Winter Squash: Recipes and Tips (cont.)
- Pureed and added to soups, or as a sauce for pasta dishes or filling for lasagna.
- Roasted and served as a side dish or added to an entree.
- Filled with rice, stuffing, or sausage mixtures (for smaller pumpkins).
One cup of fresh, boiled pumpkin will give you:
- 49 calories, 2.2 grams fiber
- Vitamins: 2,650 IU vitamin A (76% DV), 12 mg vitamin C (16% DV), 21 mcg folic acid (5% DV)
- Minerals: 37 mg calcium (4% DV), 22 mg magnesium (7% DV), 564 mg potassium (12% DV)
- Bonus: 1.7 mg vitamin E (11% of the daily recommendation of 15 mg)
How to Buy, Store, and Cook Winter Squash
When buying winter squash:
- Choose one that seems heavy for its size and doesn't have any soft spots or cracks.
- For squash sold in precut pieces (like banana or Hubbard squash), look for pieces with fresh-looking flesh texture and color.
When storing winter squash:
- You can keep cut pieces in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- If uncut, you can keep winter squash in a cool, dark, well-ventilated location for 30-180 days.
- If it's cooked and pureed, you can freeze squash for up to 3 months.
When preparing winter squash:
- For cutting tougher skinned varieties, you might need to use a cleaver or hefty chef's knife.
- Your best cooking methods are steaming, baking, or microwaving.
- For most types, it's easiest to cut them in half, remove the seeds with a large spoon, and bake the halves, flesh-side down, on a rimmed baking sheet coated lightly with canola oil or canola cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees until tender (30 to 40 minutes for most).
- Be sure to cook until the flesh is tender, whichever preparation method you use.
Winter Squash Recipes
Here are three recipes to help you celebrate winter squash: a pasta entree, a spicy soup, and a risotto.
Butternut Squash Risotto
5 cups butternut squash cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1, 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
6 cups chicken broth (lower sodium if available)
2 cups leeks (white and pale green parts), rinsed very well and thinly sliced
2 cups medium-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup whole milk or fat-free half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (more for garnish optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (available in most produce sections)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a jellyroll pan with foil. Add the squash cubes and 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium bowl; toss well to coat the cubes. Spread them onto the prepared pan and bake until tender and lightly golden (about 40 minutes), stirring after 20 minutes.
- While squash is baking, add the chicken broth to a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover to keep warm until needed.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute, stirring often, until soft and lightly brown (about 5 minutes). Add the dry rice and stir frequently for a minute. Pour in the wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed (1 to 2 minutes). Reduce heat to LOW and add a cup of hot stock and simmer, stirring frequently, until absorbed (3-5 minutes). Add remaining stock, a cup at a time, each time allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more. Stir each time you add stock. Right about the time you've added the 6 cups of stock, the rice should just be tender and the mixture should look a little creamy.
- and pepper to taste if desired and serve each bowl with a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.
Yield: 8 servings
Per serving: 323 calories, 10.5 g protein, 53 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 4.5 g fiber, 230 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 22%.
Curry & Coconut Winter Squash Soup
1 large acorn squash
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced shallots
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red curry powder (add 1/4 teaspoon more if desired)
2 cups chicken broth (lower sodium, if available)
1 cup whole milk (fat-free half-and-half can also be used)
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
Optional garnish: 4 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
4 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
- Carefully cut acorn squash into about 8 wedges and scoop out any seeds with a large metal spoon. Place in large, microwave-safe dish with about 1/4 cup water, cover, and microwave on HIGH until just tender (about 9 minutes). Let cool for a few minutes. Once cool, cut away the skin of the squash wedges and cut into 3/4-inch cubes or pieces (about 4 cups).
- Start heating a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil; when it's hot, add the shallots and saute, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and continue to stir and cook for a minute. Stir in squash pieces, salt, and curry powder and cook, stirring often, for a few more minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and pour in the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a low boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring and mashing every 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, blend milk with coconut extract and set aside. When the squash mixture has finished simmering, stir in the brown sugar and the milk-coconut mixture. Use a masher briefly to smooth out any large chunks of squash. Cover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve as is or, if you like a smoother texture, use an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor to puree until smooth. Garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of fat-free sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh chopped chives, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: 218 calories, 6.5 g protein, 38 g carbohydrate, 6.5 g fat, 2.3 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 9.3 g fiber, 363 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25%.