Fall squash is beautiful through and through! All of the variations of squash look like delicious decorations, with colors like green, yellow and orange that match the leaves of Fall and all sorts of shapes from short and round to small and flat and big and plump to long and slender. However, their real beauty lies on the inside. Inside, squash has a creamy texture and a luscious, nutty flavor with just a hint of sweetness. Plus, it's good for you!
Squash helps your body run smoothly. It's especially good if you are diabetic because it's packed with B-complex vitamins and fiber with pectin - both essential elements in regulating blood sugar. Squash also contains vitamin A which is great for eye and lung health and it helps strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Now you know why people have been growing and eating squash for so long!
Want a quick way to add squash to your meal? Here's an easy, simple side dish that can be served several ways. Cut any variety of hard-skinned squash in half, remove the seeds, add a bit of butter and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes or until it's fork-tender. (NOTE: Add about an inch of water to the pan to keep it moist.)
Once the squash is cooked, get creative. Dress it up with a tablespoon or two of honey; add a couple dashes of cinnamon; mash up with carrots or parsnips; stir in some orange juice. What you can do is limited only by your imagination! Don't forget to keep the seeds for a tasty snack full of protein, calcium and vitamins.
One of Harvest Home's favorite types of squash is Calabaza or West Indian Pumpkin. Below we paired it with the taste of the islands and brown rice. This dish will make your mouth water and your body happy and healthy. Enjoy!
Coconut & Calabaza Rice
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ lb calabaza (or butternut squash), cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
- ½ cup light coconut milk
- 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp pepper
- Rinse the rice, place in a bowl & cover with cold water. Swirl the rice with your hand & drain the water from the bowl. Repeat 2 - 3 times, or until the water runs clear. Drain well & set aside.
- In a medium pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion & garlic to the pot. Cook until the onions are translucent, 4 - 5 mins.
- Add the rice. Stir well to coat the grains in oil. Cook it for about 5 mins, until the grains begin to get toasted.
- Add the calabaza, chicken stock, coconut milk, salt & pepper.
- Bring to a boil & reduce heat slightly. Cook, uncovered, until small craters start to form on the surface of the rice, about 25 mins.
- Carefully stir in the chopped cilantro with a fork. Cover the pot & reduce heat to low. Cook for another 25 mins.
- Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork & let sit for 10 mins before serving. Makes 3 - 4 servings.
- Using a heavy knife, cut off ¼ inch at both ends.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
- Cube & add to stews or soups.
- Thick skinned squash will last up to 3 months if stored in a cool, dark place.
- Cut squash will last about a week in the fridge.
- Squash seeds make a delicious snack! Clean off squash "strings," then rinse & dry them.
- Mix 1 tbsp of olive oil & seasoning with the seeds.
- Roast the seeds on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 25 mins.
- Stir after 10 mins.
Seasoning Squash Seeds
- Savory Seeds
- ¼ tsp salt
- Dash of garlic salt
- 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
- Sweet Seeds
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp sugar
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