Jena DeMoss: Sensational Squash

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Winter squash season is here! And while zucchini will still remain in my veggie rotation, the heartiness of winter squash provides cozy comfort along with big nutrition benefits. Winter squash in general delivers vitamins A and C, antioxidants, fiber and blood pressure-lowering potassium.

Filling your plate with more veggies to achieve balanced eating has never tasted more delicious with fresh, winter produce like squash. Simply enjoy your favorite variety roasted, cubed in salads or chili, pureed in soups — or give this new flavorful fall recipe using spaghetti squash below a try. Winter squash is a guaranteed winner at dinner!

Pick, store and prep these three popular squash varieties properly, and you’ll be saying, “Oh my gourd, that’s delicious!”

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Acorn: This squash has a mellow nutty flavor and resembles a ribbed acorn.

PICK: When fully ripe, they should weigh one to three pounds, have smooth skin, no soft spots and a mix of green and orange coloring.

STORE: Uncooked acorn squash lasts up to a month in a cool, dark area.

PREP: Remove fibers and seeds from the center. To make cutting easier, pierce the skin in a few spots and microwave on high for two minutes.

Butternut: Butternut squash are sweet, moist and nutty. The flavor is a bit like sweet potatoes or butterscotch.

PICK: Ripe butternut squash should have a uniform beige color without cuts or bruises, and weigh two to three pounds.

STORE: Keep fresh, uncut squash in a cool, dark place for up to two months.

PREP: Peel the skin off the outside, slice in half and remove the fibers and seeds before cooking.

Spaghetti: When cooked and shredded with a fork, this mild, neutral-flavored squash resembles its namesake pasta.

PICK: The stem of a spaghetti squash should be firm, dry and round and the squash itself should be firm.

STORE: Whole spaghetti squash can last up to two months in a cool, dry place.

PREP: Cut in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds.

When it comes to maintaining good health, squash the excuses, and let your Hy-Vee dietitian help! Our dietitian-created menu program, Healthy Habits, includes a four-week meal plan with suggested portion sizes aligned to fit your calorie needs. Plus, receive one-on-one support from a Hy-Vee registered dietitian each week. Visit to get started today!

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

Serves 4 (1½ cups each)

All you need

• 2 (1½- to 1¾-lb) spaghetti squash

• 2 tbsp Gustare Vita olive oil, divided

• 1 tbsp Hy-Vee toasted sesame oil

• 1 small onion, finely chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 3 cups Hy-Vee Kitchen picked rotisserie chicken breast

• 2 tbsp minced ginger root

• 2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce

• 1 tsp Gustare Vita white wine vinegar

• 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice seasoning

• ½ tsp kosher salt

• 3 cups shredded napa cabbage

• 1 cup precut matchstick carrots

• ½ cup bias-sliced celery

Green onions, optional garnish

• Black sesame seeds, optional garnish

All you do

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking pan with foil.

2. Cut both spaghetti squash lengthwise in half; remove and discard seeds. Brush insides of squash halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place, cut sides down, in prepared baking pan. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until fork tender.

Remove from oven; turn squash halves over and cool for 10 minutes. Scrape baked squash crosswise with the tines of a fork to create stands and remove flesh from shells. Set squash aside; reserve shells.

3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in chicken, ginger root, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, Chinese 5 spice seasoning and salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated. Transfer to a bowl; cover to keep warm. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

5. Add spaghetti squash, cabbage, carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until cabbage is slightly wilted, stirring frequently.

6. Return chicken mixture to skillet; stir until combined. Heat through, if necessary. Spoon mixture into reserved squash shells. Garnish with green onions and black sesame seeds, if desired.

Recipe source: October 2022 Hy-Vee Seasons magazine

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.