Out of all the winter squashes, one stands out as being the sweetest, most tender and delectable – delicata squash. It is my favorite and after you taste one, I hope it will be yours too!
Not familiar with it? It’s the smallest of the winter squashes. It looks like a large, oblong cucumber that is yellow with green stripes. It is in stores only for a short period of time, usually starting in September. By late November it is hard to find. To enjoy this wonderfully sweet squash, I would highly recommend buying them when you see them in the store.
Winter squashes, like delicata, feed and nurture the spleen, pancreas and stomach. They impart warmth into your body, improve energy circulation, are high in complex carbohydrates which helps stabilize your blood sugar levels, and aids in digestion. They are also very high in carotenoids which give them anti-carcinogenic properties. Squashes provide potassium, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and vitamin A and C.
The easiest way to enjoy delicata’s sweetness is to bake them. Cut the squash in half, length wise, and place flat side down on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a fork goes into the flesh easily. Scoop the seeds out and discard them. Serve as is, or season with some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. The squash will melt in your mouth. It’s as creamy as butter and as sweet as a dessert.
The skin is so soft you can eat it as well. In the following recipe, I feature the squash and use mochi. Mochi is found in health food stores in the refrigerator section. It is made from pounded sweet brown rice (a type of brown rice, nothing sweet is added). It is high in fiber, releases glucose slowly into your system, and imparts warmth and stamina into your body. When I use it, I grate it because it gives a chewy texture to the dish. That chewy texture makes it a great cheese substitute without all the mucous forming properties you get from dairy.
This recipe makes a great holiday dish to share with family and friends.
Stuffed Delicata Squash (serves 6)
3 delicata squash
3 broccoli stalks (cut up)
1 onion (diced)
1 1/2 cups grated mochi
2 cups cooked brown rice
4 T. tahini
3 T. tamari (naturally fermented soy sauce)
3 T. water
Cut squash in half, length wise, place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Steam broccoli until al dante (bright green and still crisp). Sauté the onion in olive oil and a dash of tamari until starting to blacken. When squash is done, scoop out seeds and discard them. Remove some of the flesh and place in bowl. In the bowl also put the steamed broccoli, sautéed onion, mochi, brown rice, tahini, tamari and water. Mix all together. Spoon into the squash halves. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before serving. The skin of the squash is soft, so you can eat the whole thing!