6 New Ways To Serve Winter Squash

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‘Tis the season for winter squash, from acorn and butternut to kabocha and pumpkins. Enjoy these delicious, seasonal vegetables like never before, with creative new recipes.

Recipes:

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Spaghetti Squash Fritters

Makes 16 fritters; Gluten free, Vegetarian, Staff favorite

1 medium (3-4 pounds) spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons coconut oil plus extra
1 egg
1/3 cup chopped fresh mixed herbs, such as chives, thyme, sage and/or parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces goat cheese (about 2/3 cup)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup gluten-free flour (TRY: Cup4Cup flour, brown rice flour or oat flour)
1/2 cup each applesauce and sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Rub a little coconut oil over cut side of squash halves. Place squash, cut side down, on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover loosely with aluminum foil, and bake for 40 minutes or until you can easily pierce squash with a fork. Remove from oven, remove foil and let squash cool slightly. Using a fork, scrape out squash flesh, and place in a colander over the sink or a bowl to drain. Once squash has cooled completely, gently squeeze all excess liquid. Measure out about 4 cups of squash.

2. Beat egg in a large bowl. Add drained squash, herbs, Parmesan, goat cheese, minced garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper; mix by hand until well incorporated. Add flour, and mix again with hands or tongs until flour is interspersed. (TIP: If batter is a little too wet, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If batter is too dry or loose, add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time.)

3. Portion mixture into 16 small piles. Roll each pile in a ball about 1ó inches in diameter; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plates. Repeat with remaining piles. The batter will be a bit loose but will firm up once cooked.

4. Once all the fritters are formed, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook a few fritters at a time until light golden brown on one side, about 4–5 minutes, gently flattening with a spatula. Flip fritters, and cook on other side until golden brown, about 4–5 minutes more.

5. Place fritters on a plate, and sprinkle with more herbs, if desired. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream as toppings.

PER SERVING (1 fritter): 104 cal, 5g fat (1g mono, 0g poly, 3g sat), 23mg chol, 291mg sodium, 11g carb (1g fiber, 3g sugars), 4g protein

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Acorn Squash & Mushroom Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw

Makes 8 servings (24 tacos); Gluten free, Vegan

For The Tacos

2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
1 acorn squash; peeled, seeded and diced (about 4 cups)
1 cup vegetable broth or water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 ounces quartered or sliced baby portobello or button mushrooms
24 small (5-inch) white corn tortillas
Raw pepitas and avocado slices for garnish (optional)

For The Slaw

1/2 head green cabbage, very finely shredded
1 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons avocado oil
Pinch of salt

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and salt. Cook onion until translucent; then add 1½ teaspoons garlic, cumin, chili powder and 1 teaspoon oregano; cook 1 minute.

2. When spices become fragrant, add diced acorn squash, broth and tomato paste. Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until squash becomes tender. Taste, and add pinch each of salt and pepper, if desired. Remove from heat, and transfer squash mixture to a bowl. Using a potato masher, mash mixture until mostly smooth.

3. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and return to medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When oil is hot, add mushrooms and remaining 1/8 teaspoon oregano to pan. Reduce heat to medium, and cook mushrooms without stirring until browned, about 5 minutes. Shake pan, and add remaining 1½ teaspoons minced garlic; cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl; keep warm.

4. Wipe out skillet again, and place over medium-high heat. Heat corn tortillas, one at a time, in dry skillet, turning once. Wrap tortillas in a towel to keep warm.

5. To prepare slaw, in a medium bowl, combine shredded cabbage, carrot, cilantro and coriander seeds. In a separate bowl, combine lime juice, oil and salt; pour over slaw mixture, and toss until well combined.

6. To assemble tacos, fill tortillas with squash mixture and top with mushrooms, slaw, pepitas and avocado slices.

PER SERVING (3 tacos): 332 cal, 10g fat (7g mono, 2g poly, 1g sat), 0mg chol, 104mg sodium, 57g carb (10g fi ber, 7g sugars), 8g protein

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Zucchini Squash Bake

Makes 6 servings; Vegetarian; Gluten-free option with bread crumb choice

1 small (about 2 pounds) kabocha, red kuri or delicata squash
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 small zucchini, grated (about 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup ricotta
1/2 cup grated hard cheese, such as Fontina, Emmental, Gruyre or non-aged Gouda
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For The Topping

1/2 cup bread crumbs (regular, gluten-free or panko)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Drizzle oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt over cut side of squash halves. Place squash, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover squash loosely with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove foil and let squash cool slightly.

2. In a large bowl, place grated zucchini, ricotta, grated cheese, parsley, thyme, pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon salt; stir to combine. Mix in beaten egg and nutmeg; set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, toss bread-crumb ingredients together; set aside.

4. Once squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a bowl and add lemon juice; mash with a potato masher until smooth. Gently fold ricotta cheese mixture into squash until combined.

5. Grease a 2-quart round baking dish, and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Scoop squash mixture into baking dish, and top with bread-crumb mixture. Bake until topping turns golden brown in spots, about 25–30 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

PER SERVING (1 cup): 193 cal, 11g fat (4g mono, 1g poly, 6g sat), 57mg chol, 418mg sodium, 16g carb (3g fiber, 5g sugars), 10g protein

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Butternut Squash Dip

Makes 5 ½ cups; Gluten free, Vegetarian

1 large butternut squash (about 4 pounds), halved and seeded (or pumpkin)
1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup tahini
1 cup whole-milk plain yogurt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons raw pepitas, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Drizzle olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt over cut side of squash halves. Place squash, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover squash loosely with aluminum foil, and bake for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove foil and let squash cool slightly.

2. Scoop flesh from cooked squash halves into a food processor. Add garlic, tahini, yogurt, vinegar, paprika, allspice and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; blend until creamy. Pause to push sides down if necessary. Scoop dip into a serving bowl, and chill for 1 hour or overnight.

3. Before serving, garnish dip with a dash of paprika and pepitas. Serve with dippers, such as veggies and crackers.

PER SERVING (. cup dip): 52 cal, 2g fat (1g mono, 1g poly, 0g sat), 1mg chol, 140mg sodium, 10g carb (2g fi ber, 2g sugars), 1g protein

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Butternut Squash Polenta with Turkey Apple Sausage

Makes 6 servings; Gluten free

For The Polenta

1 small (1 3/4 to 2 pounds) butternut, kabocha or buttercup squash
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

For The Topping

2 tablespoons ghee, butter or vegetable oil, divided
6 turkey or chicken sausage links
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 red apples, sliced (TRY: Fuji)

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over cut side of squash halves. Place squash, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover squash loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove foil and let squash cool slightly.

2. Scoop 2 cups flesh from cooked squash halves into a bowl. Refrigerate remaining squash for another use.

3. To cook polenta, in a large saucepan, bring broth to a simmer and slowly add cornmeal, whisking constantly to avoid clumping. Add salt. Stir constantly for 2 minutes; then add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Reduce heat and simmer so that polenta gently bubbles, stirring every 5 minutes for 30 minutes. (TIP: You may need to add more broth or water, up to 3/4 cup if polenta becomes too thick.) Polenta is properly cooked when you rub a pinch between your fingers and it feels smooth and creamy, not gritty.

4. While polenta is cooking, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon ghee. Add sausage links and sliced onion. When onion begins to soften, sprinkle 1 tablespoon sage, allspice, fennel seeds and pepper over onion and sausage. Continue to cook until sausage reaches an internal temperature of 165°, 8–15 minutes. Remove sausage and onion from skillet, and transfer to a plate; cover to keep warm. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel.

5. Add remaining 1 tablespoon ghee to same skillet, and place over medium-high heat. Cook apple slices until tender.

6. When polenta is almost done, stir in reserved 2 cups squash, Parmesan, parsley and thyme. If polenta is too thick, add up to 1 additional cup broth or water to thin to desired texture. Taste and add salt, as desired. Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.

7. To serve, divide half of the polenta among shallow serving bowls. Store remaining polenta as leftovers for another meal. Top each serving with a portion of the cooked apples and onions and one cooked sausage. Garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon fresh sage.

PER SERVING (1 cup polenta, 1/3 cup apples and onions, and 1 sausage link): 381 cal, 14g fat (6g mono, 3g poly, 5g sat), 95mg chol, 681mg sodium, 37g carb (4g fiber, 10g sugars), 24g protein

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Creamy Pumpkin Bars with Orange-Oat Crust

Makes 16 bars; Gluten free

For The Crust

1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
5 ounces Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

For The Filling

1/2 cup maple syrup
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1/3 cup whole-milk plain yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°, and lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a food processor, combine oats, pecan pieces, 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add dates, coconut oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. Process until mixture comes together, scraping down sides as needed. (TIP: Mixture

should stick together when pressed between your fingers.) Transfer to prepared pan, and press evenly into bottom. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside. Keep oven on.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1/2 cup syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to keep syrup at a simmer for 5 minutes. Continue to reduce until about 6 tablespoons of thickened syrup remain.

3. While syrup is reducing, place pumpkin purée in a medium bowl. When syrup has reduced, measure 1/4 cup and add to pumpkin; mix well and let cool slightly. Then, stir in yogurt, eggs, 1 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon orange zest and salt. Whisk gently until smooth.

4. Pour filling over crust, and smooth top with a spatula. Bake until filling is set, just beginning to pull from sides of pan and slightly browning on top, 25–30 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and place on a wire rack to cool; then transfer to refrigerator to chill at least 2 hours before cutting. (TIP: It’s important to chill bars completely before cutting to help them release from the baking dish.) Garnish with more orange zest or chopped pecans.

PER SERVING (1 bar): 85 cal, 3g fat (1g mono, 0g poly, 2g sat), 23mg chol, 85mg sodium, 14g carb (1g fi ber, 11g sugars), 2g protein

This post by Carsen Snyder and photographs by Jen Olsen was provided by New Hope Network. FoodTrients is a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.

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Combining her passion for food and a lifelong commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle, Grace O has created FoodTrients®, a unique program for optimizing wellness. Grace O is a fusion chef with a mission: to cook up recipes for sustaining a long and joyful life that are built on a foundation of anti-aging science and her work in the health care industry. Mixing foods and unique flavors culled from a lifetime of travels from Asia to Europe and America, Grace O encourages young and old to celebrate a full life that embraces diversity. Lifestyle tips, age-defying recipes, and secrets of the healing properties of food are the centerpiece of FoodTrients™–all available through cookbooks, e-newsletters, and FoodTrients.com. foodtrients.com
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