at the market: winter squash + 5 ways to use it

IMG_1993Winter squash is abundant this time of year- so many colors, textures and flavors to choose from.  I always buy a bunch and keep them on the table as a sort of “fruit bowl” type centerpiece because they are so pretty.  My favorites are kabocha, red kuri, delicata, and butternut.  These all have dense, sweet flesh that get caramelized when roasted and blends up creamy for soups.  I also love spaghetti squash as whole food, gluten free noodle replacer- just cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and steam.  Delicata is great because it has tender thin skin (no need to peel)- cut in half, scoop out the seeds, cut into half moons, and roast.  I especially love roasting it with brussels, beets or other veg for a colorful side.  Kabocha has edible skin, too- I like to cut into wedges and steam in a kombu-lined pot with a few tablespoons of mirin, splash of water, and some tamari and green onions to finish- a technique I learned from this post.

When choosing squash, look for ones that have bright and vibrant skins and that feel heavy for their size.  I like to choose smaller ones because I find them less likely to be stringy.  If you do end up getting a stringy squash, just blend it up into a soup or puree it for a side/ add to breads, pie, etc!  Store squash in a cool, dry place- thinner skinned varieties like delicata only last a few weeks, but other squashes can last a month or more in a cool area like the garage.

Here’s my favorite squash soup recipe, plus 4 other ways to use up those gorgeous gourds.

squash soup

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or use broth/water for oil free)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 large sweet apple, chopped

1 large squash or pumpkin, any type, peeled and cubed, seeds reserved ~5-6 cups

2 teaspoons fresh thyme or sage, minced

1 can coconut milk

2-3 cups of vegetable broth (depending on how large your squash is and how thick/thin you prefer your soup)

salt + pepper, to taste

any toppings you like, here i used sage leaves crisped up in a hot pan with a touch of olive oil + toasted pecans.

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 400.  Toss the squash seeds with a little oil, salt and pepper and place in the preheated oven and bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot.  Add in the onion and apple and saute until onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in the thyme and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add in the squash and stir to coat.  Add in coconut milk and broth.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer, uncovered, until the squash is completely tender, about 20 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree or carefully transfer to a blender to puree.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

To serve: Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with the roasted seeds, and any other toppings- a scoop of quinoa, some avocado, breadcrumbs, dollop of cashew cream, toasted pecans, fried sage leaves, anything you desire.

+4 other favorite squash recipes

creamy kabocha pasta : I omit the cheese and meat in this recipe, subbing crispy sautéed mushrooms (sear in a pan with thyme and shallot, only stirring once or twice so they get crispy)

roast squash and bean tart : impressive looking and delicious vegan main, GF, perfect for thanksgiving or holiday gatherings.

chili and sesame roasted squash : so so good, easy, and a totally different taste profile than the usual recipes.

butternut lasagna with sage-tofu ricotta : another delicious and beautiful vegan main, just add a green salad and you’re set!

+ 1 bonus recipe: pumpkin cheesecake // I’ve been wanting to try this baby forever, it looks so good and would be perfect to bring to a dinner or holiday party.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and that it inspires you to work more squash into the meal rotation this week.  Have a lovely weekend! xx

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