Squash is an amazingly versatile veggie. Although seasonality doesn't affect most people's diets nearly as much as it used to, some foods are better suited to certain seasons. Hearty stews and hot drinks call winter to mind, while barbecue just screams summer. Squash, on the other hand, has all of its bases covered, with varieties that capture the spirit of any season.
Some people may be turned off by squash, since its tough outer layer makes cooking with it a bit tricky. Under that tough exterior, however, lies a treat for anyone willing to put in the work of preparing it. Another appealing aspect to squash is that it can be grown in a home garden, meaning it can be grown, cooked and enjoyed all from your senior living community.
1. Spaghetti squash
Pasta is a dish that's easy to prepare and hard to resist, but unfortunately it also comes with a load of carbohydrates and calories. Spaghetti squash is a good alternative for seniors who want to pack on the flavor, but not the pounds. This recipe calls for almonds to add flavor while keeping with the autumnal theme, but anything you normally put on pasta can be added as well.
- 1 3-lb. spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
- 1 carrot, diced
- 3 Tbsp. virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, kosher salt and black pepper
- 4 scallions or 2 celery stalks, diced
- Red pepper flakes
Place seeded squash halves on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Roast in oven preheated to 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. For last 8 minutes, toast almonds on a separate baking sheet. Cook carrot, garlic and celery (if used) in a skillet until tender. Stir together honey, cumin, lime juice, salt, pepper and cumin in a small bowl. Scrape strands of squash into a bowl, and top with honey mixture, almonds and vegetables. If desired, add scallions. The directions for roasting spaghetti squash can be used for the butternut squash used in the next two recipes.
2. Butternut squash pancakes
These pancakes can be a great way to start your day with a healthy and delicious meal. Not only do these pancakes cut out the added sugar that traditional recipes call for, they replace it with healthy ingredients such as cinnamon and fruit.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup butternut squash, roasted and mashed
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup berries (optional)
Sift together cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking power and salt. Whisk together eggs, squash, milk and vanilla extract, then stir into dry mixture. Add berries, if desired. Heat vegetable oil on skillet, cook 1/4 cup batter per pancake. Butternut squash pancakes can be topped with syrup or fresh fruit, just like traditional pancakes.
3. Curried butternut squash soup
This soup can hit the spot any time of the year, but in the colder seasons, this spicy recipe fits especially well.
- 2 1/2 pounds roasted butternut squash
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Heat vegetable oil in a large pot, add onions and sautee. Stir in curry powder, cumin and red pepper flakes. Add squash, broth, water and apples. Bring liquid to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool, then puree in small batches in blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste.