Winter Comfort Food: Squash

October 19, 2012
Please note: fresh fruit and vegetables need to be inspected for insect infestation. Please consult our guide

Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.

We’ve all heard the terms “summer squash” and “winter squash.” It’s kinda weird because you can get summer squashes all winter and winter squashes pretty much all summer long. Confusing, yes, but easily explainable.

The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” date back to a time when the seasonal vegetables were only available when they were “in season” a “get ’em while you can” kind of mentality existed. Right now, the newest crop of winter squashes are just rolling into the marketplace, so now is the time to get them, cook them and eat them.

Baked Butternut Squash

Winter squash are typically round in shape and have a harder, non-edible skin that needs to be peeled. Winter squash (or fall-harvested squash for those of a more literal mind) take longer to mature than summer squash and can be stored for months longer than the summer squashes as long as they are in a cool dry area.

You can bake, mash, steamed or simmer you winter squashes and, for the most part, they can replace sweet potatoes in almost any recipe. Cooked winter squash is great as an ingredient in cakes, pies, soups and casseroles.

You should look for squash that feels heavier than you think it should for its size. The skin should have a deep color and it shouldn’t have any obvious bruises or blemishes.

While there are bunches and bunches of squash, the one that are the most popular (and available) are the acorn, turban, butternut, Buttercup, Carnival, Hubbard and Spaghetti.
These squashes are usually covered with wax and or dirt so you need to make sure you wash and really scrub the outside of the squash. Then cut off the stem, cut in half, remove the seeds and stringy fibers and cook. It’s usually easier to peel squash after its been cooked.

Bake: Cut the squash in half, poke the skin with a fork then place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes until soft.

Boil or Steam: Cut the squash into halves, quarters or rings and cook it with water or broth for 20 to 25 minutes or until the squash is tender. You can mash cooked squash just like potatoes.

MicrowavePlace cut pieces of squash in a shallow glass dish with a little water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 5 or 6 minutes and test it for softness. Continue checking for doneness at 2 or 3 minute intervals until the squash is soft. You can also microwave a whole squash. Just poke the skin all over with a fork (so steam can escape). Microwave the squash 7 to 10 minutes and check to see how soft the squash is.

Casablanca Acorn Squash (dairy or pareve)

8 servings


  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 4 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 to 6 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, shredded
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 Tablespoons cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups uncooked couscous


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Combine the sugar and butter in a saucepan and heat until they are combined. Baste the inside of the squash with the mixture and set it aside.
  4. In a skillet heat the oil and add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, raisins, cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cooking (stirring often) until vegetables are crisp tender.
  5. Add the chicken or vegetable broth and couscous. Cover and turn off heat.
  6. Allow the mixture to sit, covered for 6 or 7 minutes.
  7. Remove the cover, mix to combine and then fill the squash and serve.

My files, source unknown.

Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew Pot (meat)

6 to 8 servings


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 to 4 lbs. skinless bone-in chicken breast
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lb. sliced mushrooms


  1. Heat oil in a large (4½ quart) Dutch oven. Add chicken and brown about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Remove chicken and add onion, garlic and celery to pan; sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the pan with vegetables.
  3. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper, sage, thyme and bring to a boil; simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Add the squash, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional or until squash is tender. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 more minutes.

Submitted by Ronnie Marchoni of Chicago, IL.

Orange Seafood Stuffed Butternut Squash (dairy and fish)

4 servings


  • 1 (2 lb.) butternut squash
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 1 lb. imitation crabmeat
  • Garnish: orange slices and additional thinly sliced green onions


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise into 4 wedges. Remove the seeds and place the squash in a 9×12-inch baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the squash with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  3. Pour ¼ cup orange juice over the squash. Cover and bake for 40 minutes and until fork tender.
  4. During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the Faux Orange Crab Mixture.
  5. Arrange the butternut squash wedges on a serving platter, cut side up.
  6. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup orange juice, orange zest and remaining salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the heavy cream and simmer an additional minute or two. Gently stir in the faux crab and cook for an additional two minutes.
  8. Divide and spoon the faux crab mixture on top of the roasted butternut squash.
  9. Garnish the platter with orange slices and sprinkle all with additional thinly-sliced green onions.

Modified from

Winter Squash and Apple Soup (pareve)

Roasting squash and apples intensifies their flavors. Use a mixture of winter squash varieties for a more complex taste.


  • 3 lbs. winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn or delicata, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 8 cups)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss squash, apples, onion, garlic and ginger until mixed well. Spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer.
  3. Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans between oven racks halfway through baking.
  4. Remove from oven and purée squash mixture with broth and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor in 2 batches until smooth.
  5. Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add more water if needed to thin soup to desired consistency.

Serve garnished with parsley.

Modified from

Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, and OU Life. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for several publications. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking Cuisine by Eileen.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.