My very favorite winter squash is the delicata, an heirloom with a rich buttery and nutty flavor, that is now available almost everywhere, including Trader Joe’s. Wait until the weather has cooled a bit, as the squash get sweeter with the first frost. When purchasing, select delicata with deep ribs as they indicate more ripeness that will then translate into a sweeter taste.
Delicatas are the perfect squash– the easiest one to prep and the one with the most flavor, due in part to their lower water content. After washing, just place a knife in one of the grooves, slice lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. I use a simple mix of store-bought spices (1 part cumin, 1 part curry powder, ½ part chili powder), a brush of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and bake for about an hour at 375-400 degrees. I usually pop a few in my oven every time I roast a chicken in the fall–don’t let that extra space in your oven go to waste.
Because the skin is so thin (hence easy to cut through) and I buy organic, I often eat the skin, too. Lots of fiber. Like eating an apple without slicing off the peel. Make up a batch of the 3-ingredient squash spice to have on hand, and cut your prep time to under 5 minutes.
The quash are beautiful to serve and easy to eat. And because they are not weighty, their cost is very reasonable. Start adding them to your grocery cart.
Turn oven to 375-400 degrees. Wash squash thoroughly and dry. Slice lengthwise and remove seeds (save the seeds, if desired, to roast later–they are yummy salted with a bit of tamari). Place face up (skin side down) in pan with a few tablespoons of water to prevent skin from burning, or on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Give them a very light brush with olive oil and sprinkle the spice mix over the squash. Bake until tender. Test with a fork after about 45 minutes to test for doneness. Salt if desired–I rarely do. An average-size delicata takes about one hour in my oven.