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Beat the winter blahs with winter squash recipes

Alexandra Greeley is a passionate foodie whose kitchen career has included a stint as food editor of Vegetarian Times magazine, where she learned a whole new culinary discipline.

Beat the blahs

Dropping fall leaves and fall temperatures certainly curtail the appeal of delicate summer salads and barely there grilled entrees. If you haven't already figured it out, fall (and winter) weather adds up to heartier fare like steaming stews and sturdy veggies. Among fall's veggie delights is yet another healthy and delicious gift from Mother Nature: winter squash. Read on for three wow-worthy winter squash recipes to serve on those gray days when the cold weather blahs won't seem to go away.

Satisfying winter squash recipes

Southwestern Squash Quesadillas

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups cubed acorn or butternut squash
6 ounces soy chorizo "sausage"
1/2 cup mild or hot taco sauce
1/4 cup Mexican beer, or more as needed
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar or jalapeno Jack cheese
6 whole wheat tortillas
Snipped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish, optional

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add the squash, chorizo "sausage," and taco sauce. Saute the mixture for about 5 minutes, add the beer and cumin seeds, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the skillet.

2. Meanwhile, ready the tortillas, covering each with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. After about 20 minutes, or when the squash feels tender, melt the cheese on each tortilla in a skillet. Spoon a portion of the squash mixture on one-half of the tortilla, and fold the other half over. Garnish, if desired. Enjoy!

Squash Over Pasta

Serves 4

4 cups cubed winter squash, roasted
1 (15.5-ounce) can artichoke quarters, drained
2 cups or more tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 cups cooked pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Snipped fresh basil leaves for garnish

Heat the squash, artichoke quarters, tomato sauce and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat. Spoon 1/2 cup cooked pasta into a large bowl, and top with a portion of the squash mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garnish with basil, and serve.

Honeyed Squash

Serves 4

Squash for dessert? Why not, for its naturally delicate sweetness makes a good foil for cinnamon, honey and plain or flavored yogurt. Snips of fresh mint grace the dish and underscore these "wow" flavors.

4 cups cubed winter squash, roasted
Cinnamon to taste
Honey to taste
Yogurt as desired
Snipped mint for garnish

Simply dish out the squash, sprinkle with cinnamon, drizzle with honey, top with yogurt, and garnish with mint.

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