Squash It

I didn’t tell my family that we were having squash week, but by dinner #3, they were onto it.  Squash It was a great experience, though, as they each found a couple of squash recipes they liked.  Previously everyone balked at yellow squash and the kids just tolerated butternut squash, so there was very little support for trying new squash types like acorn or spaghetti.

Once you overcome the difficulty of cutting the hard winter squashes, then you can enjoy them regularly throughout fall and winter.  The trick is to make a few slits in the squash with a paring knife, and then microwave each squash for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size.  Let the squash cool until you can comfortably hold it, then slice off the bottom to provide stability, and peel or cut the squash as needed to continue cooking it.

Roasting and slow cooking are two easy and really tasty ways to cook squash.  To roast a winter squash, cut it in half, season, and place cut sides down on a lightly sprayed baking sheet or parchment paper.  Halved squash will take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes at 375˚ depending on the size. 

To slow cook winter squash, you may have to cut them into more than halves, depending on the size of your slow cooker.  Place the large chucks of squash cut side up in the slow cooker and add ½” of water to the bottom.  Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Remove the lid and let the squash cool enough to handle.  The squash will be creamy and easily separate from the peel.

 spaghetti squash

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

½ spaghetti squash per person

¾ c marinara sauce per person

Faux meatballs, optional

To roast spaghetti squash halves:

Make a few slits in the squash with a paring knife, and then microwave each squash for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size.  Let the squash cool until you can comfortably hold it, then cut the spaghetti squash in half width-wise.  Use a spoon to remove the seeds.  Roast the spaghetti squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with olive oil or on parchment paper for 30 to 40 minutes at 375˚.   When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape out the flesh of the squash, which will resemble spaghetti noodles.

To roast whole spaghetti squash:

Make a few slits in the squash with a paring knife, then roast on a baking sheet for 45 to 60 minutes at 375˚.  When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half width-wise and use a spoon to remove the seeds.  Then use a fork to scrape out the flesh of the squash, which will resemble spaghetti noodles.

To microwave spaghetti squash:

Make a few slits in the squash with a paring knife, and then microwave the squash whole for 10 to 12 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes to finish steaming.  When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half width-wise and use a spoon to remove the seeds.  Then use a fork to scrape out the flesh of the squash, which will resemble spaghetti noodles.

Top with warm marinara sauce and enjoy!

 spaghetti squash spaghetti

Acorn Squash Bowtie Pasta

Serves 2

2 acorn squash, cooked, peeled and diced

1 t minced garlic

1 t fresh rosemary

1/3 c dried cranberries

½ c white beans

1 t coconut oil

Juice from half of a lime

8 oz bowtie pasta

Optional: walnut pieces, broccoli, Field Roast sausage

Roast, slow cook, or microwave the acorn squash (see below for detailed instructions).  Cook the bowtie pasta according to package directions, adding the dried cranberries and white beans for the last minute or so of cooking.  Drain and return to pot.  Add remaining ingredients and stir.  Sprinkle with walnut pieces if desired.

To spice up leftovers or for a heartier main dish, add broccoli and Field Roast sausage.

To slow cook acorn squash:

Make a few slits in the squash with a paring knife, and then microwave each squash for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on size.  Let the squash cool until you can comfortably hold it, then cut the acorn squash in half.  Use a spoon to remove the seeds.  You may have to cut them into more than halves, depending on the size of your slow cooker.  Place the large chucks of squash cut side up in the slow cooker and add ½” of water to the bottom.  Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Remove the lid and let the squash cool enough to handle.  The squash will be creamy and easily separate from the peel.

To roast acorn squash halves:

Make a few slits in the squash with a paring knife, and then microwave each squash for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size.  Let the squash cool until you can comfortably hold it, then cut the acorn squash in half.  Use a spoon to remove the seeds.  Roast the acorn squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with olive oil or on parchment paper for 20 to 30 minutes at 375˚.   When the squash is cool enough to handle, use the spoon to separate the squash from the peel or a knife to remove the peel and dice.

To roast whole acorn squash:

Make a few slits in the squash with a paring knife, then roast on a baking sheet for 30 to 45 minutes at 375˚.  When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds.  Then use the spoon to separate the squash from the peel or a knife to remove the peel and dice.

To microwave acorn squash:

Make a few slits in the squash with a paring knife, and then microwave the squash whole for 8 to 10 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes to finish steaming.  When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds.  Then use the spoon to separate the squash from the peel or a knife to remove the peel and dice.

 

 Squash Casserole

Serves 6

4 to 5 yellow squash, sliced thinly

1 recipe of Cashew Ricotta plus 1 can (15 oz or 1.5 c) white beans, drained and rinsed

1 small onion, diced

Optional: bread crumbs, crushed crackers, or almond meal for sprinkling on top

Make one batch of Cashew Ricotta and include one can of white beans before blending.  Add a little extra water while blending if the sauce is too thick.  Lightly spray a square casserole dish with EVOO.  Add the thinly sliced yellow squash and diced onion.  Pour the cashew ricotta mixture over the squash and stir to combine.  (You may not need the whole batch of cashew ricotta; it depends how cheesy you want the casserole.)  Cover and bake at 350˚ for about 25 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with bread or cracker crumbs, if desired.  Return to oven uncovered for another 3 to 5 minutes to crisp the topping.