Pumpkin is a winter squash, but there are many reasons to branch out and discover new varieties.
Unlike summer squash such as zucchini, winter squash have hard skins, and most varieties store well in a cool area. Some will last months if stored carefully. They have a firm texture that bakes well. Some winter squash have a definite sweetness to them, such as sweetmeat and butternut. Some have light-colored interiors, and others are dark. There are many good ways to cook with winter squash, and I encourage you to not only try different varieties but try different recipes as well.
Winter squash is full of important nutrients.
The orange varieties especially are full of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A.
In addition, it is
- A good source of vitamin C
- full of fiber
- a healthy source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
- A good source of polysaccharides that help regulate and control blood sugar.
Winter Squash and Mixed Rice
- 3 cups peeled and diced butternut, sweetmeat, or other orange winter squash
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 t tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup mixed rice- brown, white, wild and red
- 1 Tbsp. finely diced onion
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 tsp EACH: red pepper flakes, cumin, coriander and salt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped microgreens
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, and seasonings.
- Add the squash and mix well.
- Roast on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, just until tender- the squash should be firm, not mushy. Stir the squash after about 8 minutes.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool
- Cook the rice according to package directions.
- While the rice is cooking, saute the onion in oil for 3 minutes until soft and translucent, but not browned. Add the cranberries and seasonings and stir for 2 minutes, until the cranberries soften.
- Remove from heat
- When the rice is done, mix the rice with the onion mixture. Add the microgreens and stir well.
- Serve the Squash on top of the rice, or mix together. Good warm or at room temperature.