Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Winter (and Fall) Squash Season

by Sabrina Linden, Dietetic Intern
Cooler temperatures and shorter days put the rich orange, yellow, and green hues of winter squash on display.   Providing vitamins A, B6, and C, and packed with antioxidants, this veggie is sure to boost immunity all season long.  The yearend’s varieties differ from their summer counterpart in that they have a hardy (often still edible) exterior allowing survival through the chilling weather, and a mildly sweet interior as cozy and comforting as your favorite sweater.  If you’re new to squash shopping, delicata and butternut are great options for beginners; the deeper the beige of butternut, the better.  As for delicata, look for a strong yellow color with green stripes.  Both cylinder shapes can be prepared with the skin intact.  Veterans to these vegetables can explore the evergreen spherical versions like acorn and kabocha.  And, if you’re trying to convince anyone in your household to eat more veggies, may I suggest a golden spaghetti squash- yes the inside looks just like noodles!    All in all, winter squash are one of my favorite kickoffs to fall.  I encourage you to add them to your grocery list and remember, whichever you choose, make sure it’s: firm, not soft; blemish-free; dull, not shiny.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Kabocha Squash and Azuki Beans with Kale!

What's the difference between "pumpkin" and "squash"?   

This is the best answer I could find:
"Squash are generally separated into three categories: summer squash, winter squash, and pumpkins. The difference between them all is really just based on how they are used. Summer squash are harvested when young and tender, while winter squash are harvested when hard and ripe. Pumpkins are really just winter squash, but have a distinctive pumpkin shape."* 

Not to mention there are SOOOO many varieties.  I found great lists (plus additional recipes) - All About Pumpkins Varieties and Seed to Supper.  In this recipe, I used the Kabocha Squash but Butternut or Acorn could have easily been substituted.  There was so much squash left I had to figure out what to do with it.  Check out and join www.thatsvegetarian.blogspot.com later this week for the great treat!!  

Pumpkin is so nutritious, full of fiber and beta-carotene.  Here is more in formation:
1 cup of cooked pumpkin flesh contains**:
Calories 49 
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg 
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg

To truly amp up this macrobiotic dish, add some brown rice.  Check out last week's blog on the macrobiotic diet.  Prepare the Kabocha Squash and Azuki Beans with Kale or any of the other wonderful recipes and and you'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!"

Kabocha Squash and Azuki Beans with Kale

1 6-inch Piece of kombu
1c Azuki beans, dried
2c Kabocha squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, can leave peel on if organic, I prefer without
1/2 bunch kale, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1t soy sauce or shoyu
1t ginger

Combine the kombu and beans in a bowl and cover with 3 c water.  Soak for a minimum of 5 hours preferably overnight. 

Drain the kombu and beans, discarding the soaking water.  Slice the kombu into 1" x 1" squares and put the pieces in a pot.  Add the beans and fresh water to cover the beans by about 1 inch.  Put the burner on high and bring to a boil, straining any foam that rises to the top.   Boil for about 5 minutes or so.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes checking every 10 minutes for enough water (at bean level) and doneness.  Soaking the beans longer decreases the cooking time.

Once the beans feel al dente, add the ginger and soy sauce (or shoyu) and stir.  Then place the squash on top and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.  Check, it should be slightly soft, then add the kale and simmer for another 10 minutes.  It should still be bright green.

Prep time: 15 minutes, mostly for cutting the squash and kale.
Bake time: 50 minutes
Serves 4, about 1 cup each
Level of difficulty - Intermediate.