STUFFED Turban Squash Shell

A great way to “dazzle” thanksgiving guests is by making a turban squash recipe. I like to stuff mine, because it just looks so beautiful when finished.

The recipe below has a few different components to it which makes it ideal for a family to make.  Each person can make a different part of the recipe and then add it all together at the end.  It is a little more complicated than some of the recipes we recommend, so is most suited for those who love to cook!

The Turban Squash is an heirloom winter squash (means its seeds originate from the originals).  It was first mentioned in a publication back in the early 1800’s in France.

The top of the squash is shaped like a “turban”, hence the name.  It comes in a variety of different colors and shapes and has a mild, nutty-like taste.

You can make so many recipes with this squash.  You can stuff it, serve in chunks, make a dip with it or puree to make a creamy soup.

The flesh is an “orange” color which means its high in Vitamin A. It also is an excellent source of Vitamin C and contains calcium and iron.

Stuffed Turban Squash Shell Recipe

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Turban Squash

  • 1 medium-sized turban squash
  • Organic Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon, whole and unrefined

Toasted Sourdough Bread Cubes

  • ½ cup homemade sourdough bread – I used the garlic sourdough bread from Great Harvest Bread Company in Denver, CO – such a hearty and pure tasting bread! https://www.facebook.com/greatharvestdenver/
  • Organic Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • Granulated garlic
  • Coarse ground sea salt

Candied Pecans

  • 1 cup organic American native pecans
  • Maple syrup
  • Coarse ground sea salt

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts
  • Organic Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • Coarse ground sea salt                     

Cranberries sweetened with apple juice

Directions:

Turban Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Carve out the turban part of the squash using a really sharp knife. Pop the top off and save it.
  4. Discard seeds and pulp from the top and bottom portions.
  5. Brush the flesh with olive oil. Place on baking pan, cut side down and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for at least ½ hour.
  7. Scoop out flesh onto a cutting board using a spoon. IMPORTANT: Be sure to keep the shell!
  8. Cut into “pseudo” bite size pieces. Squash will be a little mushy.
  9. Place in medium-sized bowl. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon. Mix together.
  10. Set aside.

Toasted Sourdough Bread Cubes

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Cut sourdough bread into cubes.
  4. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle a line of olive oil around and just above the cubes (not on them).
  5. Sprinkle with granulated garlic and sea salt and mix together.
  6. Spread on baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool. Set aside.

Candied Pecans

  1. Heat sauté pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add pecans to pan.
  3. Lightly coat with maple syrup and sprinkle salt on it.
  4. Heat pecans until liquid is dissolved and pecans start to stick together.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Rinse and then cut off ends of Brussels sprouts.
  4. Add to bowl and mix together with olive oil and sea salt.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet, cut side down.
  6. Put in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check after 10 minutes if you have baby sprouts.

Assembly

  1. Add a big scoop of squash flesh to the shell.
  2. Top with a scoop of Brussels sprouts, candied pecans and a few cranberries.
  3. Continue this process until squash shell is overfilled.
  4. Dab in pieces of the sourdough cubes on top of the mixture. Serve warm.
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“The Three Sisters” Squash

The word squash is derived from the Indian word askutasquash, meaning “eaten raw or uncooked.” Although Native Americans mostly ate it raw, we generally like to cook it.  Squash is known as one of the “Three Sisters” planted by Native Americans.  The three sisters include corn, beans and squash and were three native plants that were farmed.  This was one of the first examples of sustainable agriculture, as each plant supported the others’ growth: corn provided stalks for the beans to grow, squash vines covered the weeds on the ground, and beans provided nitrogen for all three crops to grow.

Squashes are technically classified as a fruit, but have many culinary uses as a vegetable. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors.  Some are big and round, while others are thin and short.  They can come flattened or tubular and with straight or crooked necks.  Colors range from white to yellow to orange to green – some with stripes, others that are solid.

They are classified according to when they are best harvested, in either the winter or summer. Summer squash is usually harvested during the summer. These plants have thinner skins and are smaller.  Examples include zucchini and yellow crookneck. Winter squash are harvested at maturity, usually at the end of the summer through the winter.  This type of squash generally has a harder shell, which allows them to act as storage containers for cooking their flesh along with other ingredients.  They have thick skin and hard seeds and can be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.  Examples include butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash.

Squash is extremely high in carotenoids (Vitamin A) – most orange fruits and veggies are high in Vitamin A.

It is also extremely high in the following:

Vitamin C
Fiber
Potassium
Magnesium

It is rich in Lutein, a carotenoid that contributes to the dark orange color of butternut squash and pumpkin and serves as an anti-oxidant.

Squash can protect you against cancer, heart disease and cataracts.

Fun Fact: It has the same composition as a fruit, so is considered a fruit and not a vegetable. All squash is considered a fruit with edible flesh.

Parent tip for cooking with kids: Many varieties of squash contain seeds that can be toasted and eaten as a snack. Pumpkin is a member of the squash family, and its seeds can be made into a tasty Halloween treat that kids gobble up! You can toast any kind of squash seeds, including butternut and acorn squash, and then coat them with a little olive oil, cayenne pepper, cumin and salt and add them to their favorite squash soup.

CinnaSquash Muffin

CinnaSquash Muffins
A healthy take on regular old muffins.

Yields: 24 regular-sized muffins (two pans’ worth)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 banana – mashed
1 cup butternut squash – baked or boiled
2 eggs
¾ cup apple sauce
1/3rd cup turbinado sugar or sucanat (or any other less processed sugar)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 cups whole wheat/white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• Grease muffin pans or add muffin cake liners to pans.
• Mix together banana, squash, eggs, apple sauce, sugar and oil in a mixing bowl until  well blended. You can also use an electric mixer if this is easier.
• In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda and powder and cinnamon.
• Make a hole or well in the dry ingredients. Dump the wet ingredients into the center and then start to blend the two ingredients together to form a batter.
• Pour batter into muffin tins and sprinkle with cinnamon.
• Bake at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes.
• Let cool and then serve.

Optional: Top with a glazed cinnamon icing

Nutritional information (per muffin):

Calories 90
Carbohydrates 12 grams
Protein 2 grams
Fat 4 grams Saturated fat 1 gram
Fiber 2 grams
Vitamin A 1% of daily rec amt
Vitamin C 5% of daily rec amt Sodium 130mg – low
Calcium 1% of daily rec amt
Iron 4% of daily rec amt
Sugar 1.5 grams

Why is this recipe healthier than a usual squash muffin recipe?

  • We used bananas instead of butter for moisture and tenderness.
    • A lot of recipes call for a cup of butter, which adds 1,600 calories, 176 grams of fat and 112 grams of saturated fat to the recipe.
    • 1 ½ bananas add only 158 calories, .6 grams of fat and .15 grams of saturated fat.
  • We swapped out butter for sunflower oil.
  • We added butternut squash for a boost of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
  • We lowered the amount of sugar added to the recipe – only 1/3rd cup.
    • Some recipes call for 3 cups of sugar!
    • We swapped out the sugar with apple sauce.  You can also use fruit such as figs or dates, fruit puree or vanilla extract to cut back on sugar in a recipe.
  • We used whole wheat/white flour to add more fiber and still make it appealing to kids.
  • We added only a teaspoon of salt for 24 muffins.
  • We included cinnamon for added sweetness and flavor.