25 Winning Ways to Enjoy Winter Squash
Winter squash is a high-power super food, and it’s also incredibly versatile. Here are 25 of my favorite ways to put winter squash on the table. (See also: Cooking With Canned Pumpkin)
As special dinner entrees go, stuffed winter squash is one of the easiest and most affordable to prepare, which makes it perfect for an alternative Thanksgiving meal or a Sunday sit down. You can choose anything from a sugar pie pumpkin to an acorn squash, although the shape of a butternut can be a bit problematic. Stuff whatever combination of grain, protein, and add-ins you like. Rice and lamb with raisins, almonds, cinnamon, and cardamom is a nice way to go, as is quinoa and tempeh with cranberries, allspice, and chopped walnuts if you’ve recently started eating vegan and need a holiday meal plan.
Nothing is better on a cold, rainy day than a hot meal. This Provencal pumpkin soup uses winter squash and a hearty amount of cooked navy beans to amp up the protein power. It would pair well with some homemade dinner rolls and a few soup garnishes like sliced scallions or crumbled feta.
Homemade filled pasta is a fun way to enjoy winter squash, if you happen to have the time to make it from scratch. This pumpkin ravioli filling is an interesting place to start.
Simple side dishes keep things low stress, and it’s hard to get much simpler than baked winter squash. Whether you are scraping out some roasted spaghetti squash with a fork or mashing up a basic buttercup, preparing this type of produce in the oven makes it easy to tie in with a roast chicken dinner or a basic pot roast.
Winter squash also works great in a sweet dessert pie, as this pie recipe from the New York Times demonstrates. Try it for a fall dinner party. A great pairing menu for this would be roasted turkey breast, sautéed French beans, and an easy homemade cranberry sauce.
If you’re a fan of using international cuisines as a way to keep mealtime flavorful and affordable, then you might want to consider having a homemade curry recipe or two in your winter squash recipe repertoire. Try this squash curry recipe from Epicurious.
Does your family like to enjoy pizza on a regular basis? If so, finding different ideas for toppings and pizza sauce will help you keep things fresh and interesting at the dinner table. That’s exactly why this unusual idea for roasted acorn squash and Gorgonzola pizza from Smitten Kitten caught my eye.
8. Vegan Quesadilla
There are a variety of ways to enjoy vegan quesadillas, and most of them involve easily mashed, yet sturdy stuffings such as refried beans or potatoes. These squash quesadillas are paired with a cranberry and jicama salsa, making them a great fusion meal to try when the weather gets brisk.
9. Savory Tart
For those who enjoy rustic, yet elegant entrees, this butternut squash tart recipe with sautéed onions provides hearty sustenance that can pair with anything from steamed greens to a spinach salad and white wine.
An afternoon lunch with the girls calls for something a bit frou-frou. That’s where this winter squash soufflé recipe from Epicurious comes in. Try it with steamed asparagus tips and grilled portabella caps.
Alternative chili recipes are a great way to mix things up affordably, so having a few in your collection of crock pot recipes is a good idea. This winter squash and sage chili from Better Homes and Gardens provides an excellent starting point.
Baked goods don’t necessarily have to be sweet. It’s entirely appropriate to enjoy a savory num-num with your afternoon tea or light lunch. Try these squash squash scones and see for yourself.
13. Savory Bread Pudding
It’s also possible to do the same thing with bread pudding; keeping bread pudding savory means you can use it in place of stuffing as a flashy dinner side. This squash and Parmesan bread pudding from My Recipes is an excellent example of just how possible it is to keep things stylish and comforting at the same time.
14. With Pasta
Cubed winter squash can be added to a variety of mixed vegetable dishes, including this pasta recipe that uses goat cheese and penne for a one-dish option that can easily be served with a basic table wine and a green veggie on the side.
Winter squash cooks down well and purees like a dream, making it perfect for whipping up recipes like soups and sauces. The folks at Nourishing Gourmet show us exactly that in their butternut squash pasta sauce, providing an interesting alternative to the traditional tomato version.
Who says gnocchi always has to be prepared with potatoes? The Cheap, Healthy, Good blog uses winter squash for this gnocchi recipe, which makes for a much more colorful dinner menu.
17. Autumn Casserole
Adding nuts and cranberries into any squash recipe makes it perfect for fall and winter entertaining. That combination is only one of the reasons this almond-cranberry-squash casserole from Taste of Home caught my attention. The other was how simple and no fuss the preparation is. Score.
18. Crispy Dinner Patties
Pan-fried dinner patties are always fun, particularly for those new to plant-based dining who are searching for suitable alternatives to steak and chicken. These dinner patties combine potatoes and winter squash to satisfy hunger.
19. Coffee Cake
Need a fun new recipe for your next caffeine break? This coffee cake recipe from The Daily Meal uses buttercup squash as an interesting base ingredient. It's a fun fall recipe that’s suitably frugal.
20. Tea Bread
If sweetbreads are more your cup of joe, then consider this squash tea bread from the folks at Eating Well. It easily stores in tin foil for transport, making it a great slice-and-eat item to bring to your next midday potluck.
When you’re looking to combine rustic with elegant, it’s tough to top a well-prepared risotto recipe. Try this thirty-minute butternut squash risotto recipe from Rachel Ray.
22. Dinner Rolls
I love the bright color that winter squash provides to nearly any recipe. The squash makes the meal more visually interesting, and it adds fiber and nutrition to boot. While it might be tough to pull off these homemade pull-apart dinner rolls with for a weeknight dinner, whipping them up for a potluck or block party is totally doable.
Looking to break away from the tried-and-true crème brulee? This winter squash custard recipe could make a great alternative for a casual gathering where only a light after-dinner treat is desired.
Speaking of casual, fritters are pretty much synonymous with that word. These spaghetti squash fritters provide a fun twist on an old classic, and they provide plenty of fiber and texture as well.
If your family likes to experiment with having breakfast for dinner, consider mixing it up with these orange vegetable pancakes from Kitchen Stewardship. They use winter squash, provide a money-saving meal option, and fall firmly in the savory breakfast treat category.
Do you have a favorite way to enjoy winter squash or a particularly popular family recipe?