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Ideas and Recipes for How To Cook Winter Squash Now

posted: 11/03/15
by: Blythe Copeland
picture of pumpkin soup
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If you rely on butternut squash for all your winter squash recipes, then it's time to branch out: This family of vegetables offers options for making everything from coffee cake and dessert bars to savory entrees and healthy soups. Try these recipes for all the most common varieties -- including acorn and spaghetti -- plus some that might not be as familiar (like carnival and delicata) and give your butternut a break.

1. Butternut

Butternut squash is one of the season's most popular and versatile squashes, showing up in everything from simple soups and hearty stews to creamy pastas and vegetarian meals. Try it in recipes like roasted butternut squash and bacon soup or butternut squash and baked bean enchiladas, or just toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for a quick side.

2. Acorn

Acorn squash is another go-to vegetable for squash lovers. Use it as a base for sausage and apple stuffing to create a complete meal with just a few ingredients or upgrade your usual noodle night with a slow cooker recipe for caramelized pork ramen noodle soup with curry roasted acorn squash.

3. Spaghetti

Spaghetti squash gets its name from the long, thick strings created by cooking the squash and shredding it with a fork: They are a rich, low-carb substitute for your favorite pasta noodles. Serve it with traditional marinara sauce; as a healthier option for your favorite carbonara recipe; or even as a replacement for potatoes in homemade hash browns.

4. Carnival

The bright colors and varied patterns of carnival squash make it almost too pretty to eat -- almost. With its sweet taste and texture, you can use it in place of most other squash in a variety of recipes or highlight it on its own: Try roasted carnival squash salad, roasted maple walnut carnival squash, or baked eggs in squash rings at your next fall brunch.

5. Sugar Pumpkin

The big pumpkins you picked for jack-o-lantern carving aren't the kind you want to cook with: To replace the canned version you find at the supermarket, you're looking for smaller, sweeter sugar pumpkins. Slice and roast them; then peel off the skin and puree, adding water as needed. You can use this basic puree in everything from bread to pie, adding spices as you go along, or spice it before freezing so it's ready to use right away. You can roast the seeds, too, adding sweet or savory spice combinations like cinnamon sugar or ranch.

6. Delicata

Longer, more narrow delicata squash, recognizable for their yellow color and green stripes, have a thin, edible skin that means you can save on prep time. A few ways to serve them: Stuffed with kale and quinoa and flavored with tahini; in spiced lentil soup alongside roasted beets; roasted with Brussels sprouts and cranberries and topped with a drizzle of balsamic syrup; or baked into squash and sage biscuits.

7. Buttercup

Mild tasting buttercup squash is a popular choice for baking -- like in these recipes for buttercup squash muffins with grated apple, buttercup squash crumble bars topped with chocolate and coconut on a walnut crust, and buttercup squash coffee cake. But it's also a good option for mashing into a casserole topping with sausage and apples, or pureeing into a creamy soup with sage and Parmesan.