I only recently discovered delicata squash!
One of my friends gave me one to try and I had to look up how to cook it! After roasting it, delicata became my favorite squash. Unlike a butternut squash, you can eat the skin of a delicata, making it much less of a hassle. The flavor is buttery and rich, I like to add it to salads and bowls. It can elevate a plain old rice and beans type dinner or lunch. In terms of opinion on winter squash, researchers at the University of Kentucky took a “Winter Squash Variety Evaluation”. They questioned a panel of students on different aspects of winter squash, “the hubbard, delicata, and banana squash consumer panel consisted of seven Master Gardener students of who, 71% purchase winter squash for consumption, and 29% for decoration” (Strang et al, 69). The delicata squash rated very well in the panel, “All of the cooked delicata squash were considered visually appealing (range = 3.3 to 3.9) but Delicata JS ranked highest for texture (mean = 3.5) and flavor (mean = 3.7) compared to the others. Two-thirds (67%) reported being likely or very likely to purchase delicata squash in the future” (Strang et al, 69). I bet you’ll feel the same as the students in this panel when you try delicata squash!
In addition to how much delicata squash is liked, it’s also good for you! Brent Loy in his paper “Maximizing Yield and Eating Quality in Winter Squash - A Grower’s Paradox” talks about the benefits of delicata squash, “other than providing carbohydrates and a good source of dietary fiber, the major nutritional benefit of squash is the high content of carotenoids, the yellow to orange, fat-soluble pigments Beta-carotene, an abundant carotenoid in several varieties of squash, is an important precursor to Vitamin A, an essential vitamin for human development and eye function” (Loy). He also points out how important it is to take care of the plant on the agriculture side to ensure the maximum benefits for the consumer, “under conditions of poor plant health or premature harvest, movement of carbohydrates from the fleshy mesocarp tissue to seeds can reduce flesh quality substantially, especially in varieties with inherently low dry matter (Loy). If you haven’t tried delicata squash I hope this post inspires you!
Makes 2 bowls
1 small delicata squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup brown jasmine rice
2 cups arugula
Salt to taste
1 cup parsley
1 cup cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne (or more if you want it spicy)
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fareinheit. Slice the delicata squash ½ inch thick. Cut out the soft, seedy center. Place on a baking sheet and top with olive oil and salt. Make sure every piece is coated and roast for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway.
2. While roasting start the rice and cook according to package instructions.
3. For the chermoula, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
4. Split the rice, arugula and delicata onto two plates and top both with chermoula. Enjoy!
Loy, Brent. “Maximizing Yield and Eating Quality in Winter Squash - A Grower’s Paradox” University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
Strang, John, Chris Smigell, and John Snyder. “Winter Squash Variety Evaluation” University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA