by The Culinistas
Welcome to squash season! If the various types of bulbous gourds at the market are overwhelming to you, read on. We’re breaking down our top squash picks for the fall, and telling you exactly how to use them.
Kabocha is often called Japanese pumpkin as it looks almost identical to our jack o lantern friends with the addition of a dark green exterior. Kabocha is one of the sweetest squash out there with a flavor profile often likened to a sweet potato. For this reason, we like to puree it and use it to make Squash Cinnamon Rolls. It’s also delicious when sliced, seeded, cubed, and roasted or steamed with plenty of olive oil and spices. Simmering it in and serving it with dashi is a traditional Japanese cooking technique that’s particularly delicious (especially on a cold night).
Scout your local delicatas by looking for an oblong yellow squash with dark green vertical stripes. Delicatas have a delicate skin (what’s in a name?) so no need to break out your peeler. Simply slice into rings, remove the seeds and roast with olive oil (bonus points if it’s herb infused), maple syrup, onion powder, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. The end result? A crispy, sweet, savory snack best served on a mountain of kale salad.
Acorn squash is similar in color to its kabocha cousin its shape on the other hand is, well, that of a giant acorn. Follow the same preparation method suggested for kabocha, or, cut your squash in half and roast it in two pieces. Our favorite sauce to serve alongside is a Thai inspired basil mixture with plenty of ginger, serrano, and garlic.
Butternut is one of the more popular squash varieties because of its versatility. It’s delicious when roasted, mashed, spiralized, pureed, and baked hasselback style. We slice our butternut with a mandoline to mirror the thickness of lasagna, then layer the slices in between blankets of ricotta, pesto, and pasta for a twist on the classic bake. Butternut also pairs well with grains like quinoa and farro. For a unique Thanksgiving side, try mixing roasted butternut with red quinoa, toasted cashews, scallions, and a cranberry vinaigrette. Plus, keep an eye out for honeynuts at your local grocer (a mix between a butternut and a buttercup squash). They are tiny, sweet, and delicious.
A special thanks to Sylvie Rosokoff for the beautiful photograph.