If you’re trying to waste less in the kitchen, gourds are your new best friend. Their thick, hardy skin keeps them fresh on your countertop for far longer than your average vegetable. But that same thick skin can also make them intimidating to cook with. Check out our tips on a few of the most common seasonal varieties the next time you’re stumped over squash.
Cooking tip: To make cutting a kabocha easier, try roasting it whole in the oven at 400F° for 20 minutes first. Once it’s partially baked (and fully cooled) you will be able to easily open it without fearing for your fingertips. Remember that kabocha squash skin is edible so you can leave it on when you cook your kabocha!
When in doubt, try seasoning with Coconut milk, curry powder, and chilis.
Need a recipe? Gingery Miso Ramen with Kabocha Squash
Perhaps the most adorable of them all, these darling little honeynuts are mouth-wateringly delicious and heart-warmingly precious. You can’t always find them in stores, so stock up when you can.
Cooking tip: Honeynuts are more than just mini butternut squashes. To bring out their rich, sweet flavor, the best and easiest way to cook it is by roasting. Cut them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (but save them for roasting). Preheat oven to 425° F. Arrange the halves cut side up on a baking sheet for 25 to 30 minutes, until tender. If you feel fancy, add 1 teaspoon of butter in each cavity and sprinkle salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Just like delicata, the skin is also edible!
When in doubt, try seasoning with garlic and herbs and try drizzling with a nutty or creamy sauce, like tahini.
Need a recipe? Honeynut Squash with Herby Cashews and Tahini Drizzle
Delicata are one of the easiest squashes to prepare as you don’t need the world’s sharpest knife to cut one open. They’re also the perfect balance of savory and sweet with a scrumptious texture that goes great in everything from grain bowls to ramen.
Cooking tip: Everything except for the stump is edible and delicious, so be sure to keep the skin on. Before slicing, cut your squash in half to more easily scoop out the seeds. Throw the seeds in the oven with your squash for easy roasting.
When in doubt, try seasoning with salt, pepper, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper.
Need a recipe? Seasonal Squash and Bacon Pizza
Spaghetti squash is incredibly easy to cook well and is the type of “set it and forget it” ingredient that lends itself well to meal-prepping. Once you’ve got them on hand, the possibilities for what to do with its pasta-like interior are almost endless.
Cooking tip: To yield easy-to-use “nests” of squoodles (squash noodles, move aside zoodles), just cut your spaghetti squash into thick rings, scoop out the seeds, and roast in the oven. By cutting it into rings, you’ll allow it to cook quicker and then easily be able to twirl out the squash into long noodles with a fork once it’s tender!
Cooking tip: If you’d prefer a meal that comes in its own bowl, simply cut your squash in half and place the halves in the oven with your toppings. Once the squash cools a little, you can eat it right out of the shell.
When in doubt, try seasoning with Garlic, oregano, thyme, parsley. Add tomato sauce, cheese, and basil, for a super easy meal.
Need a recipe? Zero Waste Vegan Spaghetti
Acorn squash have one of the best shapes for stuffing, making them the starting point for many filling fall meals. Their hearty texture also makes them very hard to overcook in the oven. They tend to just get sweeter the longer you cook them!
Cooking tip: When cutting an acorn squash in half, it’s easier to slice it stem-to-point rather than across the “squash equator.” You can save the seeds and roast them into a tasty and healthy snack!
When in doubt, try seasoning with Allspice, maple syrup, ginger
Need a recipe? Quinoa & Kale Stuffed Acorn Squash
Butternut has one of the richest flavors of the squash family, making it an ideal candidate for roasted veggie medleys, comforting soups, and baked goods like these luscious Butternut Squash Brownies.
Cooking tip: To easily remove the tough peel, just poke it all over with a fork, cut off the top and bottom, and microwave it for 5 minutes. The skin will easily come off afterward.
When in doubt, try seasoning with Butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sage.
Need a recipe? Try this Butternut Squash & Broccoli Curry