Not Winter, But Winter Squash Season

By Debbie Koenig

The change of seasons always excites me, at least in terms of cooking. This time of year, delicate tomatoes, berries, and zucchini make their final appearances at the farmers’ market, but before I can get too wistful new crops take their place: Think crisp apples, sturdy cauliflower, and my favorite, savory-sweet winter squash. What a boring term, “winter squash,” considering how many different flavors and textures fall under that umbrella. And the best part is, even though those hard-shelled squashes provide a touch of sweet and a touch of starch, a half-cup serving still has 0 SmartPoints® value.

In a recipe, of course, it’ll have SmartPoints, but winter squash’s vegetable-y nature helps hold down the total. And hooray, the Recipe Database abounds with options! I’ve rounded up some of my favorites, which together use five different varieties, and added a recipe of my own I can’t wait to try again in the coming weeks:

Baked Winter Squash, Raisin, and Pine Nut Lasagna (11 SmartPoints value/serving) sounds like the epitome of cozy dining.

Delicata Squash, Chard, and Chickpea Curry (6 SmartPoints value/serving) takes advantage of delicata’s edible skin — no peeling necessary.

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce (2 SmartPoints value/serving) makes a perfect early fall dish, since it combines the tail end of summer (juicy tomatoes) and the beginning of autumn (spaghetti squash).

Moroccan Chickpea-Stuffed Acorn Squash (3 SmartPoints value/serving) is billed as a side dish, but add a simple salad and I could see this working as a light vegetarian lunch or dinner.

Spinach Salad with Maple-Roasted Butternut (9 SmartPoints value/serving), one of my favorite fall dinner salads, has turkey bacon and pecans for pizzazz.

South African Pumpkin Fritters (1 SmartPoints value/serving) take canned pumpkin in a surprising (and delicious) direction.

Cinnamon-Pecan Quick Bread (4 SmartPoints value/serving) is an ingenious way to use pureed winter squash. I bet my picky eater would devour this.

Mini Butternut Cheesecakes (4 SmartPoints value/serving) take squash firmly into dessert territory.

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