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No ingredient marks the changing of the seasons quite like winter squash. As the days grow darker and weather gets colder, these hearty veggies are ideal for roasting, baking, and puréeing into fall-inspired recipes. Each type of squash has a different flavor profile and texture, which means it’s important to know your gourds before hitting the grocery store. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common types of winter squash you’ll find:

  • Butternut squash: Earthy and mildly sweet, this orange-hued squash has a dense texture that’s great to use as a hearty meat replacement and is also delicious when puréed into soup. Learn more about butternut squash, including tips for selection and storage, in our handy guide.
  • Delicata squash: Enjoy the brown-sugar flavor and edible skin of these oblong squash that are perfect for roasting as a side dish, rolling in a crunchy coating, or chopping up for a hearty salad. 
  • Spaghetti squash: The thin tendrils that mimic spaghetti pasta make this squash ideal for reinventing your favorite noodle dishes. Best when oven-roasted or cooked in the microwave. 
  • Acorn squash: Similar to butternut squash but even milder, the buttery flesh of acorn squash is tasty when roasted, grilled, or used as a creamy element in a dessert.
  • Pumpkin: The smooth, buttery texture and sweet potato–like flavor of pumpkin makes it ideal for incorporating into baked goods and creamy soups. You can also use the seeds (pepitas) as a crunchy garnish! To learn which types of pumpkin to use for what, check out our handy pumpkin guide. And see our full roundup of pumpkin recipes here.
  • Kabocha squash: This sweet Japanese squash has a fluffy texture that’s perfect for cutting into cubes and using in salads, stews, and casserole dishes for added autumnal flare. 

Now that you’ve brushed up on your squash smarts, it’s time to get cooking!

Curried Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Stew

The sweet flavor of butternut squash perfectly pairs with green bell pepper, carrot, and spinach in this hearty stew while riced cauliflower and coconut milk add heft and creaminess. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with lime wedges, jalapeño peppers, and/or cilantro.

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Butternut Squash Risotto

Cozy up with this creamy bowl of butternut squash goodness. Shallots, sage, and balsamic vinegar add a delicious depth of flavor that warms you from the inside out. Short grain brown rice makes a healthful substitute for arborio rice and adds a nuttier, earthy flavor. Top it all with fresh herbs for the perfect winter recipe.

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Delicata Squash Tacos

Turn up the heat with these smoky and savory squash tacos. Delicata squash has a thin skin that’s delicious when roasted, so there’s no need to peel it! Add hearty black beans, sweet corn, Southwest spices, and fresh avocado slices into the mix for a satisfying hand-held meal.

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Pumpkin and Red Lentil Dal

Pumpkins aren’t only good for Halloween decorations: They’re delicious in hearty soups, too. This Indian-inspired dish is spiced with the delicious combination of mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, and turmeric for curry-like flavors. Red lentils add substance, while the sweet chunks of pumpkin melt in your mouth with every bite.

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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and this healthy version uses a creamy butternut squash sauce to satisfy all your cravings. Use any whole wheat pasta variety that you like, and then slather it with the cheesy sauce and toss with broccoli florets.

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Penne with Butternut Squash and Fresh Fennel

One pot, five ingredients, and ready in just 20 minutes, this scrumptious pasta is the ultimate weeknight meal. Combining the complementary flavors of butternut squash, fennel, and walnuts with the earthy-tenderness of whole grain pasta, it’s a winner!

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Delicata Squash with Creole Quinoa Stuffing

Spicy Creole seasoning adds a delicious kick to these pretty stuffed squashes. Licorice-like fennel and sweet bell pepper add complexity to the quinoa stuffing while white beans add a hearty texture. A homemade tomato sauce that oozes with savory goodness brings it all together.

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Crispy Roasted Acorn Squash

Ideal for an appetizer or side dish, these crispy squash slices are rolled in a crunchy blend of bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, and Italian herbs. The sweet squash meat pairs perfectly with the savory coating and can be eaten alone or dipped into your favorite sauce.

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Butternut Squash and Red Bean Stew

This might be your new favorite winter stew! Smoky and savory with just the right amount of heat, the subtle sweetness of butternut squash combines with hearty beans, fresh veggies, and a savory broth for a mouthwatering dish ideal for cold nights.

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Millet and Kabocha Squash Breakfast Parfaits

Here’s an easy and tasty way to have your veggies for breakfast. Mild kabocha squash is brightened up with maple syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice to create an irresistibly creamy pudding that’s layered between citrus-soaked millet. What better way to start your day than with a parfait?

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Kale Arrabbiata-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Roasted spaghetti squash makes for a great pasta alternative, especially when it’s dressed up with a spicy marinara sauce. Fresh kale and chewy chickpeas add delicious texture, while a hefty sprinkling of Italian seasonings transports you to the Mediterranean coast. Eat this meal directly out of the squash shell!

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Pumpkin Alfredo Casserole

Cauliflower and potatoes are the secret ingredients in this lusciously creamy pumpkin alfredo sauce. Asparagus and carrots add freshness to hearty whole wheat pasta, which one reader praised as “total comfort food.” Sprinkle with extra sage and nutritional yeast to fully highlight the delicate squash flavors.

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Roasted Stuffed Winter Squash

This recipe requires minimal cleanup, because the squash shell acts as your bowl! Nutty wild rice soaks up a savory rosemary broth to create a creamy stuffing that’s packed with fresh veggies. Toasted pine nuts create the perfect crunchy topping for this dish, which is fit for a Thanksgiving feast.

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Adzuki Beans with Kabocha Squash

Just five ingredients are needed to whip up this satisfying meal. Adzuki beans are soaked overnight with salty kombu kelp to create a delicious depth of flavor that’s further enhanced by soy sauce and fresh herbs. Chunks of kabocha squash melt in your mouth and add meatiness to this simple Asian-inspired dish.

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Curried Acorn Squash Hummus with Crudités

Snack to your heart’s content with this incredible curried acorn squash hummus. The roasted squash is infused with Indian spices and then blended to creamy perfection. Break out your favorite veggies and crackers and serve the hummus in the hollowed-out squash shell to make it extra festive.

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Pumpkin Pie Tart with Oat Crust

Jazz up your standard pumpkin pie with this crave-worthy tart. Maple syrup and dates add natural sweetness to the pumpkin while a lightly salted almond butter and oat crust perfectly complements the creamy filling. Top with some Aquafaba Whipped Cream, and you’re good to go.

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Sage Lentil Stew with Squash and Mushrooms

Nutrient-dense black lentils form the base of this savory stew that’s loaded with fresh mushrooms, tender squash, and aromatic sage. A splash of apple juice brightens the flavors and adds an autumnal touch to the dish. Serve with a big slice of your favorite whole wheat bread to soak up the broth!

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One-Pot Squash and Brussels Sprouts Panzanella with Dried Cherries

This recipe has it all—succulent chunks of squash, tart dried cherries, crunchy walnuts, and hearty Brussels sprouts. While panzanella typically combines chunks of soaked bread with summer produce like tomatoes and cucumbers, this fall version is just as delightful and bursting with seasonal flavors.

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Delicata Squash Boats with Cauliflower Bechamel

Sink your teeth into these delicious delicata squash boats that are full of good-for-you ingredients. White beans, bell pepper, shallot, and fresh herbs create a tasty Thanksgiving-style filling that’s made even more delectable with a creamy cauliflower bechamel sauce.

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Moroccan Butternut Squash and Chickpea Stew

A symphony of spices infuses this hearty stew with Moroccan flair. Earthy-sweet butternut squash is cooked to perfection alongside chewy chickpeas and fresh spinach. Serve over a bed of brown rice for a meal that will stick to your ribs on busy days.

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Pumpkin Risotto Frittata with Mushrooms

This creamy baked risotto combines the subtle sweetness of pumpkin with umami-rich mushrooms for an out-of-this-world experience. Short grain brown rice is stirred to perfection in a garlic- and leek-infused broth before getting crisp in the oven. Sprinkle with fresh herbs for the dinner of your dreams.

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Miso-Glazed Butternut Squash with Spinach

The tangy, salty flavor of miso perfectly complements the earthy sweetness of tender butternut squash. This simple recipe is great as a side dish and can be modified into a larger meal by serving it over a bed of grains or whole wheat pasta.

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Autumn Butternut Squash Soup

Your standard squash soup gets an upgrade in this recipe by using cauliflower florets to create texture and caraway seeds to add a subtle anise flavor. The silky smooth bisque comes together in just 35 minutes, making it perfect for hectic nights. One reader raves: “Fabulous! Simple, great flavor. One of my go-to winter recipes.”

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Almond-Oat Cookie Bars with Pumpkin Frosting

These pretty little treats are almost too gorgeous to eat (but not quite!). Spiced cookie bars are topped with a luscious pumpkin purée frosting and a sprinkle of dried cranberries and pecans. Make this easy yet impressive dessert for a holiday party or simply to snack on throughout a busy week.

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Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding

Forget pumpkin spice lattes: It’s time to try pumpkin spice pudding! Chia seeds soak up a pumpkin purée scented with cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg for a deliciously creamy pudding. Enjoy it for breakfast or dessert when the leaves start to turn.

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Quinoa with Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash

This quick and flavorful recipe packs tons of good-for-you ingredients into one bowl. Chewy whole grains, tender squash, sweet raisins, and nutrient-rich kale are simply seasoned with lemon juice and garlic. Make this dish when it’s time to clear out all the random ingredients in your pantry.

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Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Dig into this delectable dessert that features a creamy pumpkin custard, sweet golden raisins, warming spices, and a delicate vegan vanilla bean whipped cream to top it all off. The best part? Only one bowl gets dirty when you make this scrumptious bread pudding!

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This article was originally published on Nov. 11, 2021, and has been updated. 

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Kevin Barry1 year ago
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Love the recipes can’t to try a few

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Megan Edwards

Megan Edwards is a staff writer and content producer for Forks Over Knives. She is also a certified RYT-500 yoga teacher who is passionate about cultivating holistic wellness through plant-based eating, mindful movement, and meditation. With a background in journalism and marketing, she supports both the online presence and quarterly print magazine for Forks Over Knives.

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