The very best winter squash recipes reject the candy and kick up the warmth

The Washington Post


The primary time I tasted a winter squash, naturally it was butternut. I used to be at a restaurant, and the menu merchandise that intimidated me least was a ravioli crammed with butternut squash and goat cheese. Not but an adventurous eater, I had by no means tasted both. The type server defined that butternut squash tastes like candy potatoes and goat cheese is like fancier cream cheese. As I recall, the sauce was primarily melted butter. There have been additionally seemingly fried sage leaves on the scene. This was the ’90s. I declared these ravioli the most effective factor I’d ever eaten.

So you may think about how excited I used to be some time later, when a buddy {and professional} chef supplied to make us squash and goat cheese ravioli for dinner one crisp autumn night time. Issues had been going nice: The filling had the wealthy, savory, balanced high quality I keep in mind from my introduction to squash at that restaurant. He substituted wonton wrappers for selfmade pasta to type the ravioli, a shortcut I exploit to this present day.

Sadly, all of it went very incorrect when he drizzled the sauce, a maple “gastrique,” everywhere in the just-boiled ravioli. I tasted one and thought: ruined. I may have melted a stick of butter to pour over these, and we might have had a greater dinner.

It ought to be towards the legislation to mix already-plenty-sweet winter squash with apples, maple syrup, brown sugar, figs, honey or raisins. I’ve learn many recipes for squash that decision for a couple of of those after which throw in cinnamon or one other pumpkin pie spice, leading to … dessert. These cloyingly candy recipes work towards every thing that makes nice cooking: complexity, distinction, steadiness and depth.

Thai eating places lit the best way for me on the subject of cooking winter squash. Each time I spy pumpkin or squash curry on a Thai menu, I order it. A chile-kicked, herbaceous, coconut-rich bathtub enhances tender winter squash the best way sticky-sweet substances can not, making the vegetable strong and meaty.

After the disappointing, one-dimensional butternut squash soups I made by following typical recipes, I began to go the alternative manner, all the time marrying cold-weather squash with daring and spicy substances to offset their mellow sweetness and produce out their savory aspect.

Whereas I’m not a vegetarian, I do follow a largely plant-based weight loss program. And I’m all the time in search of methods to displace at the least some meat with greens. So it wasn’t a lot of a stretch for me so as to add cubed butternut squash, together with pinto beans, to floor turkey for a warming fall supper. Chili powder, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, cumin and floor black pepper mix for a warmth that doesn’t singe. I make that spicy paste within the blender with a secret ingredient: uncooked cashews. They lend the mouth-filling richness you anticipate in chili that often comes from beef.

Nuts function in all three of those stunning squash recipes for that purpose. Whereas there’s something decadent in regards to the melting texture of cooked winter squash, it wants a good quantity of fats to attain its true potential.

I additionally use cashews in my delicata squash nachos, which till now has been a recipe I’ve restricted to my very own solo lunches. The primary time I threw it collectively, I used to be dying for nachos however missing tortilla chips. What if I roast delicata squash slices and lay on the nacho works? I topped the squash semicircles with black beans, onions, crimson peppers and pickled jalapeños. When the greens had been tender, I rained grated cheese over the sheet pan and ran it below the broiler till it bubbled on the edges in that seductive nacho manner. I nonetheless endorse this variation and even purchased pepper jack for recipe-testing functions.

However in the long run, I made a decision to share the recipe the best way I make it now: topped with a cashew-based vegan nacho cheese. Including a little bit of the liquid from a jar of pickled jalapeños makes this sauce harking back to what you get out of a pump-operated canister on the ballpark. However in a great way.

I hesitated making these for my husband, Dan, as a result of I knew he’d reject the notion of nachos that require a knife and fork, which these do. The utensils could also be opposite to the spirit of nachos, however the taste is true to them. After delicate protest, Dan ate two helpings and took the leftovers for lunch the subsequent day.

I’m positive you might nacho different kinds of squash, however I wouldn’t know. I make this dish so usually for the weeks that delicata is in season that when it disappears, I’m all set with this dish for one more yr.

Lastly, there’s peanut and kabocha squash stew. Like Thai curries, it is a dish that makes apparent the prevalence of spicy warmth over sticky syrups on the subject of squash. I used to be first impressed to make these form of peanut butter-enriched stews when Carla Corridor whipped up one with candy potatoes on “Prime Chef” in 2010. Kabocha squash works completely rather than the standard candy potatoes right here. It’s the bare warmth of dried crimson peppers and a end of contemporary jalapeño paste — as a lot as you dare — that makes this stew highly effective sufficient to show you off brown sugar glazes ceaselessly.


1 cup low-sodium hen broth

1/Four cup uncooked cashews

1 chipotle chile in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound floor turkey

2 cups diced butternut squash (about 10 ounces, from a 1 1/2-pound squash)

2 medium onions, reduce into small cube (2 cups)

Three cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon floor cumin

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/Four teaspoon floor cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

One 15-ounce can pinto beans, ideally no-salt-added, drained and rinsed

One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices

1/Four cup cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish

Lime wedges, for serving


Step 1

Mix the broth, cashews, chipotle and its adobo sauce and the chili powder in a blender; puree till clean.

Step 2

Warmth the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high warmth; as soon as the oil shimmers, add the bottom turkey and cook dinner for about 10 minutes, stirring to interrupt up any massive clumps. The meat ought to be cooked by way of, with no hint of pink.

Step 3

Scale back the warmth to medium; add the squash, onions, garlic, cumin, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt. Cook dinner for about 5 minutes, till the onions have softened.

Step 4

Add the cashew puree, pinto beans and the diced tomatoes and their juices, stirring to include. Improve the warmth to excessive simply lengthy sufficient to carry to a boil, then scale back warmth to medium or medium-low — simply sufficient to take care of regular bubbles on the edges. Partially cowl and cook dinner for 35 minutes, till the squash is kind of tender. Uncover and stir within the cilantro.

Step 5

Serve scorching, with extra cilantro and the lime wedges.

Tailored from a recipe by meals author and cookbook creator Pleasure Manning. 

Examined by Kara Elder; e-mail inquiries to [email protected].

Scale and get a printer-friendly model of the recipe right here.

Did you make this recipe? Take a photograph and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.


Energy: 290; Whole Fats: 12 g; Saturated Fats: 2 g; Ldl cholesterol: 50 mg; Sodium: 450 mg; Carbohydrates: 26 g; Dietary Fiber: 7 g; Sugars: 6 g; Protein: 21 g.

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