10 Healthy, Easy Ways to Cook Squash of All Sorts

By , Bryn Mooth
Squash is one of those vegetable categories that spans a whole range of colors, flavors, shapes, textures and growing seasons. From acorn squash to zucchini, this veggie family has it all, including nutrients, fiber and fewer than 75 calories per serving.
 
Summer varieties (like zucchini and yellow squash) are nutritious, with antioxidants and carotenoids; they’re ideal for sautéing. (Try: 10 New Uses for Zucchini)
 
Hard-skinned winter squashes (acorn, butternut, pumpkin) are packed with antioxidants and vitamin A and roast beautifully. And spaghetti squash makes a delightfully different (and super low-cal) substitute for pasta.
 
 

 

Basic Roasted Squash

Cut a butternut squash horizontally just above the bulbous end, then peel. Halve each section lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and dice into chunks. Toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper; roast at 450 degrees for 20–30 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

 

Baked Acorn Squash

Halve an acorn squash lengthwise (careful: the skin is hard), then scoop out the seeds. Into the cavities, add a bit of butter, salt, pepper and chopped fresh thyme or rosemary; drizzle olive oil.
 

 

Whole Wheat Couscous with Squash and Spinach

This great-for-you recipe from Chef Meg is packed with two servings of veggies per portion. Use whole-wheat Israeli couscous (also called pearl pasta) for interesting texture, or substitute regular fine-grain couscous.

 

 

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Sweet, fully flavored butternut squash gets mashed and stirred into a lower-fat macaroni and cheese casserole. The squash lightens the calories and heft of the dish without sacrificing any flavor. This dish is a must-try for cheese lovers.

 

 

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash

This hearty salad would make a great side-dish with grilled pork or roasted chicken. As a main course for lunch (easily made ahead and packed in a lidded container), it features filling whole-grains and vitamin-rich squash to keep you satisfied through the afternoon.
Photo courtesy of writes4food.com
 

 

Squash and Arugula Salad

Peel, seed and finely dice a butternut squash; steam just until it begins to soften, then cool. Toss diced squash with baby arugula, your favorite Dijon vinaigrette and a few crumbles of blue cheese.
 

 

Roasted Squash Soup

With a zing of orange juice and a topping of orange zest, spicy serrano chili, cilantro and coconut, this dairy-free recipe is a great variation on the classic roasted butternut squash soup.
Try one of these variations:
 

 

Stuffed Squash

Halve an acorn or butternut squash and remove the seeds; roast at 400 degrees for about an hour, until the squash is soft when pierced with a knife. Season the insides with salt and pepper, then fill with your favorite wild-rice or bread stuffing. Return stuffed squash to the oven to warm the filling for a few minutes. (You can also hollow out a patty-pan squash and stuff, as shown in the main image.)
 

 

Stuffed Zucchini

This easy main-dish recipe pairs halved zucchini with a stuffing of Italian sausage, marinara sauce and bread crumbs.
 
 

 

Pizza with Roasted Squash

Top a pizza crust with roasted cubes of butternut squash, zucchini and red onion. Add dollops of low-fat ricotta cheese and freshly grated Parmesan and bake until the crust is brown and cheese is bubbly. Get the recipe.
Photo courtesy of writes4food.com

What is your favorite way to prepare squash? Which varietal is tops, in your opinion?


 
 
Bryn Mooth is extending her 20-year career in publishing as an independent journalist and copywriter. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog writes4food.com.
 

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Comments

KOALA_BEAR 8/23/2019
I grew up eating acorn squash baked w/ butter, brown sugar & cinnamon, some ppl like a bit of nutmeg too but I hate that spice. Butternut was served with bacon or crumbled pork sausage roasted in it. It can be peeled & sliced then sauteed w/ apple slices. Now I eat spaghetti squash w/ marinara or pesto sauce. Also tried some yellow & patty pan steamed as a plain side dish. Have made pumpkin soup w/ chicken broth but the recipe needs work for the right seasonings & maybe apple cider or coconut milk added (I was trying for dairy free. ) likely have more knowledge & resources to experiment these days.
Sorry for multiple posts, my keyboard keeps freezing & acting up. Report
KOALA_BEAR 8/23/2019
I grew up eating acorn squash baked w/ butter, brown sugar & cinnamon, some ppl like a bit of nutmeg too but I hate that spice. Butternut was served with bacon or crumbled pork sausage roasted in it. It can be peeled & sliced then sauteed w/ apple slices. Now I eat spaghetti squash w/ marinara or pesto sauce. Also tried some yellow & patty pan steamed as a plain side dish. Have made pumpkin soup w/ chicken broth but the recipe needs work for the right seasonings & maybe apple cider or coconut milk added (I was trying for dairy free. ) likely have more knowledge & resources to experiment Report
KOALA_BEAR 8/23/2019
I grew up eating acorn squash baked w/ butter, brown sugar & cinnamon, some ppl like a bit of nutmeg too but I hate that spice. Butternut was served with bacon or pork sausage Report
EVILCECIL 8/11/2019
Nice Report
FISHGUT3 8/1/2019
thanks Report
NIGHTGLOW 5/31/2019
Really appreciate this article as well as the helpful tips in the comments! Can't wait to try microwaving squash for a few minutes to get them cut. Report
PROVERBS31JULIA 4/11/2019
I’ve found my Instant Pot a great way to quickly cook up squashes and yams or sweet potatoes etc to have ready for various recipes calling for cooked squash. Report
DEE107 12/16/2018
thanks for sharing Report
BABY_GIRL69 11/27/2018
All the recipes look scrumptious but I don't know about squash, I guess I am going to have to venture out of my comfy zone. Report
ALILDUCKLING
My hubby, who is not a vegetable lover has found that he really likes grated zucchini in a stirfry that he makes regularly. I have found that I even like raw or very quickly "seared" squash in sandwiches - yellow or zucchini. Other ideas here are great. Report
Great recipes. I love squash, all varieties. Report
YUM, can't wait to try a few of these. I have an acorn wow ready to be used, will be stuffing that baby this weekend !!!! Report
Love zucchini, but the hard squash that tastes sweet churns my tummy so badly, so I can’t handle it. And so many recipes need to add bacon because they try to make the squash palatable, which is very telling..... Report
Super excited to try some of these recipes Report
RAPUNZEL53
Thanks. Report
Where's the recipe to go with the patty pan squash photo featured on the "cover"? I have some that I picked up at the farmers' market and am looking for ideas.
Report
If love is the answer,
could you please rephrase the question.
- Lily Tomlin Report
Love all the recipes! Report
I can't wait to try some of these. Report
Great ideas. Thanks Report
We grow several types of squash but our favorite is spaghetti squash because my hubby is diabetic and cannot eat pasta in the evenings. With spaghetti squash he can eat large quatiites and not have it affect his blood sugar. We have over 100 and they will keep in the basement for a good part of winter. Report
Love baked acorn squash with apple and pecan in the winter. Report
I like the selection of recipes here and I like squash. We like butternut roasted with peel on and olive oil and seasonings. We got the recipe from Allrecipes online. I also love acorn squash too. Report
GKNIGHT69
Great article! Loved the ideas! Report
I cannot be in the same room with any squash except zucchini, it makes me sick, but I do like that one squash. Report
I love squash. Report
COASTERB
going to try a couple of these Report
4LMHJCR
I first tried spaghetti squash about a year ago and really do enjoy that. Our local farmers market just opened up last week and I know that they will be carrying a few different types of squash soon and was going to look for some ideas to try out one of the other squashes that they sell. Definitely will saving this article. Report
I love squash. Thanks for the tips Report
great ideas Report
great ideas! Report
Learning to love squash. So far zucchini and yellow but want to try the others. Report
SUNDEVILS1
I love kabocha, which is a Japanese pumpkin, and common when making veggie tempura. I also cook spaghetti squash in the microwave. I just add some butter and pepper after scooping out the strands. Quick and easy. Report
we have a spicy squash soup at work that is one of my favorites to have. I add fresh spinach and it is a wonderful dinner. Report
Butternut squash, diced and roasted, NOT peeled!! Report
We like it fairly plain, why the constant need to change squash, and usually ruin it, quite frankly. Report
Just roast it and eat it. I love squash plain! Report
My Favorite way to prepare squash is to chop it up and just eat it. Or put it in a vegetable soup. I would like to try the squash soup. Report
Hard shell squash (like acorn) are much easier to cut if you first jab them with a knife (for steam escape I guess) then microwave them for a few minutes. You can then halve, season (or stuff) and bake. My grandma used to do a whole autumn meal in the oven: meatloaf, baked potato, acorn squash and baked apples. Heaven! Report
JM_PUBLIC
May favorite squash is delicata, though it is generally hard to find. My next favorite is zucchini. I'll be trying some of the recipes for butternut squash.. Report
SPLIX71
Six ounces of butternut squash mashed with two tablespoons of nonfat Greek yogurt and a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese tastes super-decadent and delicious. Report
My faourite is gem squash they are really versatile as they can be used as a summer veg when young or stored for autumn / winter use when ripe
I grow them myself and can grow more squashes than I need from just 2 or 3 plants
Cooking is easy, just prick the shell all over and boil in a pan of water for 15 to 20 mins. The shell becomes soft and you can cut in half, scoop out the seeds and either servr in the shells or scoop out the flesh Report
We never had squash when I was growing up. I decided to try it when starting my "get healthier" plan. I love zucchini grilled, steamed or roasted. I use spaghetti instead of pasta and have now discovered how sweet and tasty acorn squash is just cooked in microwave. I also found butternut mango smoothies at a local coffee house that are good and not too many calories when used as a meal replacement. The unfortunate thing about some squash is that getting inside of them can be challenging. Report
My favorites are butternut squash soup and squash pie! Report
GMAGEE
My family never ate squash when I was growing up (lots of different veggies, just NOT squash - except for pumpkin) and I would pick the zucchini bits out of minestrone if I saw them. Now, my husband and I joke because "HE MADE ME A SQUASH-EATER!" Thanks to him, I eat all kinds of squash and love it. A favorite new recipe is roasted butternut squash mixed with walnuts, bacon, garlic, white wine and seasonings served over spaghetti. Delish! Thanks for sharing these other recipes. Report
LITTLEPITCHER
Yellow squash sauteed with red pepper and ham; zucchini sauteed with Goya's Sabor de Jamon, a ham bouillon. Butternut squash or pumpkin boiled in beef broth with green bell pepper, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and black pepper. Tiny sugar pumpkins or Hubbards baked with curry powder, butter, and sweetener. Report
With squash as with sweet potatoes or yams I like to just bake them in the oven, scoop the insides out mash them add a little salt and pepper and there ya go. Report
I love squash--some of these look so very good. Report
I really HATE squash! The things I do for SP points! Report