There are many ways to prepare squash, but most people only know a few. When we started our first backyard garden, we discovered squash was one of our favorite fall vegetables.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
As we became more intentional about taking charge of our family's food sources, stocking our pantry, and storing food without a root cellar, we became more interested in growing squash. And as we soon found out, squash can soon overtake your garden.
That's why I wanted to gather ideas for using this inexpensive, nutritious, and delicious vegetable.
Squash is a versatile vegetable used in many dishes, like this chicken and yellow squash casserole, so don't be afraid to experiment with different ways to cook squash.
It's also very nutritious, so you'll do your body a favor by incorporating it into your diet.
Types of Squash
There are many different types of squash, each with its unique flavor. Here are the most common in North America.
It's sweet and creamy, making it perfect for soups and pasta dishes.
This variety is more savory, often paired with meats or used in stuffing.
As the name suggests, this squash can be shredded into spaghetti-like strands. It's a great low-carb option.
Yes, pumpkin is technically a squash! It's often used in pies and other desserts but can also be added to savory dishes.
This is another versatile squash. Try it in sweet or savory dishes.
Adding shredded zucchini to quickbreads is a good way to add extra veggies to your family's diet.
13 Different Ways to Fix Squash
There are many ways to prepare squash, no matter your type. Many squash varieties produce a bountiful harvest, giving you extra summer vegetables to last all winter.
One of the most common ways to prepare squash is to roast it in the oven.
It's often cut into 2-inch slices and seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil or sweetened with a little maple syrup. And another popular option is to bake up a loaf of zucchini bread.
Yet when you have too much squash, even your favorite squash recipes can get old quickly. That's why I'm sharing 13 less common and different ways to make squash.
1. Squash in Shepherd's Pie
Replace a tired old potato with mashed yellow squash in your shepherd’s pie recipe.
This winter vegetable is lower in carbohydrates and boasts a higher nutritional value than its starchier counterpart.
Tip: look through your favorite recipes that call for potatoes or pasta. Then look for the best way to replace them with winter squashes. Or just add a small amount of squash.
2. Roasted Butternut Squash Oatmeal
Give your morning oatmeal a nutrition boost, and add some roasted butternut squash. This will give it a lovely sweetness and make it more filling. The creamy texture of butternut squash blends right in.
3. Zucchini Macaroni & Cheese
Create a unique take on classic macaroni and cheese using zucchini noodles in place of the pasta. This dish is not only lower in calories but is also a good idea for gluten-free diets.
Tip: squeeze excess moisture from the noodles with a paper towel. Just spread the noodles in a single layer on a cookie sheet, cover with a paper towel and squeeze!
4. Squash Patties
Make squash patties a fun and easy way to get your kids to eat their vegetables.
All you need to do is grate small quantities of squash into a large bowl, mix some eggs and breadcrumbs, and form them into small patties.
Then, fry them up in a pan. Eat them like that, or put them on a bun for an interesting, crunchy sandwich.
5. Squash or Zucchini Smoothies
Add any cooked squash to your smoothies.
If you want to add more veggies to your diet but don’t necessarily want the taste or texture, add small amounts of squash to your smoothie.
Adding squash to your regular fruit smoothie is a good option because you won’t even know it’s there, but you’ll get all the nutritional benefits.
6. Squash Fries
Create a healthy and flavorful alternative to French fries by roasting some sliced squash on parchment paper in the oven. Season them with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like.
7. Squash Tots
I bet you've heard of tator tots. So try making squash tots!
These are just like potato tots but are made with squash instead.
You can combine potato and squash to get the best of both worlds. Peel and add the diced squash to a large pot of boiling water. Boil the cubed squash until soft, then mash them to make your tots.
8. Pizza Toppings
Squash can also be used as a pizza topping! Simply grate or slice it thin and top your favorite pie with it. The possibilities are endless. My favorite way is to add zucchini slices drizzled with olive oil.
9. In a Frittata
If you’re looking for a nutritious way to add some extra veggies to your diet, try incorporating squash into your breakfast routine. Add it to scrambled eggs or omelets, or make a veggie-packed frittata.
10. Stuffed Squash
For an easy appetizer, stuff some roasted squash with your favorite dip or spread. These make a great party snack or a healthy alternative to chips and other junk food.
11. Top it With Pesto
Use squash as a base for a delicious and nutritious pesto.
Simply blend it with olive oil, garlic, and your favorite herbs and spices. This is a great way to use up any extra squash or extra zucchini you may have.
12. Roasted Squash as a Salad Topper
Make a batch of roasted squash and then use it to top a salad. This is a great way to add extra flavor and nutrition to your lunch or dinner.
13. Roasted Squash Seeds
Roast the seeds from your squash, pumpkin, or zucchini, and then use them as a crunchy topping for soups or salads.
This is a great way to get some extra nutrients and fiber, and it’s also fun to use up something that would otherwise be considered garbage.
You may have heard of roasting pumpkin seeds in the fall, but the same technique works very well for other kinds of squash, too.
No matter what type of squash you have, there are endless ways to prepare it.
What's the Difference Between Summer Squash and Winter Squash?
I read about summer squash and winter squash without knowing the difference for years. Finally, I found this article from The University of Georgia Extension Program.
It explains that the summer squash plant doesn't have a vine. Summer squashes include soft-skinned squashes such as yellow-skinned squash, patty pan squash, and zucchinis.
On the other hand, winter squash is a hard-skinned squash that ripens on a vine. Varieties of winter squash include
- acorn squash
- butternut squash
- banana squash
- Hubbard squash
- Marrow squash
If you grew squashes in your garden this summer, you might have too much to use right now. In this case, look for ways to preserve squash for winter use and long-term storage. Some ideas include
- Use squash in quick pickles recipes
- experimenting with recipes for old-fashioned squash pickles
- making zucchini pickles
- making zucchini chips with a food dehydrator
Remember these tips to store your squash over winter for as long as possible.
- Pick the squash when it is fully ripe and has turned yellow or orange.
- Do not wash the squash before storing it, as this will shorten its shelf life.
- Store the squash in a cool, dry, dark place away from direct sunlight.
- Wrap the squash loosely in newspaper or cloth to allow for airflow.
- Check on the squash regularly and immediately use any that show signs of rotting or mold.
By following these tips, you can enjoy fresh squash all winter long.
Backyard gardeners often have an abundance of squash, which is good. It is an inexpensive and readily available vitamin C and other nutrients source.
You'll find many good options for storing, preserving, pickling and preparing the squash. Best of all, squash is easy to grow and can be stored long.