Fight food waste and make the most of your winter squash!

In most regions of the country, winter time means no sun and no to low yield. However, we Californians are extremely lucky to be gardening in a Mediterranean climate where the growing season is year-round. One of the staple winter crops we’re able to produce is winter squash. Some of the most popular varieties are Acorn, Butternut and Spaghetti. From salads to desserts, here’s a list of some great ways to incorporate this holiday favorite into your recipe repertoire.  

“Slaw-some” butternut slaw

  • Cut butternut in thin julienne slices
  • Add vinegar, mint, scallions
  • Bonus: juice the scaps, boil to thicken, add butter and meyer lemon for a sauce that pairs great with seafood.  

Ham n’ Squash

  • Cut butternut and acorn squash into wedges and roast
  • Wrap in country ham and garnish with crispy fried sage

The sweetness of the squash compliments the salty ham perfectly!

Grill it!

  • Slice butternut squash
  • Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and throw it on the grill.
  • Squash does not burn easily do don’t be afraid of high heat to get good caramelization.
  • Bonus: Blend the grilled squash to make a butternut squash soup.

Use the skins

  • Peel acorn squash with a peeler, and don’t worry about getting into the fruit’s tiny grooves.
  • Take the peels and fry them, no batter needed.
  • Salt the peels and serve as a healthy potato chip alternative or garnish on dishes to add extra flavor and texture.

Squash Carbonara

  • Peel a butternut squash, and cut the neck into half-inch cubes and roast
  • Remove the seeds from the bulb of the fruit, rinse them, season with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast
  • Note: Set aside all the squash’s odds and ends that you did not use. These will be used in the sauce
  • Render down some bacon, and saute the squash scraps that you saved in the same pan
  • Throw in some sage, thyme, shallots and garlic
  • Add chicken stock and simmer until tender
  • Add a touch of cream, then puree in a blender to create a rich, smooth sauce
  • Cook some spicy sausage, and add along with the previously roasted butternut squash and parmesan to rigatoni pasta
  • Top with the squash sauce for a delicious squash carbonara

No-Noodle Pasta

This is a great healthy and gluten-free alternative to normal pasta dishes, using spaghetti squash.

  • Cut the squash in half lengthwise and season with butter, brown sugar, chili flakes and salt
  • Place the squash face-down in the oven and roast until tender
  • Once the squash cools, remove the strands of squash with a fork to make them look like strings of spaghetti

Butternut squash Risotto

  • Begin by cooking the risotto rice, adding saffron
  • Saute onion, garlic and butternut squash with cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg and a little honey or agave nectar
  • Blend it all together with some water or stock and season with salt and pepper
  • Add the squash puree into the risotto for a creamy and delicious dish!

Pot De Creme Dessert

An easy, delicious and gluten-free dessert!

  • Simply bake a squash of your liking in jars with some cream, milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and curry


With such a variety to choose from, there’s no limit to the ways you can use all your garden’s squash, and get creative in the kitchen with this versatile holiday favorite. Don’t forget to use the Giving Garden app to share other recipes, helpful growing tips, and trade or sell extra squash to help prevent food waste.

About Giving Garden: Learn more about plants and what to grow in your area with the Giving Garden app. Giving Garden helps you grow, share and eat food locally. Available on iOSAndroid and the web.  Find your local farmers market, grow your own food and share food to strengthen your local food system. If you have extra produce, we encourage you to post it on our mobile apps and let your friends and neighbors know. Let’s combat food waste together! Have suggestions on features or need assistance, email 

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