Squash

This quintessential autumn veggie adds flavor and texture to risotto, soup, quick breads, and more.
Squash

Think of winter squash as the MVP of the vegetable world: It’s inexpensive, nutrient-packed, easy to keep and store, and pretty enough to double as a party-table centerpiece. Each variety has its own special qualities, yet they’re interchangeable in most recipes.

These lovely vegetables get their autumnal hues from immunityboosting beta-carotene, which the human body converts to vitamin A. One serving of baked winter squash contains a whopping 146 percent of the recommended daily allowance. It’s also a great source of vitamin C and potassium.

To crack the secrets (and the thick shell) of winter squash, all you need is a sharp knife and some elbow grease. Cut squash in half, then slice into smaller pieces for easy peeling and cubing. Or just roast the halves to obtain a purée that can be scooped out with a spoon. The purée makes a creamy base for soups, sauces, and baked goods—use it to replace canned pumpkin in a holiday pie and you’ll immediately taste the difference. Both the purée and peeled raw cubes freeze well too, meaning you can enjoy winter squash year-round.

HERBED WINTER VEGETABLE ROAST
Serves 6 – Vegan

Thin-skinned delicata and butternut squash can be roasted without peeling. Serve this satisfying vegetable roast with brown rice, steamed bulgur, or polenta. Sprinkle leftovers with grated cheese, and broil until bubbly for a delicious next-day dinner.

2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
2 delicata or 1 large butternut squash, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (2 1/2 lb.)
1 acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (1 lb.)
2 medium carrots, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices (1 cup)
2 medium parsnips, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices (1 cup)
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch-thick wedges

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, rosemary, basil, thyme, and garlic in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add delicata or butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots, parsnips, and onion; toss to coat. Spread in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, stirring every 15 minutes.

PER SERVING: 190 CAL; 4G PROT; 6G TOTAL FAT (1G SAT. FAT); 34G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 408MG SOD; 7G FIBER; 10G SUGARS

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO WITH PESTO
Serves 6 – 30 minutes or fewer – Vegan

Here’s a convenience food to add to your shopping list: cubed butternut squash, which is now sold fresh or frozen at supermarkets and natural grocers. The precut cubes and prepared pesto make this recipe ideal for busy weeknights or impromptu dinner parties. Recipe by Victoria A. Riccardi.

3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup prepared pesto, divided
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 cups fresh or frozen cubed butternut squash (1 small squash)

  1. Bring broth and 2 cups water to a boil in large saucepan; turn off heat.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs. pesto in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes. Stir in rice, followed by 1/2 cup hot broth. When rice has absorbed broth, add another 1/2 cup. Continue adding broth in this manner 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in squash, and season with salt and pepper. Resume adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time until rice has absorbed all liquid. (This should take about 15 minutes.) Remove from heat, and stir in 1 Tbs. pesto. Spoon risotto into 6 bowls and top each with 1 tsp. pesto.

PER SERVING: 204 CAL; 5G PROT; 5G TOTAL FAT (1.5G SAT. FAT); 37G CARB; 3MG CHOL; 349MG SOD; 4G FIBER; 5G SUGARS

AZUKI BEANS AND WINTER SQUASH
Serves 4 – Vegan

This classic macrobiotic dish makes an especially comforting meal as the weather gets colder. Red azuki beans are slightly sweet and are often used in Japanese desserts. They can be found in natural food stores or Asian markets.

1 cup azuki beans, rinsed and picked through
1 4-inch strip kombu sea vegetable
1 lb. butternut or other winter squash, cubed (2 cups)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
3 green onions, cut thin on diagonal

  1. Place azuki beans in large nonmetal bowl, and cover with water. Let soak 8 hours, or overnight. Drain.
  2. Place kombu in 1 inch of water in large saucepan. Soak 10 minutes, or until soft. Add azuki beans and enough water to cover. Put lid on pan, and bring beans to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 25 minutes. Add squash and salt. Simmer, covered, 25 minutes more, or until squash is soft. Stir in tamari, and sprinkle with green onions.

PER SERVING: 196 CAL; 10G PROT; 1G TOTAL FAT (0G SAT. FAT); 42G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 499MG SOD; 8G FIBER; 4G SUGARS

SQUASH SPICE BREAD
Serves 8

Butternut squash purée adds flavor while replacing some of the eggs and fat in this quick bread recipe. Spelt flour imparts a fine-grained texture, but all purpose flour will work just as well.

1 medium butternut squash, halved
and seeded (1 1/2 lb.)
1 Tbs. maple syrup
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. chopped walnuts, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup plain (unsweetened) soymilk
1 Tbs. vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Place squash halves cut-side down on baking sheet. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until soft. Cool. Scoop fl esh from skin, mash with maple syrup, and set aside.
  2. Coat 8- x 41/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Combine spelt flour, sugar, walnuts, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in large bowl. Lightly beat eggs in separate bowl. Whisk in oil, soymilk, and vanilla until smooth. Fold squash into liquid ingredients with spatula. Stir squash liquid mixture into flour mixture.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbs. walnuts. Bake 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes on wire rack, then unmold and cool completely.

PER SERVING: 311 CAL; 7G PROT; 15G TOTAL FAT (1.5G SAT. FAT); 40G CARB; 53MG CHOL; 323MG SOD; 5G FIBER; 17G SUGARS

CURRY-KURI SQUASH SOUP
Serves 8 – Vegan

It took us several tries to get this soup just right, but when we hit on the idea of using a sweet potato to keep it from tasting watery, the results were creamy and luscious. Tear-shaped kuri squash have a rich, reddish-orange color and nutty flavor—perfect for spicy dishes.

1 medium kuri squash (3 lb.), seeded
and quartered
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, halved
2 Tbs. canola or olive oil, divided
1 large sweet potato, pricked with fork (1 lb.)
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbs. chopped chives, for garnish

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In center of each squash quarter, set 1 onion quarter and 1 garlic half; drizzle with 1 tsp. oil, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil, and place on baking sheet along with potato. Bake 1 hour, or until squash and potato are soft. Cool 20 minutes, or until easy to handle.
  2. Heat remaining oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Coarsely chop onion quarters, and add to oil with garlic halves. Sauté 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add ginger and curry, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  3. Scoop squash and sweet potato flesh into pot, cover with 6 cups water, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to mediumlow and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and purée squash mixture in blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in orange juice and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with pinch of chopped chives.

PER SERVING: 108 CAL; 3G PROT; 2.5G TOTAL FAT (0.5G SAT. FAT); 21G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 167MG SOD; 2G FIBER; 7G SUGARS

VT executive chef Ann Gentry’s love of squash goes back to her Southern childhood, when she first experienced the flavors of yellow squash fried with onions. Today, she has found more healthful—but equally delicious—ways to cook all kinds of squash.

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comments

I saw a suggestion regarding roasting large, thick skinned squash whole. I tried this method today with a 3 pound Kabocha squash. After piercing the squash in 5 to 6 areas; I put the whole squash in a parchment paper lined skillet. Pre heated 375 degree oven for 1hr 20min..give or take 10 min. After cooling to handle, I didn't really need a knife because the skin was very soft. I used a grapefruit spoon to scrap out the pulp and seeds. Less time and effort. I cannot eat starchy veggies and now I can get my sweet potato/yam fix with Kabocha squash.

diane masser - 2013-10-10 01:39:14

I made the curry kuri squash soup. It is amazing. I added some dry sherry to it, and it was one of the best soups I've made.

llf - 2009-12-10 15:01:07

Nice. I've tried the Azuki Beans and Winter Squash recipe before. After adjusting the seasons to our taste it has been a favorite when I can find Azuki beans. Once I discovered I could sub any winter squash in place of any other I've been trying a lot more. Our favorite is Fegato Ai Sette Cannoli

pjh139 - 2009-10-09 08:05:35

If the veg roast has 34 carbs, 10 are sugars and 7 are fiber, where are the rest? As a diabetic, this delicious sounding recipe is pretty toxic to me. I would love it if Veg Times had more recipes that really and truly work for diabetics - it's one place where low carb is essential, esp in terms of sugars. Thanks.

FromageBleu - 2008-02-10 17:41:09

Mmmm...mashed squash is a favorite around here. Here's what I do: halve the squash (esp. good w/ butternut or pumpkin). Roast in a casserole w/a little water for 2 hours, then take it out. Let it cool, then peel and chop. Run through the food processor/blender/ricer. Puree w/ cream or plain Kefir and serve w/ cinnamon. SO good!

fogcitygirl - 2008-02-09 12:54:35

Any news on what a serving size actually is for the nutritional info?

Christina - 2008-02-08 12:04:39

My mom use to make spaghetti squash by baking it. Then she would remove it from the skin and put butter and seasoned salt over it. Very tasty.

Samuel - 2007-12-02 10:54:00

I'm not a great cook and always looking for easy fast and healthy recipes. The butternut squash risotto was perfect. And even my two little boys loved it. I'll make it often.

Dee - 2007-11-30 18:03:28

The vegetable roast is fantastic! my family is addicted.

am - 2007-11-11 17:17:14

Mary Beth - 1.5 cups of arborio rice generally takes about 5-5.5 cups of broth. If you adjust the recipe accordingly, I bet it would work fine!

Leslie - 2007-11-11 12:12:18

I'm making the herbed vegetable roast tonight. Think I might add a little fennel to it, give it a nice sweet flavor.

KO - 2007-11-09 11:39:55

Great recipes! Could you make some simple recipes because i'm trying to teach my little cousin (she's 5) how fix lunches.

Charlotte - 2007-11-07 08:51:17

I make risotto quite frequently and I just keep tasting the rice and adding more liquid until the rice seems adequately done. I've found the amount of liquid required differs from one time to the next. I cook my risotto at medium as well. If you cook it on low it will take forever. Just add more liquid next time. :)

Ava - 2007-10-13 00:20:07

I tried the butternut squash risotto with pesto recipe and thought I followed everything perfectly... but both the squash and the risotto were undercooked. The taste combination was perfect though. I would like to try the recipe again, next time using more liquid and cooking at a heat lower than medium.

Mary Beth - 2007-10-10 20:15:30

always great recipes thank you

mmohammar - 2007-10-09 14:33:00