The pumpkin craze is alive and well. From pumpkin spice latte to… well, pretty much pumpkin spice anything. You can’t cross a Target aisle without tripping over products featuring everyone’s favorite fall treat. But what if you’re not a fan of pumpkin? Or you’re just tired of the trend and ready to try something new this fall? Consider a unique experience this season by seeking a few pumpkin alternatives.
Try a Pumpkin Alternative
Winter squash is making a comeback. While most varieties of winter squash have ridden the fall season wave under the radar for some time, this year more and more people are exploring these hearty pumpkin alternatives. Replacing pumpkin with other types of squash (such as butternut or kabocha) or even sweet potato is a simple way to enjoy fall favorites with a twist.
Squash Favorites to Get You Started
This sweet, nutty squash is an excellent source of fiber and Vitamin C. It is also extraordinarily versatile and can be roasted, sauteed or mashed. You can also puree and use for soups, muffins, pancakes or bread.
This yellow-skinned winter squash has a unique flesh that when cooked becomes spaghetti-like strands, making it a great alternative to grain-based pastas. Rich in folic acid, potassium and Vitamin A, spaghetti squash can be baked, boiled, microwaved or steamed.
Dark Green on the outside with yellowish-orange flesh, this squash is a good source of fiber and potassium. It is best baked or sauteed and is often stuffed with a rice or meat mixture.
This elongated squash (hence its name) can have a mixture of pink, blue, yellow and orange skin and bright orange center. Earthy and rich in Vitamin A and C, it is often added to soups, stews, and chili.
This pumpkin-shaped squash with its unique mix of yellow, orange and or green rind and pale flesh is similar in flavor to the butternut squash. Whether you roast, sauté, boil or steam, this fall vegetable is nutrient dense.
Two of My Favorite Squash Recipes:
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch spinach (approx. 4 cups), washed, trimmed and drained
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup white balsamic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F
In a medium bowl combine squash, oil, and salt and toss thoroughly to coat.
Arrange the squash on a baking dish and roast for 30-35 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned.
In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper and set aside.
Combine the spinach, cherries, almonds and slightly cooled squash in a large bowl. Divide among 4 plates, drizzle with dressing and serve.
Makes 4 servings
Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Herbs
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium tomato
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 375°.
Pierce the squash in several places with a fork. Microwave whole squash on high for 10 minutes.
Place whole squash on glass baking sheet and roast for 1 hour or until tender.
Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes, cut in half lengthwise and scrape the insides with a fork to remove the long strands of flesh. Transfer to a bowl.
In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute. Turn off heat and add spaghetti squash, basil, oregano, and salt. Gently combine ingredients.
Divide between two bowls and top with pine nuts and cheese and salt and pepper to taste.