Got a lot of winter squash, and need to find new ways to use it? If you put in lots of time and energy in your flower beds and garden plots, you’re probably familiar with the blessing that is finding ways to use all the produce your hobby—well, produces. Using your veggies before they go bad is a challenge so common it’s become a gardening stereotype. We’ve all seen the cartoons and heard the jokes about those of us with green thumbs leaving boxes of zucchini on neighbors’ porches or sneaking peppers into a friend’s handbag or coworker’s briefcase. (Hey, what’s the difference between summer squash and winter squash, anyway?)
Although all gardeners work toward a bountiful harvest, sometimes it can be a struggle to eat everything we grow without getting bored. No one wants to choke down their tenth bowl of the same dish just to make sure those veggies get used before they rot. But never fear—Gardening Channel is here to help you find new and exciting ways to make the most of your latest bumper crop. In this article, we’ll focus on all the things you can do with your homegrown winter squash. Whether you grow acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha, pumpkin, or another variety, look no further than these handy ideas for dishes that will elicit moans of gastronomical pleasure instead of groans of boredom.
Make Winter Squash Ravioli Easy with Wonton Wrappers
You may have had butternut squash ravioli with a brown-butter sage sauce in a restaurant or purchased a serving or two from your grocer’s prepared foods section. Unless you’re one of those culinary artists who’s experienced enough to think making fresh pasta is a breeze, though, you’ve probably categorized ravioli as fancy fare—not a dish you can make at home in your kitchen. However, simply switching out the fresh pasta dough for wonton wrappers (which you can find ready-made at most grocery stores in the refrigerated section) turns winter squash ravioli into a dinner quick enough for a weeknight.
Best of all, you can pore over all those fancy ravioli recipes to find the filling that sounds most enticing to you with the knowledge that your wonton-wrapper version will be much easier than following the instructions the recipe calls for. Simply nab the filling directions from your favorite recipe, and then follow the simple steps in this how-to from allrecipes.com to make your own wonton wrapper winter squash ravioli.
Oh, and don’t feel restricted to only those filling recipes that use the variety of winter squash you’ve got on your hands. You’ll notice that butternut squash (the current culinary favorite) is overrepresented in these recipes. All winter squashes are interchangeable in recipes (with the exception of spaghetti squash, of course), although each variety of winter squash out there has subtle differences in the nuances of its flavor. Try one of these fabulous fillings for an elegant meal that makes it seem like you slaved over the stove for hours. (For even more flexibility, consider using the filling recipes to stuff manicotti, layer between lasagna noodles, or thin the filling with cream or broth until it’s the right creamy consistency to coat linguine or spaghetti.)
- Delicata Squash Ravioli (This one uses the wonton wrapper method, so it will be an easy recipe to follow and won’t require any adaptation.)
- Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage, Hazelnut, and Brown Butter Sauce
- Jumbo Butternut Squash Ravioli with Kale Pesto
- Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts
- Squash & Ricotta Ravioli
- Butternut Squash Hazelnut Ravioli in Garlic Parmesan Broth
- Kabocha Ravioli with Herbed Butter
- Roasted Butternut Ravioli with Chevre in Sage Browned Butter
Keep Things Traditional with Winter Squash Casserole
Squash casserole is an old standby, whether you’re cooking with winter or summer squash, and for good reason. The delicate texture of winter squash along with its complex, sweet-yet-nutty flavor make it a natural to layer or stir into your favorite casseroles. Prepared this way, winter squash will remind your guests of the comforts of home and the flavors of their favorite holiday dishes.
- Winter Squash Casserole with Rosemary
- Maple Winter Squash Casserole
- Baked Winter Squash and Apple Casserole with Crispy Topping
- Butternut Squash Casserole with Leeks, Prosciutto, and Thyme
- Winter Squash Gratin
Winter Squash Soup Makes Whipping Up Dinner a Snap
If you’ve ever enjoyed a velvety bowl of butternut squash soup flecked with Italian sausage and ribboned with greens, you know just how delicious a pot of soup made from these garden delicacies can be. All you need is a blender. (An immersion blender is handiest, but any style of blender will work to mix up a smooth soup.)
Most recipes lean on lusciously rich dairy (heavy cream or half-and-half) for some of the liquid. If you’re jonesing for lighter fare, feel free to swap out chicken broth or veggie broth for the dairy.
- How to Make the Best Butternut Squash Soup (TheKitchn’s recipe boasts that it’s “better than Panera” for readers looking to imitate that famous bowl of soup.)
- Hearty Sausage, Kale, and Butternut Squash Soup
- Curried Acorn Squash Soup
- Hobakjuk (Korean Pumpkin Porridge)
- Delicata Squash Soup with Curried Chickpeas and Onions
- Winter Squash Soup with (Less) Red Chile and Mint
- Turmeric Ginger Kabocha Squash Soup
- Creamy Coconut Delicata Squash Soup
- African Squash and Peanut Stew with Coconut Milk and Quinoa
Choose Winter Squash for an Unexpected Breakfast
Winter squash roasted in the oven is a standby, and we’re betting you’ve enjoyed this garden favorite as part of ravioli, soup, or casserole too—but for breakfast? It may not be your first instinct, but some savvy food bloggers out there have discovered ways to let winter squash take center stage at the breakfast table.
When your family’s had their fill of more traditional dishes, select one of these unusual ways to make use of your winter squash bounty. You just may find one of them is destined to become a family favorite.
- Acorn Squash Egg in a Hole
- Butternut Squash Breakfast Tacos
- Butternut Squash and Sausage Breakfast Hash with Baked Eggs
- Pear Butternut Squash Breakfast Casserole
- Acorn Squash Breakfast Bowls with Yogurt
- Breakfast Burrito Bowl with Spiced Butternut Squash
- Five-Ingredient Breakfast Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash Frittata with Fried Sage
Take Winter Squash South of the Border with Enchiladas
Speaking of unexpected ways to cook up your crop of winter squash, we’re betting enchiladas weren’t what first came to mind when you considered new recipes. Be that as it may, winter squash of any type is perfectly suited to be used in enchiladas. Its creamy texture helps to bind other ingredients together, while the flavor functions much like corn in providing a backdrop of sweetness that spicier flavors can play against.
For an easy take on enchiladas you can customize to what you have on hand, simply pick up canned red sauce or a jar of verde salsa (to serve as green sauce) at the grocery store, along with corn tortillas, cheese, and whatever you’d like to include in your filling, Season and cook any meat you’re including, then chop and mix with your other filling ingredients and spices. (Good bets to partner with winter squash include chorizo, carnitas-style shredded pork, spinach or other greens, black beans, caramelized onions, and tomatoes.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spoon just enough of your sauce into a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish to coat the bottom. Then assemble your enchiladas, dipping each tortilla into the sauce to make it pliable, then stuffing it with filling and placing it seam-side down in the baking dish. Cover the assembled enchiladas with your sauce of choice and plenty of cheese, then bake until the sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, about 25 minutes.
- Roasted Squash, Corn, and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Winter Squash and Short-Rib Enchiladas
- Squash Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce
- Roasted Winter Squash Enchiladas Topped with Cilantro-Arugula Salad
- Roasted Butternut Enchiladas with Quick Mole Sauce
- Butternut Squash Mushroom Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce
- Vegan Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas with Jalapeño Cashew Crema
Dish Up Winter Squash for an Appetizer That’s Delicious and Nutritious
When all else fails, don’t get too stuck on the main event. Winter squash makes an excellent appetizer to prepare the palate for the main meal (or simply stave off the hungry crowd until dinner’s ready), and there are a ton of ways to make this happen. Let your creativity—and what you have in the cupboard—guide you, or look to the recipes below for inspiration.
- Butternut Squash and Parmesan Dip
- Acorn Squash Butter
- Butternut Squash Galette with Gruyere
- Moro’s Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini
- Autumn Spiced Butternut Squash Bread
- Crostini with Roasted Butternut Squash, Ricotta, and Preserved Lemon
- Butternut Squash Croquettes
- Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Tart
- Winter Squash Parfaits
If one thing is clear from this collection of winter squash recipes, it’s that in the kitchen, there are no rules. Follow your nose (and your gut) to discover new favorite ways to prepare your garden’s bounty that are all your own. Make an acorn squash mash, cube kabocha squash into curry, or whip delicata squash into hummus —the sky is the limit. When you’re cooking with homegrown veggies and tweaking dishes to fit your family’s specific tastes, you can’t go wrong.
What are some of your favorite ways to cook with winter squash? Share your recipes in the comments.
Want to learn more about what to do with winter squash?
Bon Appétit covers How to Use All that Pumpkin, Butternut, and Delicata Squash
Modern Farmer covers Winter Squash Varieties Guide
kitchn covers 10 Things to Do with Butternut Squash
kitchn covers Butternut Squash Dinner Recipes
kitchn covers The 11 Varieties of Winter Squash You Need to Know
Erin Marissa Russell graduated TWU in 2013 with honors, majoring in English and minoring in intermedia art. In May of 2017, she opened Russell Gibson Content to expand her freelance career into a talent agency for writers and editors, which is now a full-time operation with more than 60 contractors. With her husband Matt Gibson, she studies speleofolklore, a term the two coined to describe research into the legends surrounding caves, with particular attention so far to the caves of Texas. The two are collaborating on a novel based on a legend from Cascade Caverns in Boerne, Texas, and regularly present their findings at Texas Folklore Society conferences and when other opportunities arise.