5 reasons to choose squash:

• These seasonal favorites are rich in Vitamin A and carotenoids, which have been shown to benefit heart health and immunity while promoting healthy skin.

• Squash is a good source of fiber, which may help keep blood sugars stable.

• Menu ideas vary from sweet to savory; you can even use the flesh of spaghetti squash as an alternative to traditional pasta noodles.

• Winter squash is loaded with Vitamin C, making it the perfect flu-fighting food during flu season.

• Most winter squash varieties are naturally sweet, making them a great food to try with kids.

 

Squash rounds with shallot-cider sauce

Serves 6

All you need:

• 1 (3 pound) butternut squash, with a 6-inch-long neck (see Shopping Tip)

• 2 tablespoons canola oil

• 2 cups thinly sliced shallots, (8 to 10 medium)

• 1 teaspoon light brown sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup apple cider

• 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tip)

All you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cut off the neck of the squash and peel it. Slice into twelve 1/2-inch thick rounds; remove any stray fibrous threads or seeds in the centers. (Reserve the rest of the squash for another use, such as squash puree). Place the squash rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, brown sugar and salt and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring often, until the shallots are softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in cider and vinegar and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.

To serve, place 1 squash round on a small plate and top with about 2 1/2 tablespoons shallot sauce. Place a second round on top and finish with another 2 1/2 tablespoons of sauce and a sprinkling of walnuts. Repeat with the remaining squash, shallot sauce and walnuts.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the sauce (Step 4); cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Reheat just before serving.

Shopping Tip: Look for a squash with a long slender neck like a goose—at least 6 inches long and about 3 inches wide.

Tip: To toast chopped walnuts, heat a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 203 calories, 11g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 203mg sodium, 25g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 4 g protein.

 

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.