When I was younger squashes were for lugging to harvest festival or for hacking to bits at Halloween. Yet in recent years we have seen their popularity grow enourmously, in all different shapes, sizes and varieties, and now it’s to be eaten!
I’m sure the key to their growing success is their versatility. So here’s my favourite ways to squash!
1. Roast it!
I have yet to find a squash that isn’t perfection when cut into chunks, drizzled with rapeseed oil, seasoned and roasted in a hot oven for 45 minutes. It’s so soft and sweet, and deliciously crisped and caramelised at the edges. Perfect accompaniment to a roast dinner, with sausage and mash, in creamy pasta dishes, with rice or quinoa, or in a veggie quiche.
2. Souperise it!
There is little that tells you it’s autumn like a hearty squash soup. It’s filling and warming and carries those autumnal spices beautifully. I cut a squash into quarters, drizzle with rapeseed oil and season and roast in the oven until the flesh is soft. Then in a pan I sauté some onion and garlic, and scrape the squash flesh off of the skin and add to the pan with some veggie stock. I add warning spice like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, season and blend until smooth. You can add a little cream for a really indulgent soup. Perfect with some buttered allotment sour dough bread!
3. Add it to Risotto!
Its a great way to use less rice, or to make your meal go further. Peel and cut the squash into small dice and add with the rice. As the stock is added and the rice gets creamy and tender, so will the squash. It makes a lovely smooth and sweet risotto.
4. Add it to veggie chillis!
Adding a squash to your veggie chilli really pads the mixture out to makes it go further, and who doesn’t love leftover chilli? It also absorbs the flavour of the chilli really nicely, and adds a little sweetness. A definite winner for our family!
5. Bake with it!
You know I’m a baker at heart! Adding squash to baking was new to me when a customer asked if I could make them a pumpkin pie about 5 years ago. But the more familiar you get with using squash the more you discover it can do. Because it’s sweet you can reduce the amount of sugar that goes into a recipe, and like with the soup it carries those autumnal spices perfectly. I roast it until it’s soft and then mash it into a pulp. The pulp can be used in cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, muffins and more!
I have had loads of sucess with squashes, these are just my favourites! I’d love to hear your best squash recipes too so please get in touch. Happy squashing and happy autumn!