Fall is here and what is more exciting than fall harvest? Winter squash are some of my favorite vegetables and are something you should be incorporating into your diet. Winter squash include acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkin. Packed with vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and fiber, winter squash is also a nutritious option. Ali Spencer, RD and LDS Hospital Rigistered Dietitian shares three ways you can incorporate them into your life this fall.
These squash have thicker, tough shells, so you’ll want to separate the flesh from the shell. Although more difficult to get to, the thicker shell ensures they have a longer shelf life, which can extend for months. Winter squash also have higher starch content than summer squashes, so they hold up well with roasting, in soups and stews and also can be used more readily in baking. On top of this all, they’ve got nutrient-dense seeds that you can roast!
1. Roast: Roasting will help caramelize the squash and make it taste even sweeter. For acorn and butternut squash peel and seed, then cut into 1” chunks. All you need is olive oil and salt and pepper to season. For spaghetti squash, cut it in half and seed it. Pour some water in each side. Use a fork to scrape out the flesh after cooking. Use in lieu of noodles in your favorite dish, or season with salt and pepper.
2. Soups and Stews: You can put cubed squash directly into a stew or chili. Or consider using roasted and pureed squash for a really creamy consistency. Butternut, acorn squash, and pumpkin are great options for this method. Even better you can use canned pumpkin for this too. You get a creamy consistency without all the fat from cream!
3. Roasted Seeds: In your winter squash cooking quests, you’re bound to end up with seeds. Save them and separate them from pulp and strings. Rinse with water, pat dry and place in one layer on a parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheet. Toss with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasonings and roast for 15 minutes.
For more information, visit: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/nutrition
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