It truly is the most wonderful time of the year- and I’m not talking about Christmas…Everyone is unlocking their festive spirit, wearing cozy layers, and welcoming the idea of beautiful seasonal change! With the cold weather already here, many people are bringing out their crock pots, and comfort food recipes- Exciting! Even though pumpkin pie, and chili is a definite must have during the season- It’s also good to make some healthier options that still allow for some fun fall flavors.
Here is a list of 55 Healthy Seasonal Recipes that incorporate squash! You heard me people, 55. And you thought squash was just for decorating… think again!
This list includes everything imaginable from appetizers such as butternut squash bruschetta, to main course meals, salads, and of course desserts…
You might be thinking, well squash really isn’t my thing..I won’t like the taste of most of these recipes. TRY THEM! You would honestly be surprised at how easy and yummy these recipes are. Some recipes have a stronger squash presence, while others aren’t overwhelmingly strong with it’s taste. Personally, I love the Butternut Squash and kale Quesadillas with Cumin lime and yogurt Sauce or if you’re looking for an easy snack that isn’t saturated with fat- Honey Roasted Squash Seeds. Every year you dump all those juicy healthy seeds out after carving your pumpkins- this year save them and bake them! Every year my friend and I carve and save to make the most amazing seeds that last all season long. If you have kids it’s a fun way to shed light on a new vegetable that can be fun and yummy.
If the taste doesn’t persuade you enough to indulge- read on about the benefits fall harvest squashes can have for you and your family…
Low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. The folate content adds yet another boost to its heart-healthy reputation and helps guard against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects such as spina bifida.
Squash’s tangerine hue, however, indicates butternut’s most noteworthy health perk. The color signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. In particular, the gourd boasts very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A), identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns. What’s more, with only a 1-cup serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C.
As if this weren’t enough, butternut squash may have anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content. Incorporating more of this hearty winter staple into your diet could help reduce risk of inflammation-related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
How to Buy
Choose an unblemished fruit that feels heavy for its size with a matte, rather than glossy, skin. A shiny exterior indicates that the fruit was picked too early, and it won’t be as sweet as a fully grown squash. Most winter squash is available late into the fall. Store whole butternut squash in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) with plenty of ventilation; it should keep for up to three months. Cut squash will stay fresh for up to a week, wrapped, in the fridge.
Per 1 cup cooked, approximately 205 grams
Vitamin A:1,144 mcg = 163 percent* of DRI**
Vitamin B6:0.3 mg = 20 percent of DRI
Vitamin C:31 mg = 41 percent of DRI
Folate:39 mcg = 10 percent of DRI
Potassium:582 mg = 12 percent of DRI
* Percentages are for women 31 to 50 years old who are not pregnant
** DRI, Dietary Reference Intake, is based on National Academy of Sciences’ Dietary Reference Intakes, 1997 to 2004
Enjoy your festivities this Fall and try something new- I promise you’ll be happily surprised