The Green Gourmet Gabs

Real Talk about Real Food

Begin a Seasonal Love Affair with Winter Squash

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Saying goodbye to summer’s bounty can be heartbreaking. During the sultry days of summer, you probably get a little too attached to the sun-kissed tomatoes. You fall for the crisp-cool cucumbers. And yes, you even find yourself flushed with heat when you cozy-up with that hot pepper. You live in denial, thinking it will go on forever, but it doesn’t…it can’t! Not if you are one of the many people who try to eat locally and seasonally. Well, put the hankie away and get ready for a new love affair with this season’s heartthrob…the winter squash.

Butternut Squash, Photo: World Community Cookbook

Butternut Squash, Photo: World Community Cookbook

Round or oblong, dark flesh or pale, there’s a size, shape and color for everyone. With so many to choose from, it’s o.k. to be fickle. Acorn, butternut, buttercup, Hubbard, delicata, pumpkin, spaghetti, and calabasa are names you should get to know. Now, you may fall in love with the first one you try, but trust me, you don’t want to settle down right away, no matter how irresistible seems at first.

Let’s consider the more rationale side of the relationship for a moment. Aside from the obvious chemistry you may feel after your first bite, the winter squash’s resume boasts some impressive health benefits. Want protection from cancer, seeking strong immune and digestive systems, need support for strong bones and a healthy heart? Look no further. Winter squash has ample amounts of beta carotene, fiber, potassium, folate, B6 and let’s not forget vitamin C.

Acorn Squash, Photo: pcfma.com

Acorn Squash, Photo: pcfma.com

Despite its thick skin, winter squash has a sweet and tender side. The key is getting past it. Bake it whole or in halves, then scoop out the seeds and flesh or peel it first, then dice and steam or boil. After that, winter squash will be ready to hit the town with almost any recipe you can think of…just let your imagination be your guide. And while each one is an individual and unique in its own right, the similarities make it refreshingly easy to swap out one for the other depending on availability and mood. Take my word for it, winter squash might be one of the most perfect – and healthy – relationships you can ever have.

Spaghetti Squash, Photo: Howstuffworks.com

Spaghetti Squash, Photo: Howstuffworks.com

So while breaking up is hard to do, falling in love again is has never tasted so good.

Try this delicious recipe for spaghetti squash: adults like him because he’s only 37 calories per 1/2 cup. Kids like him for the thin little strands of flesh inside that look and act like spaghetti.

Pumpkin Spiced Spaghetti Squash

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 medium spaghetti squash, cooked and still hot
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped pecans or nut of choice
Dash of salt

Directions:
Using a fork, pull the squash strands from the shell onto a serving plate or bowl.
Toss with maple syrup, spices, nuts and salt.
Serve hot and enjoy for breakfast or dessert.

Another simple approach that will get your kids on board with your new “fall fling” is to toss cooked strands of squash with a simple marinara or tomato sauce. Throw in some steamed broccoli and you’ve got a meal fit for anyone who is looking to create a simple, seasonal and health It’s the ultimate low-carb, low-cal “pasta”.

Any questions…love to hear from you!

Categories: General
Linda Soper-Kolton

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