Winter squashes are readily available at this time of year. They are nutritionally dense, supplying beta carotene, iron, and riboflavin, but best of all they provide endless options for creating tasty, satisfying meals. The best cooking method for almost any winter squash is to cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and then steam it or bake it in the oven. The flesh will then be soft and easy to scrape out or cut, to be used in a wide variety of delicious recipes.
Acorn, butternut and kabocha squash can be cut in half and filled with a delicious stuffing to provide the perfect centerpiece to any holiday table. The green and yellow striped delicata squash has sweet yellow flesh and a soft skin which can be eaten, eliminating the need for peeling. Spaghetti squash can be separated into spaghetti-like strands, making it an interesting addition to stews. And most familiar of all is pumpkin (baked, steamed or from a can), used in soups, stews, pies and even cookies!
Baked Squash Recipes
Baked Spaghetti Squash
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Put a little water in a rimmed baking tray.
- Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. Brush both halves with a little olive oil and season with sea salt.
- When ready to bake, place the squash flesh side down and bake for 30 to 45 minutes until fork tender. (The squash is ready when you can easily pierce through the flesh with a fork. Do not overbake or your noodles will be mushy.)
- When done, remove from oven and let it rest until cool enough to handle.
- Then, use a fork to gently rake the squash flesh from the peel. (Gently run a fork around the inside of the squash in a circular motion. This will result in less breaking of the strands so you have longer noodles.)
- Transfer spaghetti squash “noodles” to a serving dish and top with your favorite sauce or stew.
Acorn Squash with Orange Juice
- 2 Acorn Squash
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)
- Ground cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Put a little water in a rimmed baking dish to cover the bottom.
- Wash the squash and cut in half crosswise. Scrape out the seeds, cut the bottoms level, taking care not to cut a hole in the cavity.
- Arrange halves face up in the baking tray.
- Place 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup in each squash. Add 2 tablespoons of orange juice to each and sprinkle with cinnamon and a little nutmeg.
- Cover the dish loosely with foil lined with parchment, and bake for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until squash are tender enough to mash in their skins.
Easy Winter Squash au Gratin
Hubbard or Butternut squash works well for this easy yet elegant dish.
- 3 cups peeled and cubed winter squash
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Place squash in a medium bowl and toss with garlic and parsley. Add flour and mix well to thoroughly coat squash cubes.
- Oil a shallow baking dish. Pour squash mixture into dish and drizzle with oil. Bake 2.5 hours, or until crusty on top and soft underneath. Squash should still hold its cubed shape.
For other squash recipes, see:
Pumpkin soup recipe
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This week, the challenges are all focused around using non-dairy products, so it’s been labelled “vegan week”. Some regular viewers are horrified, thinking that baking can’t be done without dairy products, but the show is calculated to appeal to a younger audience, in a country where a significant percentage of the younger population are transitioning to veganism.
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