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Posted: November 12, 2013

Oh my gourd! Healthy seasonal squash recipes


By Nicole McDermott

We have to admit the title above is slightly misleading. This article’s real title should be “55 Fall Cucurbita Recipes,” but that terminology just didn’t have the same ring to it. After extensive scientific research (and plenty of 9th grade-style diagrams), we learned that pumpkins, gourds, and squash are all members of the cucurbita genus. That’s fancy Latin-talk for “gourd.” The category encompasses the fleshy, large fruits with hard skins displayed in the supermarket produce section during the fall months. From pumpkins to butternut squash, these healthy, fiber-filled fruits are as versatile as they are hardy (theystay fresh on the counter for weeks and in the fridge for months). Get your chef’s knife and seed-scooping hands ready for these gourd-featuring dishes. 

Some of the 55 healthy seasonal squash recipes are below. Go to Greatist.com for all 55.

Acorn Squash

Small, round, and shaped like — wait for it — an acorn, the acorn squash is easily found in supermarkets. These little guys have sweet, slightly fibrous flesh and hard, blackish-green outer skins.

1. Spicy Honey-Roasted Squash Seeds

Don't throw out the seeds! Clean the seeds before roasting to crunchy deliciousness by tossing them into a big bowl of warm water. Use your hands to rub them around until the pulp separates to the bottom of the bowl and the clean seeds rise to the top. Season seeds with warm honey, paprika, cayenne, and a pinch of salt before popping them onto a baking sheet and into the oven.

2. Spiced Acorn Squash Cookies
Making cookies is the perfect fall indoor activity, so we had to include these fiber-filled, whole-wheat squash cookies. Peanut butter and applesauce balance out the spicycombo of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. There’s a hefty amount of brown sugar in the recipe, but feel free to cut it down by half.

3. Acorn Squash and Thyme Risotto
For comfort food with an equally comforting nutrition profile, this risotto covers all the bases. White wine, chicken broth, thyme, Parmesan cheese, and yellow onion give the rice and acorn squash some flavor. You can sub in brown rice, but parboil it first to achieve a softer, creamier consistency.

4. Acorn Squash, Pomegranate, and Farro Salad
This resourceful salad uses both the seeds and the flesh from an acorn squash. The base of the bowl is farro, an ancient strain of wheat, which has more fiber and fewer caloriesthan brown rice or quinoa. Jazz up the grain with cubed acorn squash, toasted seeds, and pomegranate seeds.

5. Adobo Acorn Squash, Crispy Quinoa, and Jalapeno Chimichurri
The herby sauce — made with cilantro, parsley, garlic, jalapenos, lime, and honey — will make a convert of all squash haters. Coat squash in yogurt and spices before placing the whole meal in the oven to seal in the flavor. To up the heat in the chimichurri, leave some seeds in the jalapeno before tossing ingredients in the food processor or blender.

6. Rutabaga and Acorn Squash Salad
Though fall months may conjure cravings for soups, stews, and casseroles, this salad is a perfect seasonal lunch option. It features roasted squash, roasted rutabaga, carrot, hazelnuts, and raisins. The creamy homemade dressing helps sneak in some protein withGreek yogurt and whey powder. For easy lunches all week long, roast the squash and rutabaga on the weekend.

7. Coconut-Crusted Acorn Squash
This sneaky appetizer looks like an onion ring, but it’s exponentially healthier. Instead of onions, they’re made of acorn squash pieces coated in shredded coconut. Rather than frying, these rings are baked in the oven with a touch of olive oil. We love the idea of dipping ‘em in a mix of BBQ sauce and sriracha.

Butternut Squash

9. Hearty Chicken Stew With Butternut Squash and Quinoa
This filling yet healthy soup incorporates shredded chicken, cubed butternut squash, and nutty quinoa. Diced tomatoes and kalamata olives add sweetness and tang.

11. Butternut Squash and Kale Quesadillas With Cumin-Lime Yogurt Sauce
These are certainly not your average quesadillas, but since they still feature cheese and a tortilla, they technically pass the test. The new-fangled ‘dillas include cubed butternut,kale, onion, mozzarella, and an easy homemade honey and lime yogurt sauce.

13. Butternut Squash Bruschetta with Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Cranberries
The perfect quick but sophisticated appetizer for any party, this bruschetta ditches tomatoes and basil for seasonal ingredients including butternut squash, dried cranberries, apple cider, goat cheese, and crunchy chopped bacon. To make the bruschetta a little healthier, choose a whole-wheat baguette instead of white bread.

15. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Talk about comfort food. While regular macaroni and cheese recipes depend on heaps of cheese, many sticks of butter, and gallons of cream (slightly exaggerating here), this version relies on pureed butternut squash. The cheese sauce is still creamy and thick, but it’s significantly healthier. 

16. Roasted Butternut Squash Slider with Balsamic Caramelized Onions
Squash is the star in this meat-free sandwich. Homemade sriracha mayo and balsamic-glazed caramelized onions compliment the veggies perfectly. Rather than stacking your squash on a big ole bun, try whole-wheat bread or even a wrap for less messy eating.

Delicata Squash

17. Chipotle Black Bean Stuffed Delicata Squash 

Since the skin of the delicata squash is completely edible, it’s super quick to prepare (and eat every last bit of). This Mexican-flavored dish is filled with brown rice, salsa, black beans, corn, chipotle chilis, shredded cheese, and hot sauce.

20. Roasted Cinnamon-Ginger Delicata Squash
We’re going sweet and salty with this easy baked squash. Coat squash slices in olive oil and go to town seasoning ‘em with cinnamon, ginger, and a touch of granulated sugar.

21. Herbed Apple and Delicata Squash Salad
This salad is elegant yet simple and big on flavor yet low on guilt. Top a bed of arugula and romaine with apple chunks, orange segments, grilled onions, and squash slices. To finish it off, drizzle the homemade herby vinaigrette on top.

22. Chicken Pot-Au-Feu
Pot-Au-Feu is French for “pot on the fire,” and it’s definitely a good way to warm up from the inside out. The main star of this dish is cabbage, but apples, multicolored carrots, onions, sweet potato, and delicata squash are also important ingredients. One of the main elements of the Pot-Au-Feu is a solid piece of crusty bread to soak up any remaining stew — it’s the perfect way to put that stale whole-wheat loaf to use.  

For recipes with Kabocha squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkin and more, go to Greatist.com.

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