Squash is one of the most versatile and healthy vegetables available.
If you’re looking to nourish your family during autumn and winter,
take a cue from earlier times. According to historians, the early European
settlers weren’t initially impressed by the Native Americans’
love for squash. They soon found, however, that it was nutritious squash--named
from the Narragansett Native American word
askutasquash--which would help them survive through the winter.
Squash is one of the most versatile and healthy vegetables available, packing
a plethora of medicinal advantages. Because there are many varieties of
squash, each has its own benefits:
Powerful Pumpkin – Baked pumpkin seeds are a good alternative to peanuts as a protein
source. They’re also rich in iron.
Bountiful Butternut - Butternut squash, a favorite for soups, possesses many vital antioxidants
and vitamins. It’s low in calories, contains no saturated fats or
cholesterol, but is a rich source of dietary fiber. It’s also typically
recommended by dieticians for controlling cholesterol and weight reduction.
“A” for Acorn - Acorn squash has many minerals including calcium, manganese, magnesium,
copper, iron and phosphorous. That’s great for bone healing and
regrowth as well as preventing osteoporosis. Additionally, there’s
plenty of vitamin C and beta carotene, which can help with cancer prevention.
Super Spaghetti – Although it’s named after a pasta, this squash has surprising
benefits. It’s packed with potassium, making it great for lowering
blood pressure. It’s also rich in folate, which helps strengthen
the blood vessel walls and enhances blood circulation.
Not sure what to do with squash (besides making a decorative Thanksgiving
centerpiece)? Here are a few simple recipes:
Super Simple Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce
Makes four servings
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and a bit more for brushing
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 28-ounce cans tomato puree
- 2 sprigs of basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and
remove the seeds. Sprinkle the cut sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then
brush both sides with olive oil. Put the squash, cut-side up, in a baking
dish and cover with aluminum foil. Roast 20 minutes, then uncover and
continue roasting until the squash is tender, about 35 more minutes.
For your sauce, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add
the vegetable paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it looks dry,
about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree; fill each can with 1 cup water
and add to the sauce. Stir in the basil, oregano and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
Bring to a simmer until the sauce thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove
Scrape the spaghetti into strands using a fork. Then toss with grated Parmesan
and season with salt. Top with sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan.
Butternut Squash Soup
- 6 tablespoons chopped onion
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 3-4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
In a saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add squash, water,
bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil and
cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Return to the saucepan, and heat, but do not allow boil.
Toasty, Sweet Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash, sliced in 1/2, seeds removed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Put squash halves on a baking sheet, placing a tablespoon of butter and
the brown sugar in each half. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon
in each half and a dash of salt. Bake until brown and soft, about 1 hour
to 1 hour 15 minutes.
About 20 minutes before the squash is cooked, sprinkle edges with raw sugar.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Seeds from one large pumpkin, rinsed and dried (it’s easiest to prepare
seeds right after the pumpkin is carved)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Rinse the pumpkin seeds and remove strings or pulp.
Spread seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the seeds with
olive oil, and then season with salt and ground pepper. Toss the seeds
so that they are evenly coated.
Bake for 10-15 minutes when seeds turn light brown.