How to Cook Squash

Fall has arrived. The sun is setting earlier and earlier, the leaves are falling and the colder weather is moving in. One positive aspect of the arrival of fall is the wide assortment of winter squash that is available. Let me introduce you to what I’ve been cooking and what’s waiting for me to work with.

Fall SquashStarting from left to right shown above is a butternut squash, a sugar pumpkin, a fairytale pumpkin squash, a carnival squash and a locally grown organic red kuri squash. At this moment the butternut squash and kuri squash have already been consumed but today I’m going to help explain how to cook squash…of any kind.

When I shop for groceries I typically pick up 2-3 new-to-me fruits or vegetables to experiment with. I’m quite familiar with butternut squash and there are a couple recipes using it in Pigskin Paleo: Game Day Recipes. Most people are familiar with sugar pumpkins as well, especially bakers. But, when I saw the fairytale pumpkin squash I just HAD to try it.

After growing up having the Cinderella book on tape (yes cassette tape, not CD) read to me before bed, reading the Cinderella story myself, and watching the movie, what girl wouldn’t see that squash and want to take it home? I mean it looks exactly like it came straight out of the book and the movie!

I’ve mistakenly been referring to it as fantasy squash every time I talk to Jeff about it. So far I’ve cooked half of it. The shape of this particular squash lends itself to some pretty fun shapes when you cut it up. Yesterday I made a quarter of the squash and cut the squash into horseshoe shaped slices.

About winter squash

All squash can be cooked the same way or you can switch it up. You can bake it, boil it, steam it, puree it and even microwave it. (Although you won’t find me microwaving anything since we got rid of our microwave a few years ago.) You can cook it whole, cut it into fries, cube it, freeze it, puree it and add it to a smoothie to drink it.

How to bake seeds

Of course all the seeds are edible as well. Season them with some salt (or you could even try cinnamon or cayenne pepper) along with your choice of fat (I typically use olive oil, coconut oil or nothing on the seeds) and bake those puppies at 350°F for 10 minutes on each side. If there’s any leftovers I’ll store them in the pantry with our other nuts. Pumpkin seeds make for a delicious and quick grab-and-go snack.

How to Cook Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 squash of your choice
  • sea salt, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the squash in half.
  3. Scrape out the seeds and set aside to make later.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, for easy clean up. Place squash with cut sides down on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.
  6. Remove squash from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Season with sea salt and serve.
  8. Enjoy! :)

Baking is my method of choice. It’s super easy and allows me to set it and forget it (until the timer goes off, of course).

The second method I prefer is to steam and puree squash, but baking requires the use of less cooking utensils. I really hate doing dishes and I’m one who uses many of my utensils, pots and pans daily so weighing the use of a baking sheet over a pan and my food processor is no contest, especially if it’s been a day or two since I’ve done dishes. :)

What is your favorite squash? What’s your preferred method to cook it? Next time you go shopping, pick up a new winter squash you’ve never tried before and let me know how it came out.

Paleo squash recipes