WebMD BlogsFood and Fitness

Beyond Pumpkin: Give These 4 Squash a Try

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.

WebMD Blog
© 2015 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:
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.

More from the Food and Fitness Blog

  • woman looking at book

    5 Diet Book Red Flags to Watch Out For

    Fad diet books collecting dust on your shelves? The next time you're tempted to pick up a new one, consider these cautions from a dietitian.

  • mediterranean food

    5 Ways to Eat More Mediterranean

    The Mediterranean Diet is a pattern of eating, not a diet you go on and off, and it’s been shown lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

View all posts on Food and Fitness

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More