Squashes may not be the most glamorous vegetables, but they are delicious, versatile and chock full of fantastic nutrients to heal and nourish.
They contain vitamin A which improves lung health as well as folate and magnesium which help prevent heart disease, and manganese which works with potassium to help maintain healthy blood levels. Antioxidants and fiber go even further in making these vegetables power houses of nutrition.
Squashes are great additions to the kitchen grocery list as they work equally well in sweet and savory dishes. I like to roast mine before adding it to various dishes. The roasting deepens the flavor and adds a hint of caramelized smokiness.
Squash for Breakfast
Squash for breakfast is marvelous in a savory crust-less quiche. One way is to chop half a roasted pumpkin or butternut squash into bite-size chunks, mix it with roasted bell pepper puree, minced garlic, feta or chevre cheese, eggs, and milk. Pour it all into an oven-proof dish and bake until the center is firm and the top beautifully browned.
Squash for Lunch
Squash for lunch can be achieved by making Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes. These are a little labor intensive, but worth the effort. Bake sweet potatoes until done. Halve them and scoop out the flesh, being careful not to tear the skins. In a bowl combine the sweet potato with chunks of roasted squash, thyme, and enough butter and milk to make the mixture smooth but not watery. Scoop the mixture back into the sweet potato shells and bake until the mixture begins to brown. If you really want to make it special, add a bit of brown sugar to the mixture then top each potato with caramelized walnuts.
Squash for Dinner
Squash for dinner is as easy as can be. Simply boil linguine in salted water. While it's cooking, cut roasted squash in small pieces, reserving about 1/4 cup. In a small bowl, add the 1/4 cup of squash and mash it well. Add enough cooking water from the pasta pot to make a smooth sauce. When linguine is done, drain it, then toss with the squash, sauce, and feta cheese. Serve immediately.
Squash for Dessert
Then there's squash for dessert. Add squash to sweet potato to make a creamy sweet potato pie that will rival any pumpkin variety. Steam or boil equal amounts of sweet potato and squash (enough for one pie), drain well and place in a large bowl. Add one can of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, 3 eggs, and beat everything together until smooth and thick. Pour into pie crust and bake 30-40 minutes at 375 F, until middle is firm. Serve with whipped cream.
If these ideas don't suit your fancy, consider roasting squash in chunks tossed with olive oil, sea salt, and thyme. This makes a simple and good side dish for any meal. Or make a comforting bowl of soup by simmering squash, fried onions, and chicken broth until squash is tender. Using immersion blender, puree until soup is smooth and creamy. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.
KALE FOR BREAKFAST, KALE FOR LUNCH, KALE FOR DINNER
Krista Bjorn is a food and travel writer. She blogs daily on her site RamblingTart.com. She's a self-described "Danish-Canadian lass who loves to write, travel and cook with people I love."