Insider’s Viewpoint: What to Do with Winter Squash
During the harvest season, pumpkins and winter squash are abundant at supermarkets and farm stands. Due to their size, some of these gourds seem destined only for decorating front porches during October and November. Hopefully, many others will make it to your table so you can enjoy the benefit these vegetables offer. A cup of winter squash provides about 100 calories, fiber for digestive and heart health, and beta carotene for eye health and glowing skin. Choose your level of cooking expertise – or convenience – to enjoy winter squash in a number of ways …
Canned Pumpkin. A Thanksgiving spread would not be complete without pumpkin pie and canned pumpkin provides a convenient, easy way to make this favorite dessert. Some other recipes call for a cup or less of canned pumpkin. What can you do with the rest?
- Add pumpkin to smoothies.
- Swirl some pumpkin into vanilla pudding or oatmeal.
- Try pumpkin pancakes or waffles.
- Add pumpkin to mac and cheese or spaghetti sauce for a richer flavor and texture.
Cubed Squash. If you want fresh squash, but cutting open one of these gourds seems like a daunting task, look for cubed squash in the produce section. Place squash cubes on a baking sheet, drizzle with just enough oil to coat lightly, then roast in a 375° F oven for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice to ensure even browning. Winter squash is versatile and pairs with many herbs or spices …
- Sweet > Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg
- Savory > Use garlic and rosemary
- Exotic > Add cumin and chili powder
Serve as a side dish or add roasted squash cubes to soups and stews.
Whole Squash. Because of their hollow insides, acorn squash and pumpkins make delightful soup bowls or dip containers. Smaller squash can also serve as a crock to hold stew or stuffing. How? Just slice open squash with a large, sturdy knife and cutting board (use care when cutting through the tough skin). Fill and enjoy!
Tip! Enjoy leftover Thanksgiving turkey in style by using squash as a tagine, which is a terra cotta bowl with a lid used in Moroccan cooking.
Squash Tagine with Turkey
Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes, Cook time: 1 hour
- 6 small (3-inch) acorn squash or pumpkins
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 cups diced cooked turkey
Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice off top 1/4 of squash to make a lid, scoop out and discard seeds. If bottom is pointed, slice off the tip to make it level. Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange squash and lids in dish, place in oven to bake for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender.
Stir in tomatoes, raisins, spice, cumin, zest, pepper and turkey. Cook until heated through.
Fill squash with meat mixture, place lids on. Continue to bake until squash is tender, about 30 minutes more.
Suggestion: Serve with wild rice and green beans.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 280 calories, 4.5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 35mg cholesterol, 630mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 10g sugars, 18g protein
Sylvia Emberger, RD, LDN