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5 types of squash and how to cook them

Nutritionist Keri Glassman schools all of us on how to cook with five popular types of squash, from acorn to butternut.
horizontal photo of heirloom different varieties squashes and pumpkins; Shutterstock ID 719871823; Purchase Order: -
horizontal photo of heirloom different varieties squashes and pumpkins; Shutterstock ID 719871823; Purchase Order: -Shutterstock
/ Source: TODAY

Squash is somewhat synonymous with the turning of leaves and cozy dinners by the fire. It's one of those fall favorites that foodies can't wait to start cooking with. All types of squashes are worthy of the adoration —they're extremely versatile, nutrient-dense and taste delish.

Squashes are high in antioxidants (a 1 cup serving gives you 25 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A and 25 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C) and are a great source of fiber which helps to keep you full and from overindulging on the other not-so nutritious options on the holiday table. Here’s a little squash guide to help you add this star veg to your eats this week:

1. Acorn squash

This variety is particularly on point for it’s shape which can be used as a bowl (your dishwasher will thank you as well as your belly). Stuff it with quinoa and veggies and your guests will be super impressed. It can also be sliced into rounds and roasted with a sprinkle of cinnamon and added to any winter salad.

2. Spaghetti squash

This squash has gained popularity because of it’s uncanny similarity to spaghetti after it’s done roasting. Simply cut your spaghetti squash in half, de-seed, place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 40-50 minutes, at about 400 degrees.

When the squash is fork tender, rake the inside, creating your spaghetti-like tendrils. It’s perfect for topping with marinara sauce and meatballs, or for a hearty vegan dish with other roasted veggies and toasted nuts, or even topped with chili for a satisfying winter meal.

3. Butternut squash

Butternut squash is dense and sweet, making it similar to a sweet potato. It can be prepared by cutting in half, scooping out the seeds and roasting, like how you would roast the spaghetti squash. This yields perfectly roasted halves to scoop out for mashed butternut squash or even to add to a smoothie. Peeling and dicing lends itself to the perfect bites of squash in every spoonful of soup or mixed into an ancient grain side dish.

4. Delicata squash

This variety is the smaller one of the bunch and comes with a sweet and nutty flavor that reflects its appearance. This squash is also best prepared roasted. You can slice it lengthwise or into small, petite rings before placing on a baking sheet and popping into the oven. They can also be stuffed similar to acorn squash, and because their skin is so thin, you can eat that too!

5. Kabocha squash

Smooth and sweet, from the outside this Japanese squash look like pumpkin's green cousin. Similar to butternut squash, it tastes and feels similar to a sweet potato, and is great cut into wedges and roasted, or cubed and simmered in stews. It can be substituted in recipes that call for pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash.

Happy eating!

For more from Keri Glassman, follow her on Instagram @nutritiouslifeofficial.