I used to think that squash was just okay, with not too much variety and only ever existing as a side dish. However, grocery shopping this time of year and seeing those big bins of decorative gourds has opened my eyes to the possibilities not just for recipes but also for which types I can eat.
Not only are squashes aesthetically pleasing and delicious, but they make perfect sense for a college student. Even though it’s pretty substantial, these gourds are usually only a few dollars, making them a no-brainer purchase.
Also, if you’re living the mini fridge life like me, an uncut squash is shelf stable, meaning that you can have your handsome gourd displayed as a decoration right up until you cook it. Also, it lasts for several meals and the leftovers are almost better than the very first day.
These recipes bring out the best of the gourds that might be decorating your porch right now.
I only discovered kabocha squash this year, but it’s quickly climbed to the position of my all-time favorite. This recipe by the Food Network for maple-roasted Kabocha Squash is so easy and rewarding.
- 1 kabocha squash
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- Kosher salt
- Halve the squash and remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut the squash into approximately 1-inch wedges. If necessary, microwave the squash for a few minutes to soften it and make it cuttable.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Toss the squash wedges in the syrup mixture to coat and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Roast the squash at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until golden and tender, approximately 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Finish by coating with any remaining syrup mixture, and serve.
Acorn squash looks like, well, a big ol’ acorn … in squash form. It’s often overlooked but is, in fact, extremely buttery and delicious. I’ve included a simple recipe for mashed squash that can work for both dinner and dessert. Feel free to play around with the spices, too!
- 1 acorn squash
- 2 to 4 tablespoons butter
- For the sweet version:
- 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Cinnamon to taste
- Pinch of salt
- For the savory version:
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Halve the squash and remove the seeds from the center.
- Roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately one hour or until tender, flipping halfway.
- Scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash with your butter and spices of choice.
With its oblong shape, cream color and bright stripes, the delicata squash is no doubt a beautiful piece of decor. Not many people realize that it makes for good eats, as well. For our final section, I’ve decided to include a recipe for stuffed delicata squash. Even though it’s a little more work than the other recipes, it’s super impressive and acts as a whole meal instead of a side dish.
- 1 Delicata squash
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Stuffing of choice (this can be meat, grain or vegetable based and is truly up for interpretation — experiment!)
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Coat in the oil, salt and pepper.
- Roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until tender.
- Fill cavities with stuffing of choice, returning to the oven for up to 15 minutes, if applicable.
All of these recipes are interchangeable and expandable, of course. I just wanted to provide a foundation for those who might be interested. I highly recommend that you take advantage of the gourds while they’re still in season, not just as a centerpiece on the table, but as the feature meal, as well.