Squash, A Love Story, with 5 Great Recipes

– by Jakob Anderson, Food Writer –

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“If you don’t stop eating squash your going to become one!” My mother and others have said this to me on more than one occasion. I enjoy squash every single day of my life. You may think I am exaggerating but I am not, and I use the word enjoy because I have yet to become sick of it! From the dry but sweet buttercup to the odd shaped hubbard, I am proud to call myself a “squash connoisseur” (a guy at the grocery store called me that once and acted as if it was supposed to hurt my feelings). Squash is a great alternative to other starches such as white potatoes or can even replace spaghetti! This low-calorie, nutrient-dense food is also great because it can store for long periods of time if kept in a cool dry place. Here is a look at some of the magic these babies can produce!

1. Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Pumpkin Seeds and Labneh

Tasty butternut squash soup

Tasty butternut squash soup

1 butternut squash, diced small

1 onion, diced small

2 cloves garlic, diced small

2L chicken stock

1/2 cup hard apple cider

3 Tbsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp rosemary, finely chopped

4 sprigs thyme

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1/2 cup labneh (or thick Greek yogurt)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp olive oil

Sweat squash, onion, and garlic in large pot with butter. Add cinnamon, salt, pepper and rosemary. Add cider, scrape bits off bottom of pan and let liquid reduce by half. Add chicken stock and thyme, bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes, until squash is cooked through. Pour soup mixture into blender (or use hand blender) and purée until smooth. For seeds, toss in oil, maple syrup and cayenne; toast at 350ºF for approximately five minutes. Keep an eye, the syrup will burn quickly. Serve soup with seeds and a dollop of labneh/Greek yogurt on top!

2. Roasted Sweet Potato Squash with Fennel and Parmesan

Not to be confused with sweet potatoes, this squash is one of the most colorful out there!

2 sweet potato squash, seeded, peeled and cut in large chunks

1 fennel, cut into large chunks

2 Tbsp raw honey

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh orange juice

5 sage leaves, chopped fine

1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

2 Tbsp fresh grated parmesan

Heat oven to 400ºF. Toss squash and fennel in oil, honey, orange juice and sage. Roast on tray for approximately 30 minutes or until squash is cooked through. Finish with parmesan and nutmeg.

3. Spaghetti Squash with Grape Agrodolce

Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash

1 spaghetti squash, halved and deseeded

2 can diced tomatoes

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup raw honey

1 cup red grapes, halved

1 fennel, diced small

1 onion, diced small

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup ricotta cheese (the firm stuff)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350ºF. Drizzle 1/4 cup of oil over squash and place face down on roasting tray. Roast for 45 minutes or until squash is cooked through. For agrodolce, sweat onions and fennel in a pan with salt and pepper. Add red wine vinegar and let liquid reduce by half. Add tomatoes and grapes and simmer for approximately 40 minutes. Stir in honey and cook for 5 minutes more. Use fork to scrape out flesh of spaghetti squash (so it looks like spaghetti, get it?) Pour agrodolce over top of squash and top with almonds and ricotta.

4. Focaccia with Buttercup Squash and Taleggio

This recipe takes some time to prep but it is so worth it; Taleggio cheese will change your life!

7 cups flour

2 tsp active dry yeast

3 cups warm water (more if needed)

3/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 buttercup squash, sliced into thin pieces

1/2 lb Taleggio cheese, sliced into 1-inch pieces

5 Tbsp rosemary, chopped fine

Add flour, yeast and salt to mixing bowl with paddle attachment (if you don’t have a mixer you can do this manually in a large bowl with a wooden spoon). Slowly mix in water. The result should be a sticky blob; the dough is supposed to be runny and not firm. If you think it looks dry, add more water. Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over the top of dough and cover. Let sit and rise for four hours – dough should double in size. Heat oven to 450ºF. Turn out dough onto large roasting tray covered with rest of oil and gently use the tips of your fingers to spread it out. Bake in oven for 25 min. Evenly place squash, rosemary and Taleggio on top of focaccia. Drizzle more olive oil over top. Bake for approximately 15 minutes more, until the bottom is very dark in color.

5. Roasted Pumpkin Dip with Candied Rosemary Pecans

Roasted pumpkin dip

Roasted pumpkin dip

This is a great vegan recipe and can be used as a snack or even dessert! Shout out to all the health nuts out there. I feel you.

2 cups pumpkin, skin on, cut into 2-inch chunks

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 cup marscapone cheese

1 cup almond or cashew milk

Salt to taste

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1/2 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss pumpkin in olive oil, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, salt and a pinch of cayenne. Cook for 30 minutes until pumpkin is cooked through and caramelized. Add squash, marscapone and milk to blender and purée until smooth. Transfer dip to bowl. For nuts, toss pecans in 1 Tbsp maple syrup and rosemary. Toast until syrup begins to caramelize. Be careful, they will burn easily. Once nuts are finished, sprinkle on top of dip. Serve warm or cool with crackers or fruit.