- Author: Leda McDaniel
If you think that winter squash is just for soups and stews, you are wrong! I am here to tell you that there are many other dishes that can be made with this phenomenal vegetable (not that the soups are bad, try these two amazing butternut soup recipes: Butternut Squash Soup with Almond Butter or Curried Butternut Squash with Mandarin and Cumin).
I love winter squashes because they double as decorations. Most varieties keep well, so in the fall and winter I’ll buy a few and keep them on my counter until I’m ready to use them. It classes up my kitchen and provides me with a go-to ingredient at a moment’s notice.
The beauty of winter squash is that there are so many varieties to choose from and many are amazingly versatile ingredients. Varieties of winter squash include acorn, butternut, kabocha, delicata, spaghetti, and buttercup (My favorite this year has become giant pink banana squash, amazing pureed with a little butter and salt!). Winter Squash can be used in many creative ways other than the standard preparations. For example: have you tried butternut squash as a pizza sauce replacement? Yep, one of the biggest hits that I have ever had when cooking for my family was this simple recipe:
Butternut Squash Pizza
1 medium butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1” cubes)
2 T dried herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage)
Sea salt to taste
1 pizza crust
1 Cup of grated Mozzarella cheese
½ Cup walnuts (toasted and chopped)
Toss butternut squash with olive oil to coat then sprinkle with sea salt and your choice of dried herbs (I like rosemary and thyme). Spread squash on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until tender (about 40-60 minutes). Let cool and puree squash with about 3 T of additional olive oil, or until desired consistency. Spread this puree on your favorite pizza crust like you would marinara sauce. Top with grated mozzarella or gruyere cheese and sprinkle toasted walnuts over the top. Bake at 425 degrees until cheese is bubbly (about 25-35 minutes). Let cool, slice, serve and watch people go wild over this!
Winter squash is also a very nutritious find for winter vegetables. Just one cup of cooked winter squash provides these percentages of the USDA recommended daily values: 214% of Vitamin A, 33% of Vitamin C, and 23% of Dietary Fiber. It also provides 2 grams of protein. What unique uses do you have for winter squash?