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disguising butternut squash

I have a CSA in the summer, as well as my own garden. I try to freeze as many vegetables as I can over the course of the summer to make them last through the winter. In the fall, I inevitably end up with lots and lots of butternut squash, which I roast and freeze. The problem is, I don't much care for butternut squash. I think it may be a texture thing. I am looking for ways to use it without feeling like I am eating it. Does this make sense? Kind of like hiding vegetables in kids meals, except that it would be my meals. I'd rather steer away from soups and sweets. I don't eat much of either. I just don't want any of it to go to waste.

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  1. Tall order if you rule out soups and sweets. The curried squash and apple soup from Marcia Adams old Amish Cooking from Quilt Country show on PBS is a favorite of mine. It is pureed and if I didn't know better I'd think it was made with yellow split peas.

    So what you've got is roasted and frozen, presumably in chunks. Maybe if you thaw it and dry it you could pan-fry it with onions as you would for home-fried potatoes.

    1. how about roasting with other root vegetables and then mashing or pureeing together with herbs & roasted garlic - like mashed potatoes, but better :)

      1. Deep fry a la potato chips, tempura, or fritters. Or make 'fries'. If fat is an issue, you could probably do oven baked fries. Butternut squash has that nice solid neck of meat. I cut off the bulb, then cut the neck in two shorter segments. I peel these pieces then scoop the seeds from the rounded part. Then there's nice clean squash meat to slice or shred as needed.

        If you need to hide it from yourself, how about mixing small amounts of it into strong tasting sauces/stews? For example tomato sauce for pasta, or red chili, or if you make burritos or enchiladas, mix it into the sauce or filling.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Louise

          I was thinking along those lines, (mixing into sauces/stews), but am curious what kind of effects it might have. Will it thicken them, requiring me to add water/stock? Will it make them sweeter? That kind of thing.

          1. re: hilltowner

            On the question of thickening, I think it would depend on the amount of cooking time. If you left it a while it would probably break down and thicken. If a shorter amount of time, it would retain its shape and stay chunkier. It would probably add a slight sweet undertone, depending on how much you added and what the other ingredients were. Mash 1/2 c into a big batch of lasagna sauce? Probably not noticeable. Divide 1 c among 4 chicken pot pies? Noticeable.

            Have you looked into the flavors that go well with squash? It might make it more palatable. I like it with sage and brown butter myself.

            You could also probably slip it into pancake or waffle batter. The pancakes would be very moist.

        2. We make savory "pumpkin" pie with it. Do you like pumpkin pie? Recipe includes onions, tamari, tofu, etc.

          8 Replies
          1. re: lgss

            I was also thinking along these lines. Can you elaborate on this savory pumpkin pie idea? We could call it pumpkin quiche. What meats might go well in there?

            1. re: hilltowner

              We're vegan, no meat...there are nuts in the crust recipe we use. I'll have to search for the recipe. We usually make it at Thanksgiving and omnivores have asked for the recipe after tasting it.

              1. re: hilltowner

                SAVORY PUMPKIN PIE
                Filling
                3 C cooked butternut squash (or other)
                1C nut milk (we use almond mylk)
                1/4 C tamari
                1/2 C chopped onion
                3 cloves garlic, minced
                1 blk silken tofu
                4 T corn oil (or other)
                4 T chopped parsley
                Pour into pre-baked pie shell. Bake for 55 minutes at 350 or until tester comes out clean. Makes 2 pies.

                1. re: lgss

                  This looks delicious!

                  Do you blend the ingredients in a blender? Or mash up the tofu with a fork?

                  Would this work with regular tofu?

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    We mix the filling ingredients in the VitaMix. Haven't tried it with regular tofu, I think it needs the smoother texture of the silken. We make a gluten-free nut crust for ours.

                    1. re: lgss

                      Thanks! I'll put silken tofu on my list for this week's shopping. Do you buy the kind in the tub or in the box? Have you ever tried it with a brown rice crust ?

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        We've used both kinds of silken tofu, whatever we could get. This pie recipe is our standard Thanksgiving main dish and we often make it when visiting family in other states. Brown rice crust sounds like it would go well.

                        1. re: lgss

                          Thanks for the recipe! I'm going to try it this week or next. I try to avoid piecrust when cooking for just us since it's got no real value.

                          I'm happy its got garlic in it since I spent a good chunk of time today peeling garlic for the week!!

            2. use as a filling for ravioli. roasted buttnernut and sage is a pg family fave. Make up a big batch and freeze.

              I do a mean curried butternut, with fenugreek and cardamon.

              butternut and pine nut rissotto is also a feature.

              I grow our own, too, so I know of what you speak. Fortunately I have 2 dogs who go NUTS for baked butternut pumpkin and will eat MOUNDS of it!!

              3 Replies
              1. re: purple goddess

                purple goddess, I have a nice butternut sitting on my kitchen table right now, would love to try your curried butternut: would you be willing to share the recipe?

                1. re: susancinsf

                  1 cinnamon stick
                  1 teaspoon coriander
                  1 teaspoon turmeric
                  1 teaspoon chilli powder
                  3 black cardamon pods.
                  1 teaspoon cumin
                  1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
                  1 diced onion.
                  Ghee for frying

                  Fry off onion till glassy. Add spices and cook for a min or two. Add diced pumkin (or potato or kumara or a mix of all three) and a cup of water and cook until veggies are soft. Add a tablespoon or two of plain yoghurt.

                  Voila!!

                2. re: purple goddess

                  I was just going to suggest curry! I do several variations -- either a dry version with curry powder, onions, chopped tomatoes and squash, or a soupier kind with yellow curry paste, light coconut milk, squash and peas.

                3. I second suggestions for squash-filled ravioli and risotto. I just happened to make a butternut squash phyllo pie for dinner tonight. If you roast it, then mash it with milk, sage, spices, beaten egg and shredded mozzarella and use it as a filling for a pie, it's delicious. I added grilled zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms on top as well as roasted garlic cloves. Another option could be to o butternut squash fritters or savoury cakes, mixing it with potatoes, eggs, breadcrumbs, herbs and spices and forming into patties that you can either fry or bake in the oven.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Paula76

                    Paula -- that squash phyllo pie is going on my MUST-make-immediately list! I make a mushroom strudel in phyllo with cream cheese that is amazing. This one sounds scrumptious too. Can't wait to try it. I am an ardent fan of phyllo dough. Just so much fun and so delicious once you get the hang of working with it...

                    1. re: foxy fairy

                      Indeed! It's so light and crispy as well and you can experiment with so many different fillings. I love it! The mushroom strudel sounds great. What ingredients do you use? I am putting that one on my 'Must try' list!

                      1. re: Paula76

                        It is from the Original Moosewood recipe, and I'm out of town without access to my books right now. I know it has cream cheese, mushrooms, dill and lemon I believe, some sauteed onion or shallot... maybe parsley too? Sautee the onions and mushrooms, then swirl in everything else. You make two giant logs out of it, layering the full sheets of phyllo atop each other, spread the filling along one end, and roll up. I have brought this to dinner parties as a vegetarian entree several times. It is rich and divine. I noticed that Whole Foods offers something similar, but in puff pastry I believe, for about $10 in the prepared foods.

                        For appetizers, I also make yummy little phyllo triangles with asparagus or mushrooms, sauteed shallot and cheese filling. YUM. Everyone gobbles those up. Sometimes a little red bell pepper too for fun. I may try the triangles with squash, or some of each filling, in the future for variety.

                        1. re: foxy fairy

                          My doesnt have dill, my have rosemary and uses a variety of mushrooms and mine has a little gruyere cheese, otherwise the same, layers and roll. For me, I prefer puff pasty at times, Made it both ways, 2 different tastes, but overall the same. You don't add my cheese, but a little. You what ever cheese you want.

                          I agree foxy fairy, great recipe. I use it as a great appetizer for a dinner party. Quick and easy and hot or room temp which is nice.

                  2. Butternut squash soup is yummy! Add a couple of Granny Smith apples for a hint of tartness.

                    1. i've used mashed leftover butternut squash in mac and cheese...the color works perfectly. also used it in a basic yellow curry with whatever protein i have on hand with peas, carrots and potatoes..tastes great when it blends into a thick sauce.

                      1. Cut in half and roast. Put in some garlic too if you want. Then make a risotto as you normally would. At the end, scoop out the cooked squash and swirl it in. You will not get any weird texture. It will melt into the risotto, adding an amazing color too. Try with fresh sage and some great quality Parmesan. YUM. I like it in cubes with bacon and cheese in a grilled wrap too. Squash is also excellent in a bean pie, harvest flavors. Add in some spinach and a lot of cheese. If you roast it first you won't have to tackle it and risk hurting yourself when cutting. Careful with that!

                        1. Soup obviously out, I just roast and eat, I love it. Out. I love it in ravioli with ricotta, love it fried like chips and pan seared with other vegetables, brussel sprouts and fennel is amazing. I like a casserole of sweet and white diced potatoes, roasted and then mixed with carmelized onions and then baked. Also baked with some cream and cheese. I love them mashed with roasted onions, garlic and then creamed, but not the sweet kind savory kind. Love them in a quesadilla with cheese, pancetta and onions and then toasted. Great. Lasagna is also amazing with kale or swiss chard I like kale on mine, goat cheese or parm and ricotta. Both very good and tasty. Even a pasta bake with penne is great same ingredients if you don't want to do lasagna. You can add some fresh turkey or chicken too which is even better.

                          I also like to add some to a spinach salad with sliced fresh beets and pears and a blue cheese dressing. Great flavor and texture.

                          1. The Everyday Food cookbook has a recipe for a baked pasta with pureed butternut squash. I haven't made it, but the recipe looks delicious.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cheesecake17

                              Last week I made Massaman Curry with buttercup squash cubes instead of sweet potato. My husband and I both liked this change. I do an easy Massaman, just buy the little cans and follow the directions.
                              I have also used the pureed squash instead of pumpkin in a variety of baked goods. These don't usually require a lot of squash so you might not use it up too quickly. Squash biscuits were a big hit with my company. I love pumpkin beer bread. It's not like pumpkin quick bread.

                            2. Have you tried the choo-choo method? The airplane method works too! ;-)

                              You can add the puree to a braise. That would add sweetness and a general vegetable flavor without actually being overpowering.

                              1. My favorite way to eat BNS is by tossing cubes with melted butter, or olive oil, and roasting them in the oven. Then when you take it out you toss it with gorgonzola cheese. It's freakin amazing and so easy. The cheese cuts the sweetness and makes it more of a savory dish. The texture might still be a problem for you though.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Bcakes

                                  I do something similar, roast small dice at high heat for crisp edges,but toss with curry powder, some chipotle or other chili powder heat, and a squirt of lime. Since leeks usually come with my CSA butternut squash, I roast chopped leek along with it.I believe it's my spin on an epicurious recipe.

                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                    Do you buy pre-diced? I just can't seem to hack up a butternut without endangering myself and anyone else in the kitchen.

                                    1. re: foxy fairy

                                      No, I get it from a CSA. I cut the round part off, then peel the long and the round part with a vegetable peeler. Then cut each in half, the long way, then slice as wide as I want the cubes. Dicing is a little tedious but not risky.

                                      Here's the epicurious version

                                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                        Thank you for explaining! That makes sense. I would imagine you would need quite a superstar peeler. I would like to try it, and I will. I always think of ideas with the cubes, yet it annoys me to buy it precut.

                                        1. re: foxy fairy

                                          If it's organically grown and washed well the skin is edible.

                                        2. re: Shrinkrap

                                          I like the epicurious recipe a lot! My husband, a huge mushy squash lover, likes it fine, but thinks it doesn't taste enough like squash for his taste. And that's why I like it.

                                        3. re: foxy fairy

                                          I picked up a tip from someone here to microwave it whole for a few minutes. Not enough to really soften, but enough to make it a little less hard. Makes it easier to peel and cut up. Works well.

                                      2. I puree it with butter and a hint of maple syrup.

                                        1. Here is a recent thread which may give you some ideas. Gave me some great ideas, but I love butternut squash

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/593193

                                          1. Thanks everybody for your ideas. I know it's silly, my aversion to butternut, but at least I want to find a way to eat it.

                                            1. I like to make butternut squash hash browns(recipe from HungryGirl). Take uncooked shredded butternut squash (use the large whole on a grater- I use my food processor) and dry very well. Add diced red onion, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook in a non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray or olive oil. I know the op wanted the squash hidden, but this preperation does have a very similar texture to potato hash browns. Also, I don't know how the hash browns would turn out with frozen uncooked squash.

                                              1. Well I love roasted butternut squash risotto. My daughter thinks it's macaroni and cheese and has no idea she is actually eating a vegetable!

                                                This is an interesting recipe I got off this board YEARS ago. I made them several times and then forgot about them. I think they were really good. Squashaladas:
                                                http://snackish.blogspot.com/2005/10/...

                                                1. We get a ton through our CSA, too. I cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, brush cut sides with olive oil, roast at 425/450'F until soft, pull out the flesh, put it through the food mill, freeze it, and later add it to everything. Since you request no soups or sweets, I'd say to try it in tomato sauces (any sauces, actually), curries, braises, risotto, macaroni and cheese and baked pastas, casseroles/one pot dishes, and other dishes where it would add body and flavour to the sauce, but you won't have to face the texture.

                                                  If you're willing to try sweets, I'd say to try this Spiced Pumpkin Bread (we love it): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... and use squash in place of the pumpkin. We also cut the sugar to 2 cups, increase the eggs by 1 or 2, and increase all the spices a little bit.

                                                  And of course, you can hide it in your own thick soups if you ever decide to make 'em.

                                                  On an odd note, our dog LOVES the puree (ok, he loves everything- wasabi chunks, ice cubes, every fruit and vegetable under the sun except for limes, raw garlic and raw onions; if we're not careful, he also steals all the habaneros and scotch bonnets off our porch plants in the summer), so we give him a warm scoop of it with his dinner, too. :)