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Quarantine Kitchen

A Guide to Winter Squash

Not sure how to use the squash coming to your grocery stores and farmers markets? Use this guide to learn the differences between these four popular gourds!

It’s soup/stew season which means it’s SQUASH SEASON. Squash are one of the most popular ingredients in cold weather recipes, but it’s a pretty big category. What separates butternut squash from acorn? Or spaghetti? Or yellow? Use this guide to find the perfect variety for your dinner tonight!

  1. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is probably the most popular version of gourd, at least on Pinterest. This squash is great for cooking and roasting, and it can add a pleasant sweetness to your fall dinners, similar to the effect you get from sweet potatoes. This squash is easy to peel, which is a huge plus for if you’re looking to chop it up for a stew or side.

I like this squash cubed and roasted in the oven with herbs like sage and thyme as a side to roasted pork chops. This is also my favorite version to puree into soup or make into vegan autumn steaks on the grill. Use this squash in any savory or sweet dish this fall.

2. Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is characterized by its extremely savory and nutty flavor when cooked. It is a deep forest green that is streaked with a bright yellow-orange making it a great choice if you’re making a meal to impress your partner/parents/ex you know you shouldn’t still follow but totally do. Look for acorn squash that has just a touch of orange though—too much means it’s overripe!

This squash is deal for baking and stuffing. I like mine roasted and wrapped in prosciutto or baked with a vegan cornmeal stuffing. 9be looking in the next few weeks for these recipes!)

3. Spaghetti Squash

Okay, this guy is a little weird. Not bad weird, just not like any other squash you’ve ever seen. This squash has a stringy texture on the inside meaning that after it is baked it can be used as a pasta substitute. I will say right now, I don’t condone the substitution of pasta in dishes in order to restrict carbs. carbs are important and past is delicious. But I do think spaghetti squash is a good substitute in certain recipes because vegan pasta is criminally expensive.

Cut the large squash in half and bake it with oil. Then simply use a fork to scrape out the insides to use at your will in dishes such as squash carbonara or lemon curry spaghetti squash with seared shrimp.

4. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is delicious and if you’re a pumpkin hater, I feel bad for you. The version we’re most familiar with is the sugar pumpkin, and it’s great for literally everything. Pie? Delicious. Soup? Yes, yes, yes! Roasted for an entree or side? Fuck yeah. Sugar pumpkins are just a little sweet, similar to butternut squash and sweet potato, so it can be treated with herbs and salt for savory dishes and brown sugar and spices for dessert. I’m especially fond of this squash in soups like pumpkin and peanut soup, or roasted into a pumpkin gratin alongside roasted chicken or eggplant and lentils.

Be looking in the blood in the coming weeks for some A+ recipes using all these squash types!

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