For me, one of the joys of living in a state that has four seasons is really enjoying the foods that are in season. As the weather cools off, I enjoy the change from summer’s cold or grilled vegetables to fall’s roasted vegetables and vegetable soups. One of my favorite vegetables to roast is winter squash. Not only is it delicious, many of the varieties can be pureed to make a delicious soup with very little effort. The orange winter squashes (pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash, buttercup squash) contain beta carotene, potassium, and vitamin C and are low in calorie with 1 cup of cooked cubes having only about 100 calories (this will vary depending on the exact variety).
Here are a few ideas for adding nutritious winter squash to your menus:
- Simple roasted squash as a side for roasted chicken or turkey
- Roasted squash soup: Sauté a little onion and garlic in olive oil with a small amount of fresh sage. Add low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock and the flesh from your roasted squash (the stock should cover the squash). Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes and puree either in a blender or with an immersion blender (you may want to allow the soup to cool before this step as a safety measure). Season soup to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy. I’ve found this soup freezes well and often make a double batch, so that I can enjoy this soup on a night when I don’t have time to cook.
- Roasted squash and farro: Roast cubed squash and cook farro according to package directions. Toss together with a small amount of parmesan and your favorite roasted nut or seed.
- Pumpkin pie oatmeal: Add pumpkin puree (this is a good use for canned pumpkin puree) and pumpkin pie spice to oatmeal. Add a small amount of maple syrup to taste.
- Pumpkin smoothie: Puree pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla yogurt together. Top with a little granola if desired.
What is your favorite way to enjoy winter squash?
- Winter Squash
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove the stem from the squash and carefully cut in half lengthwise. Remove seeds (you can save these for roasting), place on a baking sheet and brush the cut halves with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper unless you are planning on adding the roasted squash to your morning oatmeal or smoothie. Roast until tender (this will vary depending on the size of your squash, but plan on 45 minutes to an hour), scoop the flesh from the squash and serve or use in soups or other dishes.
- For beautiful chunks of roasted squash you can toss squash cubes (butternut squash can be purchased already peeled and cubed if you are short on time or patience) with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until tender (the time will depend on the size of your squash cubes).