The SparkPeople Blog

10 Healthy, Easy Ways to Cook Squash of All Sorts

By: , – Bryn Mooth
12/14/2012 12:00 PM   :  19 comments   :  25,221 Views

Squash is one of those vegetable categories that spans a whole range of colors, flavors, shapes, textures and growing seasons. From acorn squash to zucchini, this veggie family has it all, including nutrients, fiber and fewer than 75 calories per serving.
 
Summer varieties (like zucchini and yellow squash) are nutritious, with antioxidants and carotenoids; they’re ideal for sautéing. (Try: 10 New Uses for Zucchini)
 
Hard-skinned winter squashes (acorn, butternut, pumpkin) are packed with antioxidants and vitamin A and roast beautifully. And spaghetti squash makes a delightfully different (and super low-cal) substitute for pasta.
 
 
Basic Roasted Squash
Cut a butternut squash horizontally just above the bulbous end, then peel. Halve each section lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and dice into chunks. Toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper; roast at 450 degrees for 20–30 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
Baked Acorn Squash
Halve an acorn squash lengthwise (careful: the skin is hard), then scoop out the seeds. Into the cavities, add a bit of butter, salt, pepper and chopped fresh thyme or rosemary; drizzle
 
Whole Wheat Couscous with Squash and Spinach
This great-for-you recipe from Chef Meg is packed with two servings of veggies per portion. Use whole-wheat Israeli couscous (also called pearl pasta) for interesting texture, or substitute regular fine-grain couscous.

 
Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Sweet, fully flavored butternut squash gets mashed and stirred into a lower-fat macaroni and cheese casserole. The squash lightens the calories and heft of the dish without sacrificing any flavor. This dish is a must-try for cheese lovers.

 
Farro Salad with Butternut Squash
This hearty salad would make a great side-dish with grilled pork or roasted chicken. As a main course for lunch (easily made ahead and packed in a lidded container), it features filling whole-grains and vitamin-rich squash to keep you satisfied through the afternoon.
Photo courtesy of writes4food.com
 
Squash and Arugula Salad
Peel, seed and finely dice a butternut squash; steam just until it begins to soften, then cool. Toss diced squash with baby arugula, your favorite Dijon vinaigrette and a few crumbles of blue cheese.
 
Roasted Squash Soup
With a zing of orange juice and a topping of orange zest, spicy serrano chili, cilantro and coconut, this dairy-free recipe is a great variation on the classic roasted butternut squash soup.
Try one of these variations:
 
Stuffed Squash
Halve an acorn or butternut squash and remove the seeds; roast at 400 degrees for about an hour, until the squash is soft when pierced with a knife. Season the insides with salt and pepper, then fill with your favorite wild-rice or bread stuffing. Return stuffed squash to the oven to warm the filling for a few minutes. (You can also hollow out a patty-pan squash and stuff, as shown in the main image.)
 
Stuffed Zucchini
This easy main-dish recipe pairs halved zucchini with a stuffing of Italian sausage, marinara sauce and bread crumbs.
 
 
Pizza with Roasted Squash
Top a pizza crust with roasted cubes of butternut squash, zucchini and red onion. Add dollops of low-fat ricotta cheese and freshly grated Parmesan and bake until the crust is brown and cheese is bubbly. Get the recipe.
Photo courtesy of writes4food.com

What is your favorite way to prepare squash? Which varietal is tops, in your opinion?


 
 
Bryn Mooth is extending her 20-year career in publishing as an independent journalist and copywriter. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.
 


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   CONTEST CLOSED: GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win a Fitbit One!

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 19
    We never had squash when I was growing up. I decided to try it when starting my "get healthier" plan. I love zucchini grilled, steamed or roasted. I use spaghetti instead of pasta and have now discovered how sweet and tasty acorn squash is just cooked in microwave. I also found butternut mango smoothies at a local coffee house that are good and not too many calories when used as a meal replacement. The unfortunate thing about some squash is that getting inside of them can be challenging. - 3/30/2014   4:34:21 AM
  • 18
    My favorites are butternut squash soup and squash pie! - 10/21/2013   11:26:23 PM
  • GMAGEE
    17
    My family never ate squash when I was growing up (lots of different veggies, just NOT squash - except for pumpkin) and I would pick the zucchini bits out of minestrone if I saw them. Now, my husband and I joke because "HE MADE ME A SQUASH-EATER!" Thanks to him, I eat all kinds of squash and love it. A favorite new recipe is roasted butternut squash mixed with walnuts, bacon, garlic, white wine and seasonings served over spaghetti. Delish! Thanks for sharing these other recipes. - 12/23/2012   12:06:54 PM
  • LITTLEPITCHER
    16
    Yellow squash sauteed with red pepper and ham; zucchini sauteed with Goya's Sabor de Jamon, a ham bouillon. Butternut squash or pumpkin boiled in beef broth with green bell pepper, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and black pepper. Tiny sugar pumpkins or Hubbards baked with curry powder, butter, and sweetener. - 12/19/2012   9:50:18 AM
  • 15
    With squash as with sweet potatoes or yams I like to just bake them in the oven, scoop the insides out mash them add a little salt and pepper and there ya go. - 12/16/2012   9:25:26 PM
  • 14
    I love squash--some of these look so very good. - 12/16/2012   7:40:23 PM
  • 13
    I really HATE squash! The things I do for SP points! - 12/16/2012   5:33:02 PM
  • 12
    Squash is one of my favorite veggies. I have prepared quite a few of these recipes, some with a few changes. the salad with butter nut, cranberries an walnuts, cheese, I like goat is fab. i roast butternut all the time, I can eat it right from the oven. Acorn with a touch of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon baked is great.
    Spaghetti squash is good sub for pasta. Slice zucchini length wise, spray with EVO and sprinkle garlic powder, Italian seasoning, fresh cracked pepper, some salt. and roast, 425*, 25 min. Top with feta cheese.
    So many ways to enjoy.different squash. - 12/16/2012   1:40:46 PM
  • 11
    such delicious recipe for squash , yum o ! - 12/15/2012   8:56:12 PM
  • 10
    I love squash! - 12/15/2012   8:35:49 PM
  • 9
    These ideas look amazing, I can't wait to try some of these recipes. I have a couple pieces of butternut squash left over from juicing so I'm glad to have some delicious-sounding ideas for how to use them. - 12/15/2012   2:21:30 PM
  • 8
    I love squash anyway but these ideas will get my family to love squash as well! - 12/15/2012   11:57:21 AM
  • 7
    Nice recipes and lovely photos - I confess I find the SP Cookbook food photos sort of bleh. These have life! - 12/15/2012   10:27:05 AM
  • 6
    i just bought some squash.. will try some of these instead of my usual steaming. great collection - 12/15/2012   9:02:23 AM
  • 5
    butternut squash is my favourite... roasted and soup are very good basted with coconut oil - 12/15/2012   3:29:26 AM
  • 4
    Winter squash is so hard to peel and chop. Also it is on the starchy side. I only eat it occasionally. - 12/14/2012   9:23:56 PM
  • 3
    Great blog! I love the variety of ideas to use squash. The mac & cheese looks delicious! - 12/14/2012   4:09:35 PM
  • 2
    Thank you! - 12/14/2012   3:53:18 PM
  • 1
    These pictures are making me hungry. I love squash! - 12/14/2012   12:24:41 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

Sign up for a FREE SparkPeople account