The term Winter Squash is an umbrella term that includes quite a variety of wonderfully yummy tummy pleasers. Most varieties of this tasty treat have been forgotten for their nutritional benefits and used mostly for decorations in the recent past. However, thanks to the dieting frenzy, winter squash is making a comeback amidst the calorie conscious.
These nutritionally dense wonders are great for anyone seeking to maintain a healthy diet plan. Low in calories, high in fiber, and high in magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A & C, and calcium, these tasty vegetables are nutritional powerhouses. The fiber content helps you to feel fuller so you will eat less and not be hungry as fast.
Budget & Time Friendly
Another couple of really great things about winter squash. They are friendly to your money and time budget. Generally a low cost food at the grocer, farmers market, or local farmer stand, you can pick these up at a good price and store them for several months without any trouble at all. Winter squash are also super simple to cook. Mostly you can wash them, cut in half, and bake. Some are ready to eat when they come out of the oven and others become a taste sensation by adding just a few ingredients. You can even use several of them as edible soup bowls. How cool is that?
Winter squash include all of the following: acorn, buttercup, butternut, banana, Hubbard, spaghetti, sweet dumpling, delicate, kobocha, pumpkins of all varieties (except don’t eat field pumpkins – they are best reserved for Jack-O-Laterns – as their flesh is super lacking in flavor), and turban squash. There may be others, but you get the idea. Considering the variety available, there is a squash for about any taste bud.
There are varying degrees of sweetness available, also depending on time of season and age of the squash. The buttercup is a little tougher, spaghetti a little stringier, and sweet dumpling a little starchier, but give them all a try and you’re sure to be pleased. You will only get better with practice so give it a shot and see which one is your favorite. Below I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes with you. I’ve tweaked and tweaked this one over the years and finally, it’s just right. Enjoy!!!
Spaghetti Salad (serves 9)
Yep, I’ve got a big extended family
- 3 spaghetti squash, cut in half and remove seeds
- 3 – 4 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh is best)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil per squash
- 2 large onions, chopped fine
- 6 teaspoons minced garlic divided into thirds
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
- 2 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese, divided
- 6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- Divided all the ingredients so that they are distributed over the number of squash you are using evenly.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease enough casserole dishes to hold all the squash.
- Place the squash cut sides down and bake 30 – 45 minutes after the oven has finished preheating. Let the squash cool before scooping out the pulp.
- While the squash is cooling, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions, then add garlic, and sauté a couple of minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes cooking just until they are heated thoroughly.
- Now scoop the stringy pulp out of the squash into a large bowl. Toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, and basil. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and serve warm.