Squash Your Dinner Plans Tonight!
‘Tis the season for some squash—not the racquet game, but rather the giant ‘fruit of the vine’. To celebrate the autumn’s harvest we Americans typically display these grand fruits on our front doorsteps, or use the miniature varieties in our tablescapes. If you are like most of the people I know, you have probably haven’t invited the ‘Squash family’ over for dinner. You’ve been content, all these years, to solely gaze upon the beauty of this season’s colorful squash from a distance…never once considering all the flavor and nutrition you were missing.
As for flavor, all I can say is a mouth-watering YUM! And if you stop to consider the nutritional value of squash, these autumn beauties are a real head-turner. Depending upon the type of squash, their brightly colored flesh may be brimming with vitamins A, B, C, beta carotenes, and various flavonoids. They are also low in calories and contain a significant amount of fiber.
The annual replaying of the Charlie Brown special, The Great Pumpkin, reminds us that October’s “starring squash” is none other than the bright, orange pumpkin. This autumn, however, I’m asking you to consider extending a dinner invitation to a few of the Great Pumpkin’s relatives—namely the spaghetti, butternut, and acorn squashes. You’ll be so glad you asked them to join you!
Spaghetti squash (yellow)
Slice in half, width-wise. Bake, cut side down, at 350°F x 45 minutes, discard the seedy center, twirl out the spaghetti-like strands with a fork, serve covered with curried lentils, red tomato sauce, or simply stirred together with some butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Butternut squash (tan/beige)
Purchase a prepared package of raw, peeled and cubed chunks. Steam, using 1 cup chicken broth, until fork-tender. Mash or puree in a food processor along with 2 TBS of butter (or coconut oil) and salt and pepper to taste, or blend with coconut milk for a delicious soup.
Acorn squash (hunter green with occasional orange flecks)
Slice in half, length-wise. Remove seeds. Roast at 350°F cut side down, until tender. Carefully remove and invert. Fill with a mixture of sautéed onions, celery, and diced apples, chopped pecans, browned, ground pork, and prepared brown rice favored with some cumin, S & P.