I don’t think any of us can deny that fall is officially here! Now we can embrace the season and for many of us that includes hunkering down and cooking some fall comfort food. Soups and stews come to mind. A few years ago as I was changing the types of food I ate, I discovered different squashes and to my delight they are so delicious!!! Where have you been all my life squash???
Today I want to highlight some popular squash varieties: what they look like, how to cook them, their nutritional benefits, and a recipe you can use them in.
Acorn – dark green/orange, or buff-colored, has a ribbed rind, and contains a moist yellow or orange interior. This particular variety of squash contains vitamin A, niacin, folate, thiamine, and vitamin B6 but it is especially a high in vitamin C. Acorn squash is also high in potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Great for roasting and then using as a “squash bowl.” Check out this recipe from Elana’s Pantry for Acorn Squash with Cranberry Apple Stuffing. You could serve as a side dish or add ground sausage for a complete meal.
Butternut – probably the most common variety of winter squash. It has a bell shape with a butterscotch colored skin. Butternut squash contains the highest doses of vitamins A & C of any other squash. It also packs potassium, folate, and lots of fiber. It is easy to peel, cube, and then roast. Great for roasting and soups. Check out this recipe from Civilized Caveman for Bacon Butternut Squash Soup.
Carnival – contains a yellow or orange flesh and a hard outer shell. Carnival squash is both cream colored with orange stripes or pale green with dark green stripes. It is a wonderful source of carotenoids as well as vitamin A & C. Try this recipe from Healthy Living How To for Carnival Squash Bowls.
Delicata – also known as sweet potato squash because of its creamy flavor and texture. This squash resembles a giant, fat cucumber and has a pale yellow skin and dark green pinstripes. Delicata squash, much like other varieties is rich in carotenoids as well as a source of vitamin C, B1, B6, niacin, and potassium. You can eat the skin and it is great for roasting and stuffing. My favorite recipe for delicata squash is from Paleomg, Chicken Bacon Alfredo. I also like to roast delicata squash and then stuff it with shredded beef.
Kabocha – has a subtle, honeyed sweetness and smooth texture. The exterior is jade green, has light green stripes, and the meat inside is pale orange. In addition to being an excellent source of beta-carotene, kabocha squash also contains iron, vitamin C, and some B vitamins. Kabocha squash is drier and denser than other varieties, it can be baked or steamed, or pureed for soups. I love to roast it and use this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo as a guide, Roasted Kabocha Squash.
Pumpkin – has a bright orange skin and light orange flesh. Pumpkins have a mellow sweetness and dense flesh that is perfect for fall baking. They contain vitamin A & C, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, and phosphorous. To use for baking look for small sugar or new england pie varieties not the large ones used for decoration and/or carving. Great to roast or steam, puree, and then add to any recipe that calls for pumpkin. I found a great grain free pie recipe from Paleoista, Paleo Pumpkin Pie.
Spaghetti – oval yellow squash contains a stringy flesh that when cooked separates into mild-tasting spaghetti-like strands. The nutritional benefits of spaghetti squash are that it contains: vitamin A & C, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin K, mangenese, and fiber. It can be topped with tomato sauce like pasta or simply flavored with butter and herbs. Great for roasting. My all time favorite spaghetti squash recipe is Pizza Pie from Paleomg. However, there are so many delicious recipes to try using spaghetti squash.
There are so many wonderful veggies out there this time of year! Go to a farmers market and go crazy!
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