When autumn arrives, it’s time for squash! There are many different sizes and types, and they each have their own subtleties in flavor. However, most of us stick with the same few types; growing up, we always had acorn squash, split in half and roasted, then all we had to do was scoop out the delicious golden insides. However, squash does have a couple problem areas, which I think prevents it from being eaten more often. First, it can be hard to handle. Peeling a butternut squash can be a difficult, and even dangerous task, and even just splitting a squash in half takes a sharp knife and a bit of muscle. Second, it can take a while to roast in the oven, which many people just don’t have enough time for.
Well, I have a new favorite squash that resolves both of these issues…the Delicata Squash! I found it at the Madison Farmer’s Market, but now that I’m looking for it, I can usually find it in any grocery store, mixed in with all the other squash. I chatted with the person at the stand, which is always enlightening, and they recommended it for its butternut-like flavor, and for the fact you can eat the skin! Well, I just had to give it a try!
- I roast my veggies at 425-450 degrees, and used 425 for this recipe.
- I sliced off the ends, split in half, and easily scooped out the seeds with a spoon. Right away, you could see how much easier it is to slice than most squash.
- I sliced the halves into half moons. Remember, because you can eat the peel, you don’t have to take the time to remove it!
- To prepare, I just sprayed a pan with cooking spray, and sprayed the squash, too. You can use oil, but that tends to make the squash very soft, and I was hoping to have this squash hold its form.
- Most squash is flavored with sweet spices, which I love, but it can tend to add sugar, and therefore calories. I was looking for a more savory flavor profile, so I sprinkled mine with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and chipotle powder for smokiness and a little spice. (The spice options are almost limitless!)
- Because the slices are smaller than a half of a squash would be, it cooks faster. So depending on your oven, the temp you choose, and how brown and soft you want your squash, they are ready in 30 minutes or less!
If there are any leftovers, though the size of the squash gives a great amount for 2-4 people, it reheats very well. Nutritionally, it has vitamins A and C, and is a filling, fat-free side dish for only about 20 calories for 1/2 cup. Finally, because it can be for weeks to months, its easy to keep a few on hand!
For those who like squash but are intimidated by the time and effort it can take, try the Delicata variety…and always chat up your farmers market vendors for tips!