I like to lighten up the menu a bit the week before Thanksgiving and winter squash season is the perfect time for great flavor with a lighter touch (low calorie counts, low glycemic index, sugar metabolism benefits, and lots of vitamin A and fiber).
Now is the best time to experiment, too, because all our squash varieties are just $1.78 lb. this week, or $1.98 for organic. Whether it’s a light-but-filling soup and or a savory side, there’s a winter squash to suit your mood. The recipes below are just a few of my favs.
Butternut: The Classic We Know and Love
Why is this the such a classic? Because its sweet, orange flesh and rich flavor make it the most accessible and it’s extremely flexible – great for roasting, for using in soups, risottos, salads, with pasta, purees, soups, frittatas, savory sides and so much more! There’s a million butternut squash recipe out there, but we’re always tinkering with it, looking for fresh ideas.
For last week’s Featured Recipe we decided to play around a little bit a made a very tasty Savory Butternut Squash Galette. With its French-inspired flaky crust and tasty flecks of kale, this squash recipe is light and slightly sweet, but fills up the belly, too. We love it so much we made a video to demonstrate how easy they are to make.
For another butternut take that’s slightly off the beaten path, I’d also recommend our popular Thai Red Curry Squash Soup recipe. All the familiar ingredients are here — onions, coconut milk, and autumn apples — but with a healthy splash of red curry sauce to give it a little kick and a slightly different flavor profile. Add a few slices of toasted naan and we’re talking delicious autumn flavor without putting too much pressure on the beltline.
Spaghetti Squash – the Pasta Impersonator
After you bake this variety, the texture becomes a lot like spaghetti, hence the name. That means it’s perfect for experimenting with pasta-free recipes, like our Spaghetti Squash with Tomato and Mushroom Sauce. Fresh cremini mushrooms work very nicely here. This time of year, I might skip the fresh Roma tomatoes since they’re out of season and go with our Cadia line of organic canned tomatoes. They’re almost as good as fresh and you won’t notice the difference in a pasta-inspired dish like this.
Delicata Offers Delicate, Edible Skin
The Delicata is a squash I’ve only tried once or twice, but you don’t have to be an expert because the name kind of hints at what’s going on here – a very delicate and edible rind (skin) and a soft and almost creamy-like texture.
That makes it perfect for putting a little extra oomph in your ingredients, like our Maple Ancho-Roasted Delicata Squash recipe does. Not only does the maple syrup and ancho chile powder inspire your taste buds with fresh, interesting flavors, it works perfectly with the Delicata’s milder overtones. Once again, click the link for another helpful video!
And We Still Have Room for Pie!
We jog, swim laps and eat light so we can indulge later, right? When it comes to food, November means Thanksgiving. Although some people think it’s all about the turkey and sides, in our Bakeries, it’s all about the pie! It’s the exclamation point to a perfect meal with family and friends. It’s the indulgence we all deserve and our Bakeries take pie very seriously. 😊
For us, the Chiffon Pumpkin pie from Willamette Valley Pie is the crème de la crème. It’s made with the same delectable ingredients as their regular pumpkin pie but with a spiced, airy chiffon. A creamy take on the classic! And as always, each pie is handmade from scratch and with love in Salem, Ore.
Even though pumpkin gets all the attention, there’s plenty of room in my Thanksgiving belly for more. I confess I’m much more of pecan pie guy than a pumpkin lover. The Parisian Star line from our local favorite Essential Baking in Fremont hits it out of the park. I’m told that these pies never stick around long so I’ll be snagging one early this year so I don’t miss out. Plus, Miss Ann’s Sweet Potato Pie is rich, sweet and incredibly delicious. It’s not a common choice up here in the Northwest but I say, “Hey! Move over, pumpkin pie!”
Need a gluten-free or vegan option? We haven’t forgotten you! Olivia Superfree uses an amazing gingersnap crust and a delicious handmade filling all topped with a crumble. Pair with whipped cream or ice cream, of course! They’ve proven that “Wheatless in Seattle” can still be delicious.
Our very own cheese whiz, Shauna Howell, offers up a cheese worth discovering.
Quicke’s Mature Cheddar: I say sharp, you say mature. Either way, we’re both talking about a traditional English clothbound cheddar made in a manner that harkens back hundreds of years. We’re also talking rich pasture-grazed milk gathered daily from the gentle herd, curds hand-scooped into forms, and wheels wrapped in muslin and rubbed with lard to sit quietly aging in cellars.
I love to cut this international award-winner into sticks and experience the grassy notes coming through the milk, with a hint of horseradish. I tend to enjoy this stunning Cheddar on a cheese board with a spicy salami, but the full earthy flavor also adds depth to any gratin, sandwich, or grated over a soup. To experience the terroir of lush Devon, England, cut yourself a wedge today!
Chris Allen is a copywriter and assistant marketer with Town & Country Markets. He’s a former contributing editor, radio anchor and producer, and an Air Force veteran. He’s also mastered the art of chopping red onions with one hand while sipping a dry Tempranillo in the other.