Winter squash like acorn, delicata, butternut, and pumpkin are some of my favorite vegetables so plentiful this time of year so I try to incorporate them in as many different recipes as I can throughout the fall and winter months.
With only about 80 calories per cup, orange vegetables like winter squash are nutrient-dense, meaning they have a relatively low number of calories in comparison to all of the wonderful nutrients they posses. They contain over a dozen carotenoid phytonutrients like alpha- and beta-carotene which are converted into an active form of vitamin A and function as powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents throughout the body. As a rich source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, they slow the absorption of sugar into the digestive tract keeping you satisfied between meals so they are perfect additions for crowding out grains or refined carbohydrates in your diet, especially during the holidays!
Check out some of my winter squash recipes and substitutions:
Besides almond butter, I like cashew butter or peanut butter with this and I always use a variety of warming spices to complement the squash. My favorite spices to have with squash are cinnamon, cardamom, clove, allspice, and turmeric.
Simply roasting a batch of cubed squash with other seasonal produce like Brussels sprouts to serve as a side dish, or adding sliced roasted delicata to a salad like this recipe from Cookie + Kate. can make for super quick and easy weeknight meal.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s the perfect time to showcase some favorite vegetable sides that might even outshine the central protein (can you tell I’m not a huge fan of turkey?). This year I decided to make a vegan squash casserole from Eating Well that I stumbled upon but of course I decided to sub out several ingredients to better fit the holiday. I started with sauteed onions, fennel and garlic, then decided to also add in mushrooms and celery. I used only 1/4 cup quinoa, added chopped tomatoes and the Mexican spices as listed in the recipe, but used dried cranberries instead of raisins, kale instead of spinach, and added fresh parsley instead of cilantro (some people are so touchy about cilantro, I don’t get it). I used mashed butternut for the topping but regular mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, mashed cauliflower, or other varieties of squash would work well here.
It turned out great and I ended up freezing half the batch to use later for a quick Meatless Monday dinner.
I found this Healthy Four Ingredient Flourless Apple Pie Blondie recipe from The Big Mans World and used a blend of apple sauce and pumpkin and only 2 tbsp. maple syrup.
Instead of the “crust” listed in the recipe, I blended 1 tbsp melted Kerrygold butter, 1 tbsp. coconut sugar, and 1/4 cup of oats to create a crumble topping. YUM!
My grain-free pumpkin chocolate cookies are always a hit this time of year and super easy to make for your next holiday party!
- 2½ c. almond flour (or hazelnut flour)
- 2 tbsp. coconut flour
- ½ c. unsweetened dark chocolate, cut into chunks
- 1½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. each of ginger, nutmeg, and baking soda
- ¼ tsp. cardamom
- dash of sea salt
- ¼ c. maple syrup
- ½ c. pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Mix ingredients in a large bowl and scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 18 minutes at 350 degrees and let cool completely before serving.
Do you have any favorite winter squash recipes? I would love to hear about them!