Has your creativity in the kitchen been squashed?
Then you should consider the wildly flexible and fun squash! While winter squash is plentiful and in season from August through December, there are dozens of others to sample this fall season.
No matter your preference, virtually every type of squash is healthy, with the most common only comprising of 50-80 calories per cooked cup, yet rich with vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium. The nutrients support satiety, immune function and blood flow in the body, helping you stay focused and energized throughout the day’s grind.
So, what are the best ways to enjoy an array of squash forms? Here are three sweet squash recipes to sample:
A bowl of oatmeal in the morning is so 2000’s. Experiment with a squash breakfast bowl – or squash porridge – instead, blending 1 cup of steamed butternut squash with a teaspoon of tahini or nut butter, a dash of maple syrup and a pinch of vanilla extract.
You can play with portions to meet your taste preference, but don’t go hard on the nut butter, since it is rich in fats and calories. Afterwards, top the breakfast bowl with the same toppings you’d use for your steel-cut oats. We recommend sweet spices (like cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg), a handful of fresh fruit (like blackberries, raspberries or blueberries) and a splash of almond or non-dairy milk.
And if you don’t have time to work from scratch, you can opt for pre-made, pureed varieties of pumpkin or butternut squash.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Turn that veggie meal into an elegant entrée.
Kale salad on white plates is unappetizing and boring. Instead, serve a selection of steamed greens, rice, and beans inside of a winter squash. To add a bit of colour (and vitamin K), top with pomegranate seeds, which also loosens up blood clots and support bone health.
Hear us out – this is not as weird/gross as it sounds.
Squash burgers, which are made up of dark orange squash like red kuri or kabocha, encourages today’s plant-based diet trends. Dreena Burton, a mother and recipe developer, created this dish to satisfy her health concerns as a parent, without sacrificing her children’s favourite meals.
Making these “beta-carotene burgers” requires a large bowl, filled with a combination of a cup of cooled, cooked dark orange squash (or sweet potatoes), 2 tablespoons of natural ketchup, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of nutritional yeast (optional), and a teaspoon each of mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and sea salt (optional). Mix it all together.
After mixing, add 2 cups of cooked brown rice, and a half-cup each of rolled oats, and hemp, pumpkin, and chia seeds. Mix everything again, then let chill in the fridge for half-an-hour.
Finally, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Form eight patties from the squash-veggie burger mixture, and bake on each side for about 10 minutes, or until golden and firm.
And to serve, you can put them on a salad, or top them with dark, leafy greens for a boost in iron absorption.
The veggie burgers contain just 191 calories, while offering 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein and a healthy ratio of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps with general mood, cognitive function and range of motion.
Photo Credit: Louno/BigStock; nblx/BigStock; bhofack22/BigStock