In Season: Acorn Squash

By Matthew Kadey, RD

Luminous golden-orange flesh, nutty flavor, and manageable size make acorn squash a perennial winter favorite. Actually a fruit thanks to its seeds, this gourd delivers magnesium, vitamins C and B6, and blood pressure–lowering potassium with few calories. And you can’t beat acorn’s levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant the body converts to immunity-boosting vitamin A. Find versatile acorn squash year-round, but it’s sweetest through the winter.

Squash Stuffed With Quinoa and Cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve 1 acorn squash; remove seeds; and rub skin and brush edge with oil. Bake cut-side down until flesh is tender, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water and 1/2 cup quinoa to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until water has absorbed. Stir in 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup pecans, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Stuff quinoa mixture into squash halves, and bake for 10 minutes.

Citrus Squash Hummus
Steam or roast 1 halved acorn squash until very tender. Cut pulp away from skin and add to a blender or food processor along with 1/4 cup tahini, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/8 teaspoon paprika, juice from 1/2 lemon, 1 teaspoon orange zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

Soba Noodles With Squash and Tofu
Bake 1 halved, seeded squash until tender. Meanwhile, cook 1/2 pound soba noodles according to package directions. Cut 1 block of firm tofu into bite-size pieces, and sauté over medium heat with 1/2 medium onion, 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, and 1 tablespoon each sesame seeds and Chinese five-spice powder. Cook, stirring regularly, for 4 minutes. Chop squash into cubes, and cut flesh away from skin. Toss together squash, tofu mixture, and noodles.