Squashes have a great defence mechanism … they’re so hard to cut, it can make you give up on eating them! Instead of depriving your tastebuds, keep reading to learn the art of cutting and cooking squash like a culinary ninja.
How to cut squash in 5 easy steps
Have you tried throwing it from the third floor? Sorry, that’s the trick for watermelons. How about getting out your hammer? Sorry again! This technique only works for coconuts. Before you give up, follow these five simple steps and you’ll be chopping your squash like a master chef in no time.
To dissect the beast, equip yourself like a surgeon. Your instruments of choice for the big operation? A chef’s knife (and not one you haven’t had sharpened since 1989), a veggie peeler (the kind where the handle lines up with the blade) and a tablespoon (that you’d use to eat soup).
- Take your chef’s knife and cut off both ends of the squash without removing too much of the flesh (you’ll be needing it for your recipes!).
- Again with your knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise (that’s the opposite of widthwise, in case you were wondering).
- Then use a peeler or small paring knife to strip away the hard skin, leaving only the soft, squishy goodness.
- Next, cut both halves of the squash in half again and use your tablespoon spoon to remove the seeds.
- Finally, cut each quarter into 1 to 1/12 inch chunks or slices, depending on what the recipe calls for (or how well your squash is cooperating!).
3 different ways to cook your squash
Not only will baking the squash warm up your kitchen to make it cozy, it will allow you to concentrate the flavours and sweetness while retaining all the nutrients. You’ll love this method if you’re in lazy hibernation mode as you can bake it whole without having to peel or cut it.
Take a fork and prick small holes all over the squash to let the steam escape. Preheat your oven to 350°F, put your squash on a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size. When your knife can press easily into the flesh, it’s good to go!
If a soup or stew is on the menu, boiled squash is the method for you! Start by soaking your cubed squash in water, broth or coconut milk (just because you’re making a soup, doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box!). Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for around 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.
Treat your squash to a sauna session! Steaming is a great way to enjoy squash in all its natural glory—perfect for salads and light starters.
Place your squash cubes in a steamer basket and bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the basket over the simmering water for around 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.
Two winning recipes the whole family will love
Cooking squash can be just as fun as eating it! To make your squash adventure as enjoyable as it is tasty, follow these two simple but crowd-pleasing recipes. Perfect for weeknights when you need a little inspiration.
- Spaghetti squash lasagna
If one of your little ones loves spaghetti and the other one’s crazy about lasagna, this spaghetti squash lasagna is the perfect compromise! Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, drizzle the inside with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes on a baking sheet, flesh side down. Take it out of the oven and garnish with layers of Bolognese sauce, ricotta cheese and grated mozzarella. Pop it back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes and finish it under the grill to brown the cheese (to your little sous-chefs’ liking).
- Butternut squash cake
Thanks to its sweet flavour, you can serve squash for dinner and dessert. This squash cake recipe from nutritionist Ève Godin looks a lot like carrot cake as it’s made with grated squash. Using the raw squash will save you a lot of time (compared to other dessert recipes that call for squash purée) and the results will be just as delicious. A sneaky way to get your kids (and your significant other!) to eat their veggies!
The next time you walk by that decorative squash just sitting on your counter, you’ll know exactly what to do with it! Sliced or cubed, roasted, steamed or boiled … however you serve your squash, it’s sure to be a hit.
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