By Cara Rosenbloom, RD
Looking for a delicious and nutritious side dish? Try squash, such as butternut, pumpkin, spaghetti, acorn or Hubbard.
Squash provides a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, folate, potassium and vitamin C. Plus, the bright orange or yellow color is your clue that squash is filled with the antioxidant beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that is helpful for protecting vision.
Did you know squash is technically a fruit? That’s the botanical classification because they have seeds in the middle, but it’s served as a vegetable.
Here’s your cheat sheet for preparing squash:
Peeled and cubed butternut or Hubbard squash can be drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven at 400°F for about 30 to 40 minutes. Use the cubes as a side dish, atop salad, or as the start of a delicious squash soup recipe.
When cooking pumpkin, use the smaller varieties, which have a sweeter flavor compared to the large carving Halloween pumpkins. Boil the flesh for a delicious pumpkin mash. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Spaghetti squash is the most unique variety. After roasting it for about 40 minutes, use a fork to tease out the spaghetti-like strands, and serve similar to pasta, topped with marinara, pesto, or olive oil and garlic. Bonus: It’s just 40 calories per cup versus 235 calories for a cup of pasta.
Try roasted acorn squash with the finest drizzle of pure maple syrup, paired with pecans or walnuts.
Don’t forget to save the seeds. After you clean out your squash, rinse and dry the seeds, then roast in the oven at 350˚F until slightly tanned (timing will vary based on the size of the seeds).