Butternut | Acorn | Kabocha | Spaghetti | Pumpkin
Many of us mistakenly think of winter squash as a sort of special vegetable—a high maintenance side dish that we reserve for colorful holiday celebrations. Au contraire—these weirdly shaped, fabulously colored veggies are easy to make, packed with nutrients and form the basis for many great recipes —reason enough to firmly establish it into your weekly menu.
Which squashes are the winter variety?
Butternut, acorn, kabocha, spaghetti and pumpkin!
There are probably many more, but these are readily available in your market right now!
If you’re already sick of pumpkins, (kind of early for that, but I get it), then move onto another beautiful and vibrant squash. There are enough to keep switching it up. They’re comforting, (is everything sort of warm, golden and mushy considered comforting?) and healthy, so don’t save them for Thanksgiving! but, yes, they are wonderful for Thanksgiving!!
Health Benefits of Winter Squash
- low in fat
- high in fiber so it fills you up
- packed with carotenoids, (or beta-carotenes)
- high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C
- provides calcium, iron, Vitamin E, thiamine, potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and manganese
- contains anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants
Acorn Squash stuffed with Sweet Rice, Currants and Vegetables (adapted)
from Real Food Daily Cookbook
- 4 small acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 3 Tbs canola oil
- garlic powder
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups uncooked short-grain brown rice, rinsed well
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 6 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 8 oz of white mushrooms, sliced
- 2 Tbs tamari
- 1 cup currants
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), toasted and crumbled
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Brush insides of the squash with the oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Arrange the half squashes, hollow side up, on a large heavy baking sheet.
- Roast for 45 minutes or until it is tender. Keep warm
- Meanwhile, cook 2 cups of rice according to instructions.
- While rice is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms, onion, celery and carrots. Saute for 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Stir in tamari, then currants and basil.
- Stir in cooked rice and season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the rice mixture among the hot roasted squash
- Sprinkle toasted pepitas over the stuffing and serve.
Baby Spinach and Quinoa Salad topped with Kabocha Squash “Croutons”
- 1 Kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin), cut into halves, seeds removed, then cut into 1 inch bite size pieces
- 1 lb of baby spinach leaves
- 1 bunch of savoy cabbage, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup of quinoa, cooked accordingly to instructions and chilled
- olive oil spray
- garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- nutritional yeast
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spray Kabocha squash chunks with olive oil (or toss in 1 tsp of olive oil) and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper and nutritional yeast. Spread on a cooking sheet, lightly sprayed with oil.
- Roast for 30-35 minutes, stopping halfway to toss or turn over. Keep an eye on it so that it get golden brown but not burned.
- In a salad bowl, mix together the spinach leaves, the cabbage and the quinoa.
- When squash is finished cooking, allow to cool for 10 minutes or chill in fridge.
- Arrange salad with kabocha squash chunks on top.
- Top with VAP Original Recipe Awesome Baslamic Hummus Salad Dressing
• 4 heaping Tablespoons of your favorite hummus (store bought or homemade)
• 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
• 2 Tablespoons Olive oil or MCT Lean Oil (found at the link below)
• 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
• salt and pepper to taste
• squeeze of 1/4 slice of fresh lemon
Whisk together until blended. Note: If you want to eliminate the oil and go oil-free, this recipe works beautifully!
• 3 cans (16 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can (16 ounce) diced tomatoes
• 1 can (16 ounce) corn, rinsed and drained
• 1 can (16 ounce) can pumpkin puree
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 1/4 cups chopped onion
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 4 cups vegetable broth
1 Puree in food processor until smooth: 2 cans of the black beans and the 1 can of diced tomatoes. Set aside.
2 In soup pot: olive oil, onion, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat and stir until the onion is soft and translucent.
3 Stir in black bean & tomato puree from the food processor.
4 Stir in remaining can of black beans, vegetable broth, can of pumpkin puree. Mix until well blended.
5 Simmer for 25 minutes or until thick.
6 Optional: top with toasted garbanzo beans, garnish with cilantro
7 Makes 4 large portions or 8 small portions
• 2 cups diced pumpkin
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp maple syrup ( or brown sugar or dark agave)
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the diced pumpkin.
2 Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to crush the pumpkin cubes.
3 Remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup and cinnamon.
• 1 organic kabocha squash
• 2 shallots, minced
• 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar separated as follows: 3 tablespoons to use with the roasting of the squash and 2 tablespoons to use when sauteeing the greens
• 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tsp salt 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 large bunch of kale, chopped (I just rip pieces off of the stem)
• 1 small bunch of collard greens, chopped
1 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2 Cut the kabocha squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks, leaving the skin on.
3 Mix the squash with the minced shallots, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil and salt.
4 Roast the squash for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When squash is done (it should be tender), remove from the oven and set aside.
5 In a large pan, saute the garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
6 Add the just washed kale and collard greens in batches (they should still be a little wet) to the pan, stirring constantly until they have just started to wilt.
7 Then add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar to the pan and stir with the greens for one minute longer.
8 Add the squash to the greens, mix and serve
• 1 large “Goldie” squash or 2 small acorn squashes (about 2 lbs total weight)
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 8 garlic cloves, halved
• 1 tablespoon pine nuts
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2 Coat a shallow dish or baking sheet with cooking spray.
3 Cut the squash into 1/2 inch thick rings (TIP: for easier cutting, microwave whole unpeeled squash for 3 to 5 minutes) leaving the peel intact.
4 Scrape the seeds out of the center of each ring and discard.
5 Place rings in the prepared baking dish in a single layer and brush them with 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil (I sprayed the rings with olive oil from a MISTO sprayer), and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Bake for 15 minutes.
6 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the garlic with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil.
7 Sprinkle the garlic, olive oil and pine nuts evenly over the squash rings and continue baking until the squash is tender and the pine nuts are lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes longer.
8 Season with the remaining salt and pepper.
- 4 cups kabocha squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 3 1/2 cups of water
- 2 pinches of fine sea salt
- Minced fresh parsley, for garnish
For the Chickpea Nuts:
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- A large pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Place the squash in a saucepan with 3 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and add a small pinch of salt. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the squash is soft.
2. Mash the squash with a potato masher, or blend with a handheld blender, right in the pot. Add another pinch of salt (or 1 teaspoon shoyu), and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes longer.
3. Serve the soup hot with the roasted chickpea nuts and a sprinkle of parsley on top.
For the Roasted Chickpeas:
- Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt.
- Place the coated chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with olive oil.
- Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, tossing after 15 minutes.
- They are done when they are slightly brown and crunchy.
*Note: The most difficult part of this recipe is cutting and peeling the squash. After you cut the kabocha squash in half, peel the skin of each half with the flat side of the kabocha facing down on a cutting board.
- 1 Spaghetti Squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped into thin slices
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped into matchsticks
- 1 yellow squash, chopped into matchsticks
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into thin slices
- 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes (I like the “Muir Glen” brand)
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay squash halves flesh side down on sheet.
- Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until you can easily pierce the shell with a fork (it could possibly take up to 1 hour so pierce with fork every 10 minutes to check if it’s done).
- Remove squash from the oven and let it cool.
- Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions and garlic to pan and stir until onions brown (about 10 minutes) making sure to add small amounts of water to the pan, as necessary, to prevent burning.
- Then, add zucchini, yellow squash and red bell pepper to pan, stir and cook for about 10 more minutes (until veggies soften up).
- Add tomatoes and basil and stir everything together. Simmer over low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Then, add salt and pepper to the pan, to taste.
- Scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash crosswise with a fork to pull strands from its shell.
- Add the spaghetti squash strands to the pan, stir everything together and cook for a couple of minutes more until squash is heated through. Serve on individual plates.
Serves 2 as a main dish, and 4 as a side dish
- Approximately 1 lb. or a bit more (or about 20 oz) peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 1 lb. of “Teeny Tiny” potatoes (or other cubed potatoes)
- One 10 oz bag of cut, washed and ready to use Tuscan kale (or about 10 oz. of any variety of chopped kale) Approximately
- 10 garlic cloves, chopped
- Olive oil in a spray bottle (or about 1/2 -1 tablespoon) for a light coating
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
For the Pecan Parmesan “Cheese”:
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Place butternut squash, potatoes and garlic in a large mixing bowl.
Spray or toss with olive oil to lightly coat, and add salt.
3) Spread squash, potatoes and garlic on a large baking sheet (do not add kale yet). 4) Roast in oven for 45 minutes (mixing everything after 25 minutes and place back in oven for 20 minutes).
5) While the squash, potatoes and garlic are roasting, make the Pecan Parmesan “Cheese” by grinding the pecans, nutritional yeast and salt in a mini processor, grinder or high powered blender.
6) After 45 minutes, remove the roasted vegetables from the oven. Toss in the kale, mixing everything together while wearing oven mitts or using pot holders to prevent burning yourself with the hot tray.
7) Sprinkle the mixture generously with the Pecan Parmesan “Cheese” and place the tray back into the oven for 6-8 minutes.
8) Remove and serve! Feel free to add more salt, to taste, and/or more Pecan Parmesan if you desire.