Saturday, November 20, 2010

Eat in Season: Ideas for Your Rejected Squash

With Thanksgiving fast approaching and the smell of fall in the air, I'm sure most of you will be seeing a lot of a seasonal favorite: winter squash. I realize for many young students out there the odd shapes and thick exterior of some of these babies may be off putting, but I'm here to correct any misinterpretations: winter squash can be both delicious to eat and easy to make.

In fact, there are numerous ways to cook squash, and each has its own advantages. Here are some easy to replicate ideas:

* Acorn Squash as a Soup Bowl: (see picture) Cut your squash in half, remove and discard seeds and inner core. Lightly spread olive oil & herb mixture of your choice (I used basil, oregano, pepper, and fresh garlic) over the cross-sections of the flesh. Place in the oven on a baking sheet (or foil, as I did... sadly, cannot afford to buying a baking sheet abroad) with the cut side facing up. Roast on high (400F) until soft and beginning to glaze, or as desired.

* Sliced, caramelized squash: Haven't tried it, but here's a great recipe to start with (just change out the butter for Earth Balance Margerine or Olive Oil for a healthier, vegan friendly dish).

* Roasted, herb-spiced squash: Cut off and discard thick skin. Chop into small cubes and marinate with olive oil and herbs of choice (such as, a nice Italian herb spice). Place on a baking sheet and roast at 400F until tender.

* Boiled, mashed squash: Cut off and discard thick skin. Slice in half, remove and discard inner seeds. Chop into small cubes and drop into boiling water. Lower to a simmer and allow to simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash up squash. Add spices, oil, or soymilk as desired.

* Butternut squash pie: Cooked (roasted especially!) butternut squash can be a unique substitute for pumpkin pie

Not to mention, of course, that squash provides many nutrients, particularly vital carotene (which have shown to be preventative against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes) as well as fiber, and vitamins B1 and B6 to name a few. Plus, squash is a hearty main course, perfect for a vegan meal.

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