Super Seasonal Food: Winter Squash

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You'll always find a winter squash in my kitchen between the  months of October to April-ish. That, and a bag of sweet potatoes. They're hands-down my favorite form of starchy foods and are packed with many more nutrients than other starches like rice, pasta, or bread.

Nutrients in Winter Squash

Each winter squash has various different nutrients, but most of them share similar nutritional value.

  • Excellent source of beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A. The rich orange and yellow colors of squash are great for your eyes and skin, and antioxidants like beta-carotene can work to prevent DNA damage in your cells.
  • High in fiber. Winter squash is high in soluble fiber, which can help slow down glucose (sugar) absorption and regulate blood sugar.
  • Blood sugar regulation. Blood sugar regulation is important for everyone if you want to control your weight, diabetes, or just have great health. Besides soluble fiber, winter squash is also rich in B-vitamins. Eat it with a balanced meal with protein and fat for best blood sugar regulation.
  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc. Zinc is great for the immune system, especially when colds and sore throats run rampant this time of year.

Types of Winter Squash

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I know butternut squash gets all the attention, but check out your farmer's market for other unique ones. Here are some common ones:

  • Acorn - An acorn-shaped squash that isn't as sweet. Works well in savory dishes.
  • Butternut - Cream-colored and orange-fleshed. Very versatile for use in sweet or savory dishes, soups, or on its own.
  • Spaghetti - A yellow squash. Its interior can be fleshed out into spaghetti-like strands. Top it with a sauce like spaghetti.
  • Delicata - A smaller, yellow and speckled, oblong squash with a mild flavor. Great on its own with cinnamon and butter.
  • Kabocha - My favorite type of squash! It's sweet and orange or green on the outside. Fantastic for chilis or soups!
  • Pumpkin - Pumpkins are great for chilis, soups, and curries. The smaller sugar pumpkins make a great pumpkin pie. Save the seeds too!

Simple Roasted Squash

If you want to keep it simple, here's the way I prepare squash 90% of the time. I usually roast one up for the week to add to meals.

  • Cut squash in half.
  • Remove the seeds, and add a small pat of butter or coconut oil.
  • Roast in oven for 350F for 40-60 min (depends on size of the squash). If the skin feels soft, it's done.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon, or eat plain. Enjoy!

Sweet & Savory Squash Recipes

When I'm feeling adventurous, I cook delicious, sweet or savory recipes with squash. Here are 15  great recipes to check out:

This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday at HolisticSquid.com!