Fall crops yield a ton of seasonal squash. And while many people gravitate towards more traditional varieties: butternut, spaghetti and acorn for example; there’s another squash available that’s just as delicious! Delicata squash has a rich, buttery flavor and is very easy to cook. Butternut squash has a tough outer skin (much like a pumpkin) which makes cutting into it very difficult and cumbersome. The skin of a delicata squash on the other hand is much easier to cut into, can be eaten, and is super easy to clean. Delicata squash is also much daintier in size compared to other fall/winter squashes, which makes it easier to get home from the supermarket and perfect for smaller groups of eaters!

Winter squash contain a ton of vitamin A and beta-cryptoxanthin which are very beneficial to lung health. Additionally, winter squash contains folate, which has been shown to reduce the incidence of birth defects when taken by women before and during pregnancy. Delicata squash contains essential nutrients and healthy antioxidants which help to aid in the reduction of inflammation. They are also naturally fat free, cholesterol free, saturated fat free and an excellent source of vitamin C.

When selecting a delicata squash from the grocery store make sure it’s firm, heavy for its size and cream in color. Avoid any squash that has soft spots, is light for its size, and has dull or wrinkled skin. There’s no skin peeling required so it’s just clean, cut and cook, which is incredibly simple and quick with regards to preparation.

Delicata squash when roasted in the oven tends to brown in foil creating a caramelized effect. The taste is similar to that of a sweet potato and requires very little seasoning and/or added flavors. Always make sure to scoop out the seeds and innards before cooking (very similar to a pumpkin in that regard). Additionally, scrub the squash with a brush when cleaning just to make sure all of the dirt is gone.

Roasted Delicata Slices

Ingredients:

1 medium delicata squash

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425-degrees.
  2. Clean and cut delicata squash into half moon shapes. Be sure to scoop out the seeds.
  3. Arrange squash slices on a baking sheet with foil.
  4. Drizzle olive oil on top and season with salt.
  5. Bake in the oven 15-20 minutes (turning slices over at the half-way mark)

The roasted squash should be slightly browned, creamy in consistency and with melt-in-your-mouth flavor. This is the perfect side dish for 2-4 people.