Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Here a Squash, There a Squash, Everywhere a Squash, Squash

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Couscous
Roasted Butternut Squash Sliced Lengthwise

Here's the real deal about "Winter Squash."

  • Squash provides important antioxidants like Vitamin A and C and has iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Squash is a complex carbohydrate, and is low-cal if not smothered in oil or butter. Squash is a high fiber food, packed with alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. Eating squash may help reduce the risk of getting certain forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related macular degeneration.

Squash is versatile and easy to prepare. Discover hints and ideas below. Before you begin to cook, wash your hands as well as the outside of whatever squash you decide to use. 

  1. Fill a roasting pan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan with at least two inches of water.
  2. Next, pierce the squash several times with a fork to create steam holes. Leave squash whole (that way you won't have to struggle slicing or chopping through the hard shell). Bake at 375 degrees F for three-quarters of an hour.
  3. Use oven mitts to lift the roasting pan out of the oven. Place pan on a stable cutting board that can withstand the heat of a pan just out of the oven. Test the squash to see if it is soft enough to cut easily in half length-wise. If the squash is not fully cooked, add more water and place it back in the oven to cook for another 15 min. or until tender. Cooking time varies according to the weight and shape of the squash used. 
  4. Allow to cool enough to handle. Put squash on a carving board and cut acorn or butternut squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and mushy pulp. 
  5. Peel the skin off of the acorn and butternut squash and slice into bite-sized slices or chunks.Flavor with a savory spice combo like garlic, finely chopped rosemary, thyme, and sage.
  6. An additional way to prepare acorn or butternut squash is to puree the pulp in a food processor, using a half cup of organic apple juice or nut milk, until creamy and lump free. 
  7. Prepare spaghetti squash the same way, until after you cut it in half. Allow spaghetti squash to cool for a few minutes. Then, use a large fork to make the pulp string into pieces and resemble spaghetti. Heat it up in a spicy marinara sauce. See Spaghetti-Squash-Magic for Handling Ideas and Recipe. If you prefer, serve spaghetti squash in a flavorful vegetable broth that has been infused with ginger.  
  8. Serve squash dishes with a grain like brown rice, couscous, quinoa, or buckwheat. Serve steamed collards, chard, kale, or spinach greens in addition for a plant based entrée that's loaded with nutrients and flavor.
Any way you serve winter squash, get ready for a tasty, nutritious treat.

Note: This post was updated on Nov. 18, 2016

Links to additional resources follow:

The quotation for today is:
"You know, when you get your first asparagus, or your first acorn squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook's year. I get more excited by that than anything else."  Mario Batali. See Brainy Quote link below.

Are you a squash-cooking newbie? Great news. Cooking squash and eating it is delicious fun. Try it!

Please comment below. Scroll down underneath the last comment, and put feedback in the space provided. Then click publish.

I'd love to know your favorite kind of winter squash. Are you willing to share recipe ideas or tips? If you have a post with a plant-based recipe (vegan) for winter squash, leave a link and I'll publish it.

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  1. Via Real Food Fridays, I'm glad to find your blog. I love squash!

  2. I love squash. So healthy and taste so good.

    Coming from REAL Food Friday. Come-by and visit me.

  3. I love any kind of winter squash. Thanks for sharing you knowledge and recipe ideas. Visiting from Real Food Friday & co-hosting. Have a wonderful healthy day@

  4. OMG! Squash! Perfect time of year for this kind of post and info! Thanks so much! And thanks for swinging by my place and commenting :) Blogs are so great for archiving stuff like this, eh!? Don't forget to swing by and enter my contest for some Flaxseed and Fruit Antioxidants :)

    1. Thanks +Jennifer Bliss. You are so right about archiving. I save recipes and DIY project ideas for ages and re-cycle them when I can.

  5. Hi Nancy,
    With all of the wonderful winter squash in season now, this excellent post is just what I needed to explore the joys of spaghetti, acorn and butternut squash more than I usually do. Thank you so much for sharing this healthy and delicious recipe at the Plant-Based Potluck Party Blog Hop! I sincerely appreciate it.

  6. Hi Nancy,

    I love your title for this post :). Thanks for all of this great info about winter squash. While I didn't have a lot of success this year growing any acorn squash, my pie pumpkins grew very well, and I ended up with about nice of those. Can't wait to make gluten-free homemade pumpkin pie with my home grown pumpkins, which are essentially a type of winter squash. Saying hello from the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #43 (I am the Day by Day Homesteading blog author)!

  7. You are so right about that!. At my local farmer's market everywhere I turn I see Squash, Squash, and More Squash! Thanks for sharing your healthy
    and delicious winter squash preparation tips with us on the Plant-based Potluck Party. I'm pinning and sharing.

    1. Thanks Deborah for your comment. I look forward to reading all the great posts at the Plant-based Potluck Party each week. I'm pinning and sharing all that I can. Nancy A.

  8. I LOVE squash. I love fall because the squash is so inexpensive. TFS!

    1. Thanks Amy. You are so right. Squash is at its peak in fall and the most inexpensive time to purchase it. It's a great crop to grown in a home garden and requires very little work. Have a great WE.

  9. I love to stuff acorn squash. It looks pretty and tastes great! I like your cous cous idea. There is a restaurant that I go to that serves stuffed butternut squash and it is one of the most popular items on the menu. Thanks for the great post on squash!

    1. Thanks Judee. Yes, acorn squash looks so festive when it's stuffed. Have a terrific Sunday.

  10. I have always been a little intimidated by large, hard to cut winter squashes so I am delighted that you shared these helpful winter squash tips and insights with us at the Plant-based Potluck Party. I'm Pinning and sharing this!

    1. Thanks so much Deborah. Wishing you a sunny day!


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