Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Monday, November 4, 2013

'Tis The Season For Squash

Monday, November 4, 2013 | 10:26 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments
As we enter the colder months of fall and winter, squash of many different shapes, sizes and colors are appearing in grocery stores and farmers markets. These nutritious, delicious and colorful seasonal wonders are known as winter squash. Winter squash are low in calories and fat and contain no cholesterol while being loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber. Squash is also low in carbohydrates. Many of these varieties are loaded with vitamin A, which is essential for immune function, vision, cell growth and the maintenance of many of our bodies organs including the heart, lungs and kidneys. Seeds are edible as well providing protein, healthy fats and dietary fiber and taste great when roasted.

Eating these foods seasonally also benefit our bodies as well as the environment. Because they are in season they have been picked at their peak and are fully ripe and loaded with nutrients. Vegetables that are not in season are picked earlier to ripen during its travel in shipment. Vegetables that are in season are usually local and do not have to travel as far making a much smaller carbon footprint while supporting local farms. Winter squash all have different textures and flavors and are all worth giving a try this season.

Butternut Squash
This squash has a bright orange flesh that is dry and sweet.

Acorn Squash
This squash has a golden yellow flesh that is moist and nutty in flavor with a hint of sweetness.

Buttercup Squash
This squash has a dark orange/reddish flesh that is dry and very sweet.

Turban Squash
This squash has a moist flesh that is not very sweet at all.

Hubbard Squash
This squash has a deep golden yellow flesh and is very rich in flavor.

Spaghetti Squash
This squash has creamy white flesh that is very fibrous and not sweet. It can be eaten just as its name implies, like spaghetti with your favorite sauce on top. Below is a great recipe for this delicious squash.

Creamy Avocado Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 35-45 mins

Ingredients
  • One 4-5 pound spaghetti squash, halved and seeds scooped out
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • Water, to thin out (I use around 2-3 tbsp water)
  • Fine grain sea salt, to taste (I use between 1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • Black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Wash spaghetti squash and place on an old tea towel (this helps prevent it from slipping) or cutting board. Slice off stem, flip cut side down, and then carefully slice it in half, lengthwise. Remove seeds + squash guts and set aside.
  2. Brush the cut-sides with oil and then season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. Squash is ready when the strands scrape off with a fork fairly easily. My 5 pound squash took 40 mins.
  3. Meanwhile, make the avocado sauce. Add the garlic and basil to a food processor and mince. Now, add in the lemon juice and olive oil and stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Slice avocado in half and pit. Scoop out the flesh and drop it into the processor with the motor running. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, to thin out the sauce as needed. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and process again. Feel free to add more lemon or oil, adjusting to taste, if desired.
  5. When the squash is ready, flip over and allow to cool slightly so it's safe to handle. Grab a fork and scrape off strands of squash until you have two empty "shells." Place strands onto a plate (or just serve in the shells), season with salt & pepper, and top with the avocado sauce. Sauce will keep for 1 day in the fridge in an air-tight container.

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Post written by Meghann Jurkowski, a graduate student of nutritionist Christine Clark in the MS in Applied Nutrition program through the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University.

Nutritionist Christine Clark works with Dining Services to provide you with tips and techniques to stay healthy during your time at Northeastern. If you have any further questions about this topic or are looking for more information about any other nutrition or diet topic, such as food allergies or sports nutrition, please contact her at christine.clark2@compass-usa.com or call UHCS at 617-373-2772 for an appointment.

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