Food & Nutrition

Three-Speedy Dinners: Butternut Squash Season Is Back!

This versatile fall favorite is delicious in a warm salad with chicken, as well as roasted and tossed with pasta and spinach, or in a hearty stew with turkey and cabbage.
Published November 13, 2015

Finally. Our favorite season is here! In New England, we live for fall: gorgeous hardwoods turning orange and red, crisp nights, blue skies, dry weather and sweaters. Lots of sweaters.

It's also the time of year that most reflects how we cook: easy stews and braises with complex but light flavors. We use a lot of butternut squash. It's at every farm stand along our country roads, and it may be the signature vegetable of fall (after pumpkin, of course).

Butternut squash is so easy to prepare. It has a thick, long neck with no seeds. Only the bulbous end has seeds—and the vegetable's got a small cavity, to boot, making it relatively simple to core, peel, seed, and slice.

It's sweet but not fibrous, a little earthy but not bitter. As you'll see, it takes to many preparations. Try our warm chicken salad, stocked with Asian flavors, an easy main course on a busy weeknight. Sit down to a plate of warm pasta, so good on a chilly evening. Or make a pot of slow-cooker turkey stew, good enough to serve as supper to weekend guests.

Here's how to add a taste of New England autumn to your table this month.

About the 20-Minute Warm Asian-Inspired Chicken and Butternut Squash Salad

This unusual salad is as much comfort food as quick dinner—and it's perfect for a crisp fall evening. Speed up the recipe even more by using already peeled and seeded butternut squash chunks, available in most supermarkets. You easily can cut bigger pieces down to the smaller, required size. Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.

About the 40-Minute Ziti with Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach

Perfectly roasted squash should hold its shape when you toss it with the other ingredients. Work quickly so that the hot squash wilts the spinach in the bowl. Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.

About the All-Day (Slow Cooker) Turkey, Butternut Squash, and Cabbage Stew

A hearty main course designed for the first real cold snap of the year. By dividing the spice mixture between the vegetables and the turkey breast, the seasoning stays balanced in every bite. Leftovers freeze well: consider putting individual servings in small containers for lunches in the days ahead. Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.