5 Easy Winter Squash Recipes
To keep your immune system healthy over the winter, use these 5 easy winter squash recipes to add these nutrient-dense vegetables to your diet. Winter squash are rich with antioxidants and other vitamins, as well as fiber. Though squash might initially seem unappealing, the wide variety of ways it can be cooked ensures a squash recipe to please even the pickiest of palates.
For these easy squash recipes, you will need your choice of winter squash. The most popular types of winter squash, all of which work well in these recipes, are:
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
When purchasing winter squash, be sure to check for overripe areas or bruises, which could reduce the quality and flavor of the squash. The squash should not be soft, and the skin should be free of discolorations.
- Soup. All three of these richly colored, strongly flavored squash make a great base for soups. Cut the squash in half and bake until the interior is soft, or skin the squash, cube the interior and boil until soft, much like boiling a potato. When the squash is soft, puree it and add chicken or vegetable broth, fried onions and meat if you choose. Ham or bacon are particularly good choices for squash soup, as their stronger flavors complement the flavor of the squash. Other good additions to a squash soup include potatoes, celery or carrots. Also, don't forget to experiment with spices. Ginger, cloves or even a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon add a subtle bite to the soup without making it sweet or cloying.
- Stuffed Squash. Slice your chosen squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Bake until the interior is just beginning to soften, then filled the scooped-out section with your favorite stuffing, a rice or meat mixture, or even a selection of fruits. Return the squash to the oven and bake until the squash has softened enough to easily scoop out with a spoon.
- Sweet Squash. Much like yams, squash is excellent baked with brown sugar and cinnamon. The squash can be baked either split in half or cut into sections. It can also be boiled until soft, then garnished with brown sugar and cinnamon. Try a bit of ginger or allspice, as well. Nutmeg is also a great addition to pumpkin cooked in this way.
- Squash as Pasta Topping. Pureed squash makes a great topping for pasta, especially these strongly flavored squash. Puree, add spices to your taste, then top your pasta with the mixture. For the more adventurous, pureed squash also makes a great filling for ravioli.
- Squash as a Side Dish. Sweet squash makes a great side dish, but squash also makes a great savory side dish. Cook the squash as in Sweet Squash, above, but use savory spices instead of sugar. Add butter, too, if you like. Squash is versatile enough to taste great with a number of spices, so experiment to find a spice that will complement your main dish. You could also puree or mash the squash as a substitute for traditional mashed potatoes.
With these five easy winter squash recipes, you can add an impressive antioxidant punch to your everyday diet, help sustain your immune system through the winter months, and add variety to your winter meals.