During the fall harvest, try winter squash in your diet. Different kinds of winter squash include acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkin. Since they’re packed with vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and fiber, they’re a nutritious option.
These squash have thicker, tough shells, so you’ll want to separate the flesh from the shell. The thicker shell ensures they have a longer shelf life, which can extend for months.
Winter squash also have higher starch content than summer squashes, so they hold up well in roasting, in soups and stews, and can be used more easily in baking. They can also be a great substitute for other starches such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, or even rice and noodles. On top of this all, they’ve got nutrient-dense seeds you can roast.
Some ideas to help you enjoy winter squash
- Roast: Roasting will help caramelize the squash and make it taste even sweeter. For acorn and butternut squash, peel and seed them, then cut into 1” chunks. All you need is olive oil and salt and pepper to season. For spaghetti squash, cut it in half and seed it. Pour some water in each side. Use a fork to scrape out the flesh after cooking. Use in lieu of noodles in your favorite dish, or season with salt and pepper.
- Soups and stews: You can put cubed squash directly into a stew or chili. Or consider using roasted and pureed squash for a really creamy consistency. Butternut, acorn squash, and pumpkin are great options for this method. Even better, you can use canned pumpkin too. You get a creamy consistency without all the fat from cream!
- Roasted seeds: In your winter squash cooking, you’re bound to end up with seeds. Save them and separate them from pulp and strings. Rinse with water, pat dry, and place in one layer on a parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheet. Toss with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasonings and roast for 15 minutes.