Fall seemed to arrive suddenly last weekend. It’s arrival also triggered my desire to gorge on macaroni and cheese and hibernate until spring, or maybe even summer. Pretty much the only good things about winter are hoodies and hot foods. Squash is one of those foods that’s ubiquitous with fall.
There are loads of varieties of squash. If you don’t like one that doesn’t mean that you won’t like them all. Try different varieties before you write them all off. Butternut squash is one of my favourites. It makes a great soup or you can add it to stews or chili. You can also puree butternut squash and sub it for some of the cheese in mac and cheese or cheese sauce to make it a little bit healthier. My other fave is spaghetti squash. You can essentially use it like spaghetti with sauce or have it as a side dish with spices like cumin and cayenne pepper.
Naturally, different varieties of squash contain different nutrients. In general, winter squash has about 80 calories per cup. It’s a great source of fibre (6.1 grams), potassium (522 mg), calcium (48 mg), beta carotene (6050 mcg), and folate (48 mcg).
The easiest way to cut and cook a squash is to halve it from top to bottom, scoop out the seeds, place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast at about 400F for about an hour (depending on the size – you’ll know it’s done when you press on the top and it has some give). Remove from the oven and set aside until it’s cool enough to handle then peel off the skin using your fingers.
Here’s a link to one of my favourite spaghetti squash recipes: Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices. Note: you don’t need nearly as much butter as the recipe calls for. I generally use about 1 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. And here’s my favourite butternut squash recipe (a fair number of calories and a fair amount of work but definitely worth it!): Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding.