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Tag Archives: Winter Squash

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

I’m late to the spaghetti squash game. I could never really get behind the whole squash-as-pasta-substitute thing, and I never really had too much opportunity to try it until now. But, when life (or, in this case, your CSA) hands you spaghetti squash… you make spaghetti squash alfredo.

For the uninitiated, spaghetti squash has an interesting feature — when it’s cooked, the insides scrape up just like, well, spaghetti, which makes it a perfect, healthy vessel for your favorite pasta sauce.

spaghetti squash

At first I was just going to use some run-of-the-mill pasta sauce with the spaghetti squash, maybe with some store-bought veggie meatballs thrown in. Then I ran across this recipe, and it looked too good to pass up — despite the “skinny” in the title, which tends to make me roll my eyes.

Let me tell you — it was good! Whether or not it’s truly “skinny,” I can’t say, but it definitely didn’t taste like it. It was creamy, garlicky, filling and delicious. A must try!

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 spaghetti squash
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 Tbs cream cheese
  • 2 cups parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional for topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
  • parsley, to taste (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Split each spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and then scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. Fill the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet with water, and place the squash cut side down on the sheet. Bake until the squash is tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and add the garlic. Saute until fragrant, and then add the flour, whisking to combine.
  3. Add the milk gradually, whisking to break up lumps, and continue to heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Add the cream cheese and stir to incorporate. Remove from the heat, and add the parmesan, stirring to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When the spaghetti squash are done, remove from the oven and drain the water from the baking sheet. Flip them over and, using a fork, scrape the insides to create that "spaghetti" texture, leaving just a little flesh around the outsides so the squash holds together.
  5. Preheat the broiler. Spoon the sauce into each squash half, and toss and stir to combine, so that the filling is well-coated with the sauce. Sprinkle each squash half with a bit of parmesan, crushed red pepper and parsley (if desired). Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese on top begins to brown and bubble. Enjoy!


Creamy Polenta with Kale, Delicata Squash and Poached Eggs

One of my favorite meal formulas this winter is to throw some greens and maybe another veggie on top of polenta, top it with an egg of some sort, and call it a day. The possibilities are endless, and the results are always tasty.

When I was developing meals for Cooking Planit, I knew one of those combos would be perfect, so I started experimenting. Creamy polenta topped with garlicky sautéed kale, roasted delicata squash and a perfectly poached egg turned out to be our winner, and it was absolutely delicious.

creamy polenta

The delicata squash is optional, and in fact it isn’t included in the Cooking Planit meal, since it can be hard to find. You can easily substitute any other winter squash, but I love delicata because it’s pretty and you don’t have to peel it. It’s a win-win.

Head on over to Cooking Planit to find the recipes for this meal, as well as several others I collaborated with them on. Not only will you get the recipes, but Cooking Planit will organize your shopping list and tell you how to order all the steps so can cook your meal efficiently and with a minimum of stress. Can’t beat that!

Creamy Polenta, Eggs and Kale

Butternut Squash Risotto with Brown Butter and Sage

I love risotto. It really doesn’t take much skill, just time and attention. So when I saw this recipe for butternut squash risotto, I put it on the menu right away. I haven’t made a risotto in a while, because it’s just been too darn hot to stand over the stove for half an hour, but fall is here (sort of) and the time is right.

Don’t mind if I do.

I unintentionally browned the butter, which is hard to do by accident, but it turned out to be a perfect match for the sage and butternut squash, so yay for that! I think I’ll do it on purpose next time. For my money, there’s no better savory fall flavor than brown butter. Add in butternut squash and sage, and you have the trifecta of fall goodness.

Did Nora like it? In her words,” Baby eatin’ the rice. Yummmm!” So, yeah.

Frozen peas are great for teething, too.

The grown-ups enjoyed a bottle of Ridge Lytton Estate Grenache with dinner, which made it an all-around smashing evening… but then again, pretty much any bottle of Ridge does.

None for Nora just yet, though.

I made this on a Sunday evening so that the hubby could keep the kidlet occupied while I stirred and stirred (and stirred some more), since you really can’t stop and start on risotto. All that stirring is what makes it so creamy and delicious!

Butternut Squash Risotto
Adapted from this recipe from Dinner with Daneman

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 Tbs butter, divided
1 Tbs olive oil
1-2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
splash white wine or dry vermouth
6-8 cups vegetable stock
2/3 cup grated parmesan, plus additional for garnish
6-8 fresh sage leaves (or about 1 tsp dried)

Preheat the oven to 400°. Melt 2 Tbs butter and toss with the butternut squash cubes. Spread the squash cubes out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone liner and roast in the oven until fork-tender, 30 to 45 minutes, tossing occasionally to ensure even browning. Remove the squash from the oven and purée about 3/4 of it in a food processor, setting the rest aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer while you make the risotto. Once the stock is hot, melt the remaining 2 Tbs butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat until the butter foams. Continue stirring until the butter turns light golden brown. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent.

Add the rice and stir to coat. Toast the rice, stirring constantly, until a little white dot forms in each piece of rice, about 3 minutes. Add a splash of wine or vermouth and stir until it evaporates, just a few seconds.

Add about a cup of stock to the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Keep adding stock by the ladleful and stirring while it absorbs, checking the texture after about 20 minutes. About halfway through the cooking, add the sage, if you are using dried. Otherwise, add it with the squash purée at the end. The final texture should be creamy and tender but with a little resistance to the bite.

Once you have reached your desired consistency, remove the rice from the heat and stir in the puréed butternut squash and parmesan and mix until fully incorporated. Stir in the cubed butternut squash and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with a good sprinkling of parmesan and/or fresh sage.

The Peaceful Mom

Sweet potato hash with beets and winter squash

Since we have started getting sweet potatoes in our CSA box (yay fall!), I have been looking for some new ways to use them. I hit the jackpot when I ran across a recipe for sweet potato hash on Dinner with Daneman. It sounded pretty good, and, more importantly, it was a great way to use up some lingering remnants from last week’s box, so I gave it a shot. I’m so glad I did, because it turned out fantastic!


This is one of those dishes that is more than the sum of its parts. The flavors of the sweet potato, butternut squash, and beets perfectly complemented each other, and the spices deepened the flavor and kept it interesting. As the hubby put it, when you make something that sounds like it’ll be great, and it turns out great, well, no surprise. But, when you make something that sounds good just so you can use up extra veggies, and it turns out to be great, well, score!

Top it with a fried egg, courtesy of the hubby, and dinner was on the table.

Soup’s on!

Since you can roast the veggies ahead of time, this is totally do-able as a weeknight meal, since the hash itself doesn’t take but a few minutes to throw together. This will definitely be going in our regular rotation, since it should be infinitely adaptable to whatever veggies we have on hand, with just a few tweaks here and there.

Sweet Potato Hash with Beets and Winter Squash
Based on this recipe from Dinner with Daneman

1 medium sweet potato
1 small butternut or other winter squash
1 small red beet
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 375℉. Wash the beet and sweet potato thoroughly and pat dry. Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork, and wrap them individually with foil and place on a baking sheet. Peel the winter squash and scoop out the seeds. Place in a baking dish with a little water, cut side down. Bake all for 30 minutes and set aside to cool.

While the sweet potato, beet, and squash are cooling, heat the butter and oil in a
pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and shallot and cook until softened, then turn the heat down and continue to cook until they are beginning to caramelize.

While the onions are cooking, peel the potato and beet and cut them and the squash into small dice. Add the sweet potato and winter squash to the pan along with the cumin and smoked paprika and stir for a few minutes. Add the beet and toss quickly to combine. Garnish with chopped parsley.

The Peaceful Mom

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine

Faced with an imminent move, and with plenty of dried chickpeas and a butternut squash sitting on my counter that will not be making the trip to Texas with us, I decided to try a butternut squash and chickpea tagine. I do not own a tagine, but, as it turns out, a sauté pan with a lid works just fine as a stand-in.

Can't tell the difference, can you?

This was a delicious meal, and definitely one I’d make again, even if not forced to be so creative. My only caveat is that it was a bit too spicy for my taste, and certainly too spicy to share with Nora (although she did have a couple of the chickpeas and didn’t seem phased). Next time I’d halve the amount of cayenne (which I have reflected in the recipe below).

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine
Based on this recipe

1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed and soaked*
1 14.5-oz can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs parsley, finely chopped, plus additional for garnish
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of water
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
a handful of pine nuts, toasted

Heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds, and then stir in the cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Add the paprika, tomato paste, sugar, 2 Tbs parsley, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.

Add the tomatoes and chickpeas and stir to combine. Add the butternut squash and the water, stir, and then cover with the lid. Once simmering, turn the heat down to low and cook covered for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, heat the vegetable stock to boiling and add the couscous. Stir, remove from heat, and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add the toasted pine nuts.

Serve the tagine over a bed of couscous garnished with additional chopped parsley.

* You can substitute canned chickpeas for a shortcut and just omit the cooking.

Kale and mizuna salad with delicata squash

I made a fantastic salad for dinner the other night. No, no, stay with me here. I am not normally one of those “salad for dinner” kinds of people. I think dinner needs to be a little more substantial than a salad implies, but kale and mizuna salad with roasted delicata squash, chunks of sharp cheddar cheese, and toasted walnuts is not your ordinary salad.

Nutritious and delicious.

I love delicata squash, but up until recently, I didn’t know you could eat it without peeling it. I stumbled across this recipe for kale salad with kabocha squash on Runner’s Kitchen, and it suggested leaving the peel on for the extra nutrients. That got me thinking: I had a delicata squash sitting on the counter, and it would go very well in a kale salad, so could I pull the same trick with leaving the peel on? The answer, the internets told me, was yes.

Who wants to get rid of that beautiful peel, anyway?

I simply halved, seeded, and sliced the squash, tossed it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted it. It was a fantastic addition to the salad, and the peel was so tender I almost didn’t notice it was there. Added nutrients plus less prep time? Yes, please!

When the hubby heard we were having salad for dinner, his first comment was, “So are we having dessert, too, or what’s the plan, here?” I agreed that dessert was certainly an option (it’s always on the table when I am involved), but after we ate, neither of us was too interested in more. The salad was tasty (really!), satisfying, nutrient-packed, and easy to make. I hereby proclaim it the Best Salad Ever.

Give it a shot, even if you’re not a salad person. You just might be surprised.

Kale and Mizuna Salad with Delicata Squash
Based on this recipe for Northern Spy’s Kale Salad via Runner’s Kitchen

1 delicata squash
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch kale (preferably lacinato), ribs removed and finely chopped
1 bunch mizuna, tough stems removed, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled or chopped sharp white cheddar
Juice of one lemon
Pecorino romano or other hard cheese, for topping (optional)

Heat oven to 400°. Slice the ends off the squash, halve it, and scoop out the seeds. Slice it into 1/4-inch half moons. Toss the squash slices in about 1 Tbs olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet in one layer, leaving space between the slices. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, 20-30 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10 minutes or so.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale and mizuna with the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide greens between two plates and top with equal amounts of cheddar, squash, and walnuts. Garnish with shaved pecorino romano, if desired.

Squash Cheese Soup

Remember that pumpkin purée I froze awhile back? I put it to good use the other day as part of my squash cheese soup. This makes for a really easy weeknight dinner, especially if you’ve made the purée in advance.

Cheesy, squash-y deliciousness.

Add a salad and a nice slice of crusty bread, and it’s the perfect meal for a winter evening.

Squash Cheese Soup
Based on this recipe, originally from The Vegetarian Lunch Basket

3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 1/2 cups winter squash purée*
smoked paprika

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Whisk in the flour and stir for 3 minutes. Gradually stir in milk and vegetable stock. Simmer until thickened. Stir in cheese, squash puree and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in a generous pinch of smoked paprika. Serve with a delicate sprinkle of smoked paprika on top, and a pinch of fleur de sel, if you like.

* If you are not as fortunate as I was to have purée already on hand, you can make it from pretty much any variety of winter squash. Halve, seed and cook about 3 pounds of squash at 375° for 30-40 minutes, or until easily pierced by a fork. Cool and scoop the flesh away from the skin and pulse in a food processor until puréed.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Holiday meals for vegetarians tend to be all about the side dishes. While I love sides, sometimes one wants something a little more substantial — something that serves as a centerpiece for the meal. A few years ago, I threw together a stuffed acorn squash with quinoa, mushrooms, and smoked mozzarella, which turned out to be just perfect for that purpose. I’ve made it several times for holiday meals, and it’s always a hit with the veggie crowd (that is, if there’s anyone other than me not partaking in the turkey or ham).

This year, we had Christmas dinner with my in-laws, and my future-sister-in-law (whom I love to pieces) who is also a vegetarian was in attendance, so I made a couple of stuffed squashes for us to enjoy. We weren’t jealous of the ham, but everyone else envied our “centerpieces”!

Maybe I'm projecting, but they are pretty!

This year I used smoked gouda instead of mozzarella, and added caramelized onions and toasted pine nuts courtesy of my husband-slash-sous chef. They were beautiful and delicious, and between these, the bounty of yummy sides we all stuffed ourselves with, and the bread pudding I made for dessert (more on that later), no one went away hungry. In fact, we were all still pretty stuffed by the time tamale night rolled around later that evening.


My sister-in-law made those beauties, including pork, chicken, and black bean versions. She made her own masa and everything — fabulous! Add a slice of pecan pie after a few of those bad boys, and I was stuffed and ready for early bed.

You don’t have to stuff yourself silly to enjoy the acorn squash, though. It’s definitely easy enough to be a meal for any day, and the stuffing can be switched up in any number of ways.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 2

2 medium acorn squashes
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
one medium onion
1-2 cups shredded smoked gouda*
1 cup shiitake mushrooms**
dash of milk
handful of toasted pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each squash, so that it sits stable when you flip it over. Cut a wide opening around the stem and pull the “cap”off. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Place the squash cut (top) side down in a little water and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender.***

Meanwhile, halve the onion and thinly slice it. Heat a little olive oil over medium heat and sauté until translucent. Turn the heat down to medium low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 30 minutes total. Chop the mushrooms and sauté them in a little olive oil over medium heat as well, just until they’re tender and giving off their juices.

In  a saucepan, combine the cooked quinoa, onions, mushrooms, a tablespoon or two of milk, and about a cup of the cheese. Stir together over medium low heat until the cheese melts, and add salt and pepper to taste. Add more cheese to get the consistency of the stuffing to your liking. I tend to like a lot of cheese for that great smoky flavor that goes so well with the mushrooms. Stir in the pine nuts.

Preheat the broiler. Set the cooked squash right side up in a baking pan and stuff with the quinoa mixture. Top with a nice layer of shredded cheese and put under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

* Or smoked mozzarella. Really any smoked cheese works great here.

** You can easily substitute cremini or other mushrooms here — whatever strikes your fancy.

*** This can be done up to a couple of hours ahead — just set the squash aside until you’re ready to stuff it, and a give it 5 minutes or so extra in the oven to warm up before you broil it.

Butternut squash risotto

Risotto is one of the first “difficult” dishes I ever attempted. Turns out, it’s really not that hard — it just requires a lot of attention. I have made several variations, and they all turn out wonderfully, as long as I devote 30-40 minutes to standing over the stove without any prolonged interruptions. It’s also an excellent excuse to crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy a glass while you’re cooking!

This particular recipe is one of my favorites, and it makes great use of a plentiful fall veggie, butternut squash.


Plus we have an insane rosemary bush in our backyard, so any excuse to use a bit of rosemary is a good thing!

Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Blue Cheese Risotto
Based on this recipe

7 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces), plus additional for serving

Bring broth to boil in large saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add squash and rosemary, stirring to coat with butter. Sauté a few minutes more. Add rice and stir for a couple of minutes to toast. Add wine and deglaze pan.

Add about a cup of hot broth and simmer until absorbed. Add warm broth cup by cup, allowing to simmer until absorbed each time, until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy and slightly soupy, stirring occasionally. This should take 20-25 minutes, and you may not use all the broth.

Stir in spinach, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer risotto to serving bowls. Sprinkle with blue cheese and serve.


My other favorite thing about this risotto (or any risotto, really), is that you have a built-in meal from leftovers — risotto croquettes! Just form the leftover risotto into balls, stuff a fresh mozzarella ball into the center (ciliegine tends to work best), roll it in a beaten egg and then bread crumbs, and fry in a little olive oil until golden brown. Serve with a nice salad, and it’s a second dinner!

Leftovers never looked so good.

If you have an especially ambitious spouse, you may be able to get an extra-fancy salad with crispy leeks and sliced watermelon radishes out of the deal.

Thanks, honey.

I’m a pretty lucky girl.

Butternut Squash Gratin

I’ve recently found myself in the unusual position of having both plenty of traditional fall veggies and lots of late-season tomatoes around my kitchen. I don’t remember getting such good tomatoes into November before, so I think it must be the product of the late, hot summer we had this year. So, I’ve been on the lookout for recipes that make good use of tomatoes with fall veggies, and butternut squash gratin certainly fits the bill. It’s pretty much the perfect marriage of summer and fall.


If you’re not as lucky as I am to have fresh tomatoes around (and I think I am now at the end of that particular bounty), you can always use pre-made sauce. I like to make my own basic tomato sauce at the end of summer and either can or freeze it — but that’s another story for another day!

Butternut Squash Gratin
original recipe from The Greens Cookbook, with my modifications

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp paprika
1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 butternut squash,* weighing 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
4 ounces Gruyére cheese, sliced

Heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and a little salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft. Add the wine and let it reduce by half. Add the paprika and the tomatoes. Cook slowly for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick. Season with the salt and pepper.

While the tomatoes are cooking, cut open the squash, scoop out the seeds and strings, and then, with the flat cut surface resting on the counter, shave off the skin.** Slice the peeled squash into large pieces about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Heat enough oil to generously coat the bottom of a large skillet, and fry the squash on both sides, so that it is just tender and a little golden brown. Remove it to paper towels to drain, and then season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Put a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce on the bottom of individual gratin dishes, or use it all to cover the bottom of one large dish. Lay the squash on top in overlapping layers, with slices of the cheese interspersed between the layers. Bake until the cheese is melted and the gratin is hot, about 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

*You could substitute pretty much any winter squash here.

**You can also cut the squash into pieces first and then cut the peel off each piece. It’s a little easier, but more time-consuming.

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