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Beyond Pumpkin: Give These 4 Squash a Try

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Katherine Brooking, RD - Blogs
By Katherine Brooking, MS, RDRegistered dietitianOctober 01, 2015
From the WebMD Archives

October means pumpkins are here — and they are perfect for roasting, making pies, and, of course, carving. But don’t forget the other squashes that the fall season has to offer. They’re versatile, delicious, and nutritious. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss:

Butternut Squash

Why You’ll Love It: Both sweet and hearty, butternut squash is ideal for soups, desserts or simply roasting on its own. Technically a fruit, this squash is a nutritional powerhouse. Rich in fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients, just 1 cup (cubes) has nearly 300% of your daily needs of vitamin A and almost half your day’s vitamin C. It also provides potassium, vitamin b6 and folate.

What To Do With It: Don’t be intimidated by its hard exterior. Rinse and dry the fruit whole and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at high heat for about 60 minutes and then you’ll easily pierce the skin with a sharp knife. Alternatively, you can remove the skin using a vegetable peeler and cut the flesh into chunks for steaming or sautéing. For a satisfying autumn meal, try this butternut squash and quinoa salad.

Spaghetti Squash

Why You’ll Love It: The flesh of this unique winter squash separates into spaghetti-like strands when cooked, making it a perfect alternative to traditional pasta. What’s more, it has vitamins C, A, and B6 as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants thought to protect eyes from age-related diseases.

What To Do With It: Take a clean spaghetti squash and cut lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and bake the halves face-down on an oiled cookie sheet at 350ᵒ F for about an hour or until tender. Scrape a fork across the flesh to separate it into strands. Serve the squash the same way you would pasta. For an easy, tasty meal try topping with a tomato-basil sauce.

Acorn Squash

Why You’ll Love It: It’s easy to prepare, rich flavor, loaded with fiber, magnesium, potassium, as well as B vitamins and vitamin C… what’s not to like about acorn squash! And your waistline will love them too – they have just 56 calories per one cup (cooked).

What to Do With It: Acorn squash are a breeze to prepare: just slice, remove the seeds, brush with olive oil and season and bake until tender (usually an hour or more, depending on size). For a tasty and filling baked squash side dish, try this classic recipe.

Delicata Squash

Why You’ll Love It: Never heard of delicata squash? If not, this is definitely one to put on your fall grocery list. Also known as peanut squash or Bohemian squash, its thin skin makes it one of the easiest varieties to work with. A one up serving will only cost you 40 calories and contains about 90% of your vitamin A needs and is also an excellent source of vitamin C.

What to Do With It: Like other squashes, delicata are perfect for roasting and soups. And because they hold their shape well, they’re also ideal for stuffing. For a hearty, nutritious meal, this Nut Stuffed Delicata Squash is a must.

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About the Author
Katherine Brooking, MS, RD

Katherine Brooking is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition education from Columbia University. She is dedicated to helping people have better health and live richer lives through sound nutrition and good lifestyle choices.

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