Learn to Cook: Winter Squash

Don’t let hard winter squash intimidate you in the kitchen. They’re actually very simple to prepare as well as satisfying, nutritious and affordable!

Hard winter squash can be intimidating, but they are actually very simple to prepare as well as satisfying, nutritious and affordable!

Butternut squash, for example, delivers healthy carbohydrates, vitamins A and C plus potassium.

We’ll share two recipes here to get you started with winter squash.

Roasted Butternut Squash opens in a new tab

This basic recipe brings out the best in winter squash: little bites delightfully caramelized outside and creamy inside.

Serve straight from the oven as a side dish or use in soup, tacos, enchiladas, pasta and salad.

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Halve the squash lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard seeds.

If desired, peel with a vegetable peeler or cut into big chunks and keep steady on the cutting board while cutting off the peel with a knife. You can also place a damp kitchen towel under your cutting board to help stabilize when cutting the squash.

Cut into 1-inch cubes. Transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil, salt and pepper and spread out in a single layer.

Roast, tossing occasionally, until just tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Spaghetti Squash opens in a new tab

Spaghetti squash makes an excellent side dish or a fun substitute in thin noodle recipes, from Asian to Italian.

It is loaded with nutrients, such as beta carotene and fiber, and is tender, with just a slight crunch.

1 (about 3 1/2 pounds) spaghetti squash

Preheat oven to 375°F and halve squash lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard seeds from the middle of each half.

Arrange squash in a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish, cut sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove its flesh in strands…like spaghetti!

Hungry for More?

Once you know how to roast a spaghetti squash or butternut squash, you can give these dishes a try:

  Selecting and Storing

Choose winter squash that are firm, heavy for their size, and that have hard, tough skin with no cuts, punctures, sunken spots or mold. A tender rind indicates immaturity, which is undesirable in spaghetti squash and other types of winter squash. Winter squash can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place for a month or more. After cutting, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate.  

How do you like to serve winter squash?

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