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???
To celebrate this delicious Season of Squash, I’d like 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 Squash – dark green/orange, or buff-colored, has a ribbed rind and a moist yellow or orange interior. This delicious variety contains vitamin A, niacin, folate, thiamine, and vitamin B6. Still, it is especially 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 Squash – probably the most common of the winter season varieties. It has a bell shape with 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 Squash – contains yellow or orange flesh and a hard outer shell. Carnival squash can be either cream-colored with orange stripes or pale green with dark green stripes. It is a wonderful source of carotenoids and vitamin A & C. Try this recipe from Healthy Living How To for Carnival Squash Bowls.
Delicata Squash – also known as sweet potato squash because of its creamy flavor and texture. These resemble a giant, fat cucumber with pale yellow skin and dark green pinstripes. Much like other varieties, Delicata squash is rich in carotenoids and 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 Squash – 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 also contains iron, vitamin C, and some B vitamins. Kabocha squash is drier and denser than other varieties, and it can be baked or steamed, or pureed for soups. I love to roast it and use this delicious recipe from Nom Nom Paleo as a guide, Roasted Kabocha Squash.
Pumpkin – has bright orange skin and light orange flesh. Pumpkins have a mellow sweetness and dense flesh that is perfect for seasoned baking recipes. They contain vitamins A & C, B, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, and phosphorous. Look for small sugar or New England pie varieties for baking, 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 Squash – an oval yellow variation with stringy flesh that, when cooked, separates into mild-tasting spaghetti-like strands. Spaghetti squash is very nutritious, containing vitamin A & C, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin K, manganese, and fiber. It can be topped with tomato sauce like pasta or flavored with butter and herbs. It is great for roasting. My all-time favorite spaghetti squash recipe is this delicious Pizza Pie from Paleomg. However, there are so many delicious recipes to try using spaghetti squash.
I hope this was helpful for you, and please let me know if you try any of these recipes and what YOU thought of them or how you tweaked them. Also, if you’d like to include more healthy recipes into your diet – I have so many Challenges that include shopping lists, healthy, weight-loss-focused meal plans, and of course, all of the recipes. These Challenges are often combined with our MELTDOWN workouts for the optimal combination of healthy intake and activity. If you’re just interested in one or the other, drop by my Homepage and fill our form and let me know how I can best help you. I look forward to hearing from you!