Autumn is a season of abundance, and that's especially true of sturdy cold-weather vegetables such as winter squash. They come in all different sizes and shapes, from dainty delicatas to massive banana squash, but they're all versatile and tasty. If you don't know what to do with winter squash, here are a few suggestions to set you on your way.
Make Soup ...
If ever a vegetable was ideal for soup-making, it's winter squash. It needs no thickeners or cream to make it hearty and silky-smooth, so it's an advantage to anyone cooking vegan or gluten-free. Just as importantly its mild, earthy sweetness lends itself to almost any flavoring, including apples and maple syrup. Squash also works with spicier, more sophisticated flavor combinations. Try it in place of the pumpkin in our Thai pumpkin soup or your favorite curried soup.
... Or Salad
Winter squash is probably not high on your list of salad vegetables, but it's a surprisingly versatile option. Just peel and dice a few cups of your favorite variety, toss them with oil and roast them until they're tender and caramelized. The sweetness of the squash makes it an ideal addition to salads based on strong-flavored winter greens, such as kale or endive. Squash also makes a fine textural contrast in salads based on quinoa or other grains.
Squashes are container-shaped by nature, so they're excellent for stuffing. For example, you can layer your Thanksgiving leftovers into a hollowed-out buttercup or Hubbard to make a no-fuss pot pie. Tiny dumpling squashes, halved horizontally, are perfect for brunch. Line the pre-cooked halves with thin-shaved ham or bacon, crack an egg into each one and bake them until the egg whites set. Double down by baking a batch of butternut squash casserole in a squash shell.
Winter squash and "pie pumpkins" are interchangeable for all practical purposes, so you can use your squashes in any pumpkin dessert that appeals to you. Add it to brownies or chocolate cakes for a denser, moister texture. Swap your own homemade squash puree for the pumpkin in pumpkin pie bars or make our low-fat pumpkin pie even more virtuous by skipping the pastry and baking it in a hollowed-out squash. Squash also works in select smoothies and frozen desserts as well.