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Whole Delicata: My Favorite Winter Squash

Debra Redalia

 

I love the flavor of winter squashes, but find there is a large variation in the nuance of flavor and also ease of preparation. Big winter squashes like butternut and pumpkin can be difficult and dangerous to cut open and can require a long time to bake.

Delicata squash is small, each to cut, delicious, and takes only a short period of time to bake. Cut in small pieces, it’s only 15-20 minutes.

Because the skin is so thin, you don’t have to peel it, which means you can eat the whole squash, skin and all. Lots of fiber.

It is great for stuffing, but the easiest way to prepare it is to just cut the squash in half longways and then cut it into slices crossways. It produces these nice half-moons that look great on the plate and get soft and sweet in only 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F. It’s important to keep your eye on it, though, it can go from perfectly cartelized to burned in a minute. Because ovens vary, you’ll need to determine for yourself the perfect number of minutes for your oven. No oil needed. Just slice and bake.

Like any other winter squash, it pairs nicely with almost any flavor. Any winter pumpkin spices are great and also chilis. Parmesan cheese. Whatever you love will go well with Delicata, and it will add a lot of fiber to your meal. Here are five examples of how to jazz up your delicata.

I’m inclined to simply chop it up and toss it into almost anything. Like brown rice, beans, and delicate with parmesan cheese. Toss it in lentil soup. I just keep it roasted and in the refrigerator all season so it’s there to toss wherever I want it.

Don’t delay. Eat Delicata today. They are only in season September through December.