My Favorite Winter Squash Recipes

A Veggie Venture's favorite recipes for winter squash, mostly butternut squash!
A collection of favorite recipes for winter squash, the (mostly) colorful, tough-skinned squash that appear in early fall and are easily available well through the winter.

But first, a quick vegetable lesson. What's the difference between winter squash and summer squash? Both grow during the warm months of summer so why is one called 'winter' squash and the other called 'summer' squash?

THE QUICK ANSWER for COOKS Summer squash have tender, edible skins. Winter squash have tough, inedible skins.

BUT PLEASE KNOW This is a 'cooking answer' not a botanical answer! Cooks use the two terms as loose designations for what might be considered the two squash 'families,' the tender-skinned summer squash and the tough-skinned winter squash. But please know, each 'family' has many offspring and cousins and some times, the names change after immigrating. Like most families, it's complicated!

WHAT IS SUMMER SQUASH? 'Summer squash' is the shorthand name for the soft-skinned squash that appear early in the growing season. Summer squash is more perishable than winter squash. It can be cooked but is often eaten raw. Our global food distribution system provides supermarkets with 'summer squash' all year long. No wonder it's confusing!

COMMON NAMES of SUMMER SQUASH A green-skinned zucchini (called 'courgette' in Europe and other places) is one kind of summer squash, so is the yellow-skinned crookneck squash, so are the pattypan squash that look like satellites (my photo of pattypan squash is on Flickr).

WHAT IS WINTER SQUASH? 'Winter squash' is the shorthand name for the tough-skinned squash that appear later in the growing season, late summer and early fall. In Britain and Australia, 'winter squash' is called 'pumpkin' -- which is all very confusing since pumpkin, indeed, has a tough skin but isn't a squash. (There's a photo of what North Americans call 'pumpkin' in my recipe for Stuffed Pumpkin with Apple & Cranberry. More confusion? Canned 'pumpkin' is actually puréed 'calabaza squash'.) Winter squash can be eaten raw but is nearly always cooked.

COMMON NAMES of WINTER SQUASH The most common kind of winter squash is the butternut squash (see photos below), perhaps because of its especially sweet flesh, especially when roasted. Other kinds of winter squash are acorn squash, carnival squash (pictured on the left), kabocha squash, Hubbard squash, even spaghetti squash. Beginning in early fall, my supermarket keeps a bin of colorful winter squash, many different shapes and varieties. Explore!

And now, without further ado, all my favorite winter squash recipes!



How to Roast a Whole Butternut Squash

HOW TO ROAST a WHOLE BUTTERNUT SQUASH

You will not believe how perfectly easy this is! Roast two or three while you're roasting one, then you'll have roasted squash on hand for other dishes, ideas below.

How to Roast a Whole Butternut Squash
Microwave Acorn Squash

MICROWAVE ACORN SQUASH

In a rush? Sure, we often are. You can cook a smaller squash like an acorn squash in the microwave in just a few minutes. It's not 'quite' as succulent as squash slow-roasted in the oven but still, very good.

Microwave Acorn Squash

SQUASH PUFF

But if you're roasting one squash, roast another one or two at the same time so you'll have roasted squash on hand. This means the next squash dish can be on the table in no time at all.

This recipe for Squash Puff comes from my dear Auntie Gloria. I make it for Thanksgiving every year but the color is so beautiful, its texture so fine, like a roasted turkey, it shouldn't be reserved for just one day a year.

Squash Puff
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
Acorn Squash with Mustard & Honey

ACORN SQUASH WITH MUSTARD & HONEY

It's traditional to brush acorn squash with a little maple syrup. But branch out a little with common pantry ingredients and OH OH MY.

Acorn Squash with Mustard & Honey
Acorn Squash with Quinoa & Cherries

ACORN SQUASH WITH QUINOA & CHERRIES

When you stuff an acorn squash with protein-rich quinoa, it's a meal in itself.

Acorn Squash with Quinoa & Cherries
from Kitchen Parade
Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH with MAPLE GLAZE

But okay, you're right, you're right, you just know you're right. And so do I. There really truly is something magical about a little maple syrup on butternut squash. Heaven, this stuff.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze
Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese

BUTTERNUT MAC 'N' CHEESE

And while we're mid moan, add one for the dreamy combination of mac 'n' cheese and roasted butternut squash. This was the run-away hit for Thanksgiving a couple of years back.

Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese
Butternut Squash Soup Recipe That Actually Tastes Like Butternut Squash

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP THAT ACTUALLY TASTES LIKE BUTTERNUT SQUASH

So I'm funny in a certain way. I want foods to taste like what they are. It's why I don't use canned mushroom soup, it makes everything taste like canned mushroom soup. It's why I use less sugar, because I want applesauce to taste like apples not sugar. You get the picture. And so this is where I ran into trouble, finding a soup recipe that really tasted like butternut squash. THIS ONE DOES. It was worth waiting for, it's worth the extra steps in the unusual technique.

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe That Actually Tastes Like Butternut Squash

And this butternut squash soup, it adds the sweetness of fruit and can be served chilled when the weather's warm.

Butternut Squash Soup with Mango & Toasted Coconut
How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers So we've roasted our hearts out, now what? Cute little cubes of winter squash. But first, a safety lesson.

HOW TO CUT UP A BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Sure, we can buy winter squash already cut up but it's expensive and cut who-knows-how-many-days-ago. Once you learn the technique, it takes just a couple of minutes to peel and chop a butternut squash -- and keep all ten fingers.

How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers
Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tagine

SWEET POTATO & BUTTERNUT SQUASH TAGINE

Pretty soon, you'll find yourself tucking into one dish of butternut squash cubes after another. Pretty soon, you'll be pairing butternut squash with all classic fall and winter ingredients.

Like sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tagine
Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH & APPLE


And apples. OH the apples.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple
from Kitchen Parade
Winter Stew

WINTER STEW


And pork and venison and other tender, juicy bites of succulent meat.

Winter Stew
from Kitchen Parade

Note to Vegetarians
Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

CHICKEN & WILD RICE SOUP

And back into soup, here matched with chicken and wild rice, the butternut squash adds texture and color and sweetness. So good!

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
from Kitchen Parade
Raw Butternut Squash Salad

RAW BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD

Would you believe it, raw? Yes, even winter squash can be eaten raw, no cooking! This is a great season-transition salad.

Raw Butternut Squash Salad





© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2011


10 comments:

Butternut mac 'n cheese. BEST.DISH.EVER. I made it this Thanksgiving as a main for me (the lone vegetarian at a table of 12), and as a side for everyone else. I adapted the recipe because I'm not a fan of regular cheddar cheese in my mac 'n cheese. So I used a combination of cheeses. Oh my. This was definitely a keeper and since it's a wee bit healthier than the dish without the squash, I can make it and feel a bit more virtuous. And healthy! :)

Alanna, what an amazing array of Winter Squash Recipes. Thank you. I don't know where to start ... they all look and sound heavenly! Linda Yarbrough

I also love all kinds of squash and use it in a variety of my recipes. I love the sound of your butternut squash mac and cheese. Yummy!

Wow, that's a great collection of recipes. The butternut mac 'n cheese looks fabulous as does the squash and apple dish. Thanks for compiling so many ideas for those of us starting to get into a winter veggie rut.

They all look so good. I heard somewhere that squashes that keep through the winter (in a root cellar presumably) were called winter squash.

The carnival squash is gorgeous! I've never seen that one.

My favorites: Roasted Butternut Squash slices with cinnamon (seriously, when I make this... I eat an entire squash in a sitting!!! And I buy the... 11 pounders, ha ha ha) and I adore spaghetti squash... it's another squash that I just cannot keep my paws off when I make it, or have it in the fridge... speaking of, it's calling for me RIGHT NOW! lol.

Wonderful!

The folks here in Dominica grow a local variety of winter squash and it is a staple in their daily diet. And as you might suspect they make a perfectly delightful creamy "pumpkin" soup that has hints of fresh nutmeg, which was a shock to my American palate the first time I tasted it!

Great recipes, I love the micro option and also the mustard/honey "treatment."

The Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Cherries is to die for. It was my family's first experience with quinoa, and they raved over the dish. Thank you. I will make this one again and again.

Pumpkin isn't a squash? What are they then? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squash_(plant)

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna