author does a great job of describing the simple steps to make this tasty dish below. This dish utilizes the sweet and nutty flavors squash has to offer and is so easy. You can even roast the whole squash instead of slicing it first, and then cut it open after cooking, which makes it easier, then top it with the ingredients. Either way, it’s amazing and so delicious and healthy to boot. I also like to add a dash of cinnamon if I have a sweet tooth for an even better flavor!
1 medium kabocha squash
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Freshly ground black pepper
Here’s how I made it: I preheated the oven to 400 F, rinsed the squash under running water, and dried it. (If you’re gonna peel it, do so now with a sharp vegetable peeler.
Like all winter squash, kabocha takes a sharp knife and a bit of brute force to cut up. I’ve found that the best way to attack it is to cut off the top and the bottom because once the flesh is exposed, cutting it in half is a breeze.
I scooped out the seeds and cut the squash into thin wedges, like curved French fries, with the rind still on.
Next, I tossed the squash with coconut oil and seasoned the slices with some sea salt and black pepper.
I put the squash in a single layer on a foil-lined baking tray and popped it in the oven for 30 minutes and flipped it midpoint to cook evenly.
The wedges are ready to eat and serve when they’re slightly crunchy on the outside and still fluffy and soft on the inside.
No matter what squash recipe you try, appreciate the rarity of certain special squashes like red kuri squash, kabocha and hubbard, which are only available in the fall. Otherwise, you can usually find spaghetti squash, acorn and butternut varieties all year long. Do you like winter squash?