It’s officially fall, which means it's time for one of my favorites: winter squash. In the hard-shelled squash family, there are often two that are very familiar: butternut squash and spaghetti squash. Both are great, but there are a lot of other options out there that can make wonderful fall dishes. The market and stores are really highlighting more varieties, so I’ve chosen three of my favorites that could change up your fall menu planning.
Tips on all squash:
- Store uncut squash outside the refrigerator.
- Bake the seeds! Clean them and toss in olive oil and salt for a crunchy baked snack.
- Some skins are edible depending on the squash. Cooked right, they can add texture and taste.
This squash is becoming more popular. You can easily enjoy the skin because it’s pretty thin. The taste is a little creamy and sweet, so I find they are best for roasting and sautéing.
To prepare: cut squash lengthwise in half. Do not remove skin, but scoop out seeds. Thinly slice into half moons (the thinner the slice, the crispier it will cook). Toss or cook in olive oil and favorite spices to roast or sauté.
Red Kuri Squash
This winter variety is a little less known and comes from the Hubbard squash family. The teardrop shape has a hard thin skin which is suggested to be removed either after cooking or carefully peeled. The taste is often described as a sweet nutty flavor almost with a hint of chestnut. Kuri pairs well with creamy ingredients which makes it great for purees for soups or baking. It also is nice roasted for salads or sides.
To prepare: Cut squash in half and remove seeds. If peeling, use a peeler to remove skin. For roasting, cut into wedges and toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. If you did not remove skins, scoop out cooked squash from skins after roasting.
This is another squash getting more attention. The shape of the acorn squash can act like a bowl to stuff with vegetables or protein. If you roast them long enough, the skin can get crispy and can be eaten. The taste is a mild sweet buttery flavor which pairs perfectly with fall spices. It's great for baking and roasting.
To prepare: Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Depending on application, keep in halves or cut into wedges. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven until it becomes soft and crispy.
I know larger squash can be intimidating and a little dangerous, so here are some important tips to keep in mind when cutting your squash. Make sure to have a large sharp knife, a secured cutting board and a steady hand. Always be aware of where your knife is going and try to cut on the flattest surface possible.
For lots of winter squash recipes, visit our blogs which have some great tips and recipes.
- Winter Squash Biscuits
- Delicata Squash Gnocchi
- Delicata Biscuits or Delicuits
- Butternut Squash Muffins
Learn how to work with squash in these upcoming hands-on cooking classes at The Chopping Block:
- Wine and Dine Friday, October 25 7pm Lincoln Square
- Pasta Workshop Monday, October 28 6:30pm Merchandise Mart
- Know your Gnocchi Friday, November 1 10am Lincoln Square
- Wine Harvest Dinner Thursday, November 7 7pm Lincoln Square
- Irresistible Appetizers Monday, November 11 6pm Merchandise Mart
- Healthy Harvest Saturday, November 6 12pm Lincoln Square
- Nontraditional Thanksgiving Sunday, November 17 11am Merchandise Mart