Expand Your Squash Universe

Northwest hard squash opens up all kinds of fall side dish options.

Here in the Northwest, squash comes into season right when fall puts us in the mood for some heartier fall recipes. And with the enormous variety of Northwest hard squash we get in, our produce department becomes a hard squash wonderland. In fact, we have more types of squash than anyone else out there.

Sure, we bring you the usual squash suspects—like the butternut, the acorn, and the spaghetti squash. But you’ll also find a rainbow of Northwest squashes you may never have tried before. Blue ones, yellow ones, some that are spotted—and we’ve got one that's called a Carnival, and that’s exactly what it looks like. A big colorful carnival.

There are endless ways to cook squash, but if you need a place to start, try some of these ideas from our in-house experts:

Squash cooking tips from Joe, our Produce Specialist

Joe says: “no matter what type of squash you’re cooking, try adding a little bit of honey butter and Parmesan cheese right when it's almost done. Or if you don't like that bite from the Parmesan cheese, add honey butter and cinnamon instead. Then it will have its own kind of flavor. It won't quite be like pumpkin, but it will be on the sweeter side.”

“With spaghetti squash, I just cut it in half, scrape out the seed part, and I bake it for about 45 minutes at 350°. Then I use a fork to pull out the strands. It looks just like noodles. I like to squeeze or drain it for a little bit after that, because I like it to be a little drier. Then you can put whatever sauce you want on it. You can put spaghetti sauce on it. You can put a white garlic sauce on it, or you can just add butter and garlic and parmesan. It’s a wonderful, unique side dish that’s worth trying.”

Chef Joya’s top 3 squash cooking tips:

“I love delicata squash for its thin edible skin. No peeling! Cut it into half-moons, and then just toss the slices with olive oil and sea salt. Bake it in a nice hot oven (think 425-450°) for about 12-15 minutes—just until they’re golden and crispy. They make a great addition to a salad. Or try dipping them in some yummy aioli or spicy ketchup as an alternative to fries.

Here's my go-to recipe for acorn squash: cut it in half, remove the seeds, season each half, brush with olive oil and maple syrup, and a good sprinkle of salt. Then I add a clove of garlic and sprig of thyme to the center, and place them flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° for around 20 minutes, or until tender. This makes a delicious side dish with pork chops or steak.

Butternut squash screams for coconut and curry for me, and it’s such an easy weeknight meal. Cook shallots, ginger, and garlic in butter with curry powder. Add squash, red lentils, water, and coconut milk. Cook until tender. Season with salt, sprinkle with cilantro. And serve with rice." (Insider tip: if you’re really crunched for time, our Fresh Prep pre-cut butternut squash cubes make this dish come together in no time.)

Need more kitchen inspo for how to cook squash? Try some of our top-rated squash recipes here and you’ll have all you can eat. We’re coming up with great new squash dishes all the time. So be adventurous, and give a new squash a try this fall. You could eat squash every day, a different way every day, and have a different eating experience every day. And love every bite.

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