With crisp autumn air and vibrant fall foliage comes a rich and hearty fall harvest! Two of our favorite fall veggies are squash and pumpkin. Read on to learn more about the different variations of squash and pumpkin, their health benefits, and our favorite fall recipes.
Types of squash
While squash is a vegetable that can be enjoyed year-round, some variations are delightful, particularly during the fall and winter months. Available from autumn through mid-winter, winter squashes have a thick, tough outer skin to survive throughout the colder months.
- Butternut Squash – This is a popular winter squash that can be found in abundance at your local grocery store. Butternut squash has a sweet, creamy flesh that makes it the perfect option for mashing and roasting.
- Acorn Squash – Shaped like an acorn nut with dark green skin, this squash is perfect for a fall dinner. When roasted, its skin becomes tender and can be seasoned to taste sweet or savory.
- Spaghetti Squash – Spaghetti squash has a hard, pale yellow rind and is best prepared when it’s roasted and halved with the flesh then shredded into long spaghetti-like noodles–hence the name. It’s a great alternative to angel hair pasta.
- Delicata – This easy-to-prepare squash is small and cylindrical with a distinct pale-yellow skin with green stripes. Cut into halves, then roast to enjoy this simple squash. You can even eat the skin!
- Hubbard – As one of the biggest squash varieties, Hubbard can weigh up to 15 pounds! Its sweet flesh is excellent when roasted.
- Sweet Dumpling – In opposition to the large hubbard squash is the sweet dumpling squash. Only about the size of an apple, the sweet dumpling squash is perfect for stuffing or roasting as a side dish.
Health benefits of squash
Many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be found in squash, making this veggie—that’s technically a fruit—a great go-to item year-round. The antioxidants in squash are good for relieving oxidative stress, which may help with cancer prevention. As for the vitamins found in squash, vitamin C is a big one, and combined with the beta-carotene also present in squash, both may work to slow the progression of macular degeneration and help reduce the chances of related vision loss. Vitamin B6 is also plentiful in squash which can decrease the risk of vitamin B6 deficiency and consequently the risk of depression and related mental health concerns.
While there are various ways to prepare it, winter squash is often roasted, which helps showcase the sweet, creamy flesh. Here are some of our favorite squash recipes to ring in the fall and winter seasons.
- Roasted butternut squash with sage – This simple and healthy snack of roasted cubes of squash requires minimal preparation for delicious results.
- Acorn squash saltimbocca – This preparation requires lining the wedges of the squash with fresh sage leaves, wrapping them in prosciutto, and roasting to crisp up the pork and caramelize the edges of the squash.
- Delicata squash and sausage crostata with ricotta and honey – This crostata layers fennel-spiced sausage, chile, delicata squash, and honey for a dinner that pairs well with a northern Italian Dolcetto.
- Slow-cooker spaghetti squash – Great for those on the go. Throw your spaghetti squash in the slow-cooker along with chicken broth, seasonings, and salt to taste and let it do all the work!
- Roasted winter squash with vanilla butter – This recipe takes a mix of some of the best winter squashes and tops them with a fragrant vanilla-bean butter that both flavors and softens the skin during roasting.
Types of pumpkin
Pumpkin is an edible and ornamental fruit that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. While pumpkins are a popular go-to decor piece for the fall season, they are also a festive (and delicious) way to spice up your fall dishes! Here are some common types of pumpkins that are ripe for the picking this season and can be used as a centerpiece or as the focal ingredient in an autumn-inspired dish.
- Jack-Be-Little – These adorable pumpkins are edible and are also the perfect choice for accenting table decorations for small spaces.
- Rouge Vif D’Etampes – This classic heirloom was the most popular pumpkin in Parisian markets in the 1880s and is a staple for a variety of french soup stocks.
- Jarrahdale – This pumpkin is unique in its looks; with its dusty blueish-green color, it stands out against the typical bright orange pumpkin. Not only are they beautiful, but they are flavorful and nearly stringless, making them an easier ingredient to work with.
- Fairytale – Also known as musquee de Provence, fairytale pumpkins are heavily lobed and very popular. Chefs love their sweet, creamy flavor.
- Long Island Cheese – This pumpkin gets its unusual name from its pale yellow color which resembles cheese. This classic pumpkin has light ribbing and is known for its sweeter taste.
- Black Futsu – This rare Japanese specialty is recognized by its unique black, warty skin and nutty, fresh flavor.
Health benefits of pumpkin
Just like your other orange veggies, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene that your body then converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps ward off germs, promote a healthy reproductive system, and support your heart, lungs, and kidneys. High antioxidant counts are also shown to reduce your risk of chronic illness and cancer.
As we said, pumpkins are a festive and delicious way to spice up your meals during the fall months. Here are our favorite unique warm and cozy pumpkin recipes that will have you feeling good all season long.
- Pumpkin Chili – Smooth, creamy pumpkin, warm spices, and hearty Italian sausage make this one of the coziest dinners you’ll have all fall.
- Pumpkin Ravioli – Looking for a quick and easy weekend dinner? This delicate pumpkin ravioli is your solution and can be ready in just 20 minutes!
- Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes – these single-serving-sized desserts are the perfect solution for your upcoming fall get-together or for something to munch on throughout the week.
- Pumpkin Soup – This classic fall dish is creamy and velvety, the perfect meal to indulge in after a crisp autumn day.
- Pumpkin Bread – One of the greatest loves of fall—pumpkin bread. Between its slight kick from the cinnamon and its sweetness from vanilla and maple syrup, this dish is like fall in a loaf pan.
In between your festive fall meals, fall back onto classics from Snap Kitchen. From Peppercorn Steak and Potatoes to Turkey Meatloaf with Potato-Turnip Mash and Green Beans and everything in between, we provide wholesome, comfort meals direct to your door. Ready to eat in minutes with no prep necessary — what’s not to love?