One of my favorite vegetables to eat in winter is squash (even if it is technically a fruit), and not just because it’s so easy to cook, or adds great texture to any recipe, and has a natural sweetness.
Squash is also great because it’s one of the most versatile foods I know. It is a great base for soups and sauces, a satiating starch in stews and sautés, and a natural sweetener for cakes, pies and other desserts.
Also, squash is a great replacement for certain foods that aren’t as healthy. I’m typically not a big fan of “fake” vegan or vegetarian foods that attempt to mimic their carnivore pleasing counterparts, usually because they’re highly processed and lacking nutrition.
So next time you’re craving the creamy texture of mashed potatoes, try some sweet mashed winter squash instead. Or if you want a little pasta al dente, spaghetti squash (it has that name for a reason!) is the perfect pasta substitute and soaks up tomato sauce almost as well as any noodle.
December is a great month to try out some new winter squash and pumpkin recipes. Kids and family members are home for the holidays and back from school. So you’ll have plenty of tasters!
Do you have any favorite squash recipes? Or have you already tried some of our favorites below? Comment back with which one you like best!
Green Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
This soup is tasty hot or chilled, great for breakfast or dinner. Because it is naturally sweet, it’s a favorite even among fussy eaters and relatives who aren’t used to eating healthy.
• 2 cups no-salt added vegetable stock.
• 2 cups butternut squash, frozen.
• 2 cups unsweetened applesauce.
• 2 cups kale, chopped packed, tough stems and center ribs removed and leaves chopped or frozen
• 1 cups onion, chopped
• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 2 cups carrot juice
• 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
• 1/2 cup raw cashews
• 1/4 cup hemp seed
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1. Put squash, applesauce, kale, onion, vinegar and carrot juice in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until kale is tender.
2. Puree 3/4 of the soup with the soy milk, cashews and hemp seeds in a blender, then pour the mixture back into the pot. Add cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. Serve and enjoy!
Mashed Winter Squash
Regular mashed potatoes pale in comparison! This colorful alternative is just as tasty and plenty more nutritious. It’s also an easy healthy recipe for beginners.
• 2 lbs winter squash, fresh or frozen
• 4 leeks, cleaned and sliced
• 2 cups no-salt added vegetable stock
• 1 tbsp no salt seasoning
• 1/4 tsp nutmeg
• 1 tsp cinnamon
1. In a large pot, bring squash, leeks, and vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook until the squash is tender, or about 30 minutes.
2. Drain the pot of water and transfer the vegetables, nutmeg and no salt seasoning to a bowl. Mash with a potato masher.
3. Add cinnamon and serve!
Check out more squash recipes on the Healthy Food Now Recipes page, including desserts, main courses and other side dishes. Share with us your favorites!