20 Surprisingly Delicious Squash Recipes


When I was a kid, squash came around once a year at Thanksgiving — baked, drizzled with maple syrup, and topped with butter. I have no complaints with that treatment, however, squashes are so healthy, versatile, and delicious that creative people keep coming up with new and very unique recipes. Here are 20 to try throughout the holiday season, and beyond.

Let's Give It a Nationality

First, let's chat about spaghetti squash. These are really fun to cook, but the trick is getting them cooked all the way through. My method: Split the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Put a tablespoon of water in each squash "boat," cover with wax paper, and microwave on high for 18–20 minutes. Test with a fork and see if the strands lift easily. If not, microwave another five minutes or so. When it's done, "fluff" the strands with a fork. Then, try these toppings:

1. Mexican

Top with shredded chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, chiles, salsa, black beans, cilantro, and sour cream.

2. Italian

Top with cooked pork sausage, marinara, mozzarella cheese, sliced olives, and chopped parsley.

3. Mediterranean

Top with chopped artichoke hearts, feta cheese, chopped tomatoes, greek yogurt, and sliced green onions.

Let's Fry It

Everything taste better fried, even squash.

4. Squash Pancakes

The trick to these crispy squash pancakes is to really squeeze the moisture out of the yellow squash. I have an old tea towel I use for just this purpose — bundle up the grated squash in the towel, and wring it out. As a variation, toss in some pepperjack cheese (half a cup) for extra spiciness and creamy texture.

5. Fried Zucchini

Got any obnoxiously large zucchini? Perfect. Here is what my mother-in-law did with those: Wash, pat dry, and slice into ¼ inch pieces. Dip in egg wash, then dip in crushed cracker crumbs. Fry in butter.

6. Squash and Chickpea Patties

I think these chickpea pancakes with leeks, squash, and yogurt make an absolutely great breakfast. I make them in batches and refrigerate. When I get to the office, I just zap in the microwave. Chickpea flour is high in folate and protein (higher than whole wheat, even).

Let's Puree It

Butternut or kabocha squash puree very easily. I prefer the microwave method, but if you'd rather oven-bake, heat your oven to 400 F. Halve the squash and place cut-side down on oiled aluminum foil, then bake for about 30 minutes. Check for tenderness — it should be "scoopable." If not, keep baking. When it is tender, remove from the oven, cool until you can handle it, and then scoop out the cooked squash into a large bowl and mash. Once cool, refrigerate or freeze for future use.

7. Butternut Squash Dinner Rolls

If you are a fellow carb-lover, your must try these butternut squash dinner rolls. The squash puree keeps the rolls very moist (think of potato rolls or potato bread). As the author mentions, you get the added benefit of a little vitamin C. If you prefer to use wheat flour, I'd recommend wheat pastry flour.

8. Butternut Squash Pizza

This butternut squash pizza is very autumnal, and I am thinking that sliced into very thin pieces, it would be a great appetizer for a holiday feast. I think I will add some chopped pecans on top.

9. Squash Muffins

Butternut as breakfast? Sure! Check out these spiced butternut squash muffins. Bake on a Sunday, and reheat for breakfast. A handful or raisins or (naughtier) chocolate chips in the batter are a nice variation. They also freeze very well, if you want to make a double batch.

10. Squash Cookies

If you like your sweets with hidden benefits, check out these soft squash cookies. If you aren't a fan of raisins and nuts, you might prefer squash and dark chocolate chip cookies. (This does use baby food instead of homemade puree, which is another option.)

Let's Put it in a Casserole

One dish dinners are so easy, and so warming when it's chilly out.

11. Squash Casserole

I'll tell you right now: This classic Southern squash casserole is the best of the bunch, because the topping is made with Ritz crackers. Magical things happen when recipes combine Ritz crackers, butter, and cheese. Please don't stop at the topping, though, because the squash below is also absolutely delicious. The cayenne pepper gives it a little "zip," so don't even consider leaving it out.

12. Black Bean and Squash Enchilada Casserole

Running close behind the Ritz cracker squash casserole is this black bean and butternut squash enchilada casserole. If you like Mexican food, this one is for you. If you don't, it might convert you. Yes, it's vegetarian, but you can easily toss in a cup or two of cooked, shredded chicken breast.

13. Vegetable Tian

By far the prettiest, most appetizing use of yellow and zucchini squashes is this vegetable tian. ("Tian" refers to vegetables that are chopped, cooked in olive oil, and then baked with cheeses on top.) Leftovers, if you have any, are really nice with scrambled eggs the next morning.

Let's Stuff It

Once you scoop the seeds out of the middle, you're left with a void that needs filling. Delicious filling.

14. Patty Pans With Bacon and Eggs

Patty pan squashes can be hard to find, and cooking them can be a little intimidating. (It's the weird shape.) While you can easily slice and cook patty pans just like zucchini or yellow squash, it's more fun to stuff them (especially with bacon and eggs). These are also low-carb..

15. Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

This Italian sausage-stuffed zucchini is easy and versatile. You can switch up the meats (hamburger, pork sausage, etc.). I like that it serves six; that guarantees lunch leftovers or a night of no cooking!

16. Acorn Squash With Mushrooms and Rice

One of my cousins, who is a vegetarian, makes these stuffed acorn squashes with mushrooms and rice each year at Thanksgiving. As the recipe notes, they also make a great "Meatless Monday" entree. She uses wild rice instead of long-grain white rice; I think that gives them a very nutty flavor, which is even better.

Let's Roast It

Roasting, like frying, makes everything delicious, especially vegetables. (How about roasted, then fried?)

17. Roasted Butternut Squash

Even people who are picky about vegetables, I have found, tend to like them roasted. Roasted butternut squash makes a sweet and simple side dish. You can also toss it with pasta, tuck it into wraps, or add it to rice.

18. Roasted Zucchini, Squash, and Tomatoes

This recipe for roasted garlic-Parmesan zucchini, squash, and tomatoes is a keeper. Again, great on its own, but pair it with some whole wheat pasta... wow.

19. Roasted Delicata Salad

Lest you think squash dishes are always heavy, have a look at this beautiful delicata, pomegranate, and arugula salad. It honestly gave me pause about making a turkey for Thanksgiving. Can we just have this and some nice rolls?

20. Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad

Another beautiful salad — this time a warm butternut squash and chickpea version. Kabocha also works well in place of the butternut.

Have any unique squash recipes to share?

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