Chef Susur Lee is renowned for his creative, complex, Asian-inflected dishes at his restaurants in Toronto and Singapore. But one of his favorite cold-weather comfort recipes is this remarkably simple squash soup, which he sweetens with a little honey and garnishes with roasted pumpkin seeds.
Anna Thomas’s 1970s book, The Vegetarian Epicure, is iconic; updated in the ’90s and rechristened The New Vegetarian Epicure, it focuses on recipes for entertaining. One of her latest dishes is this crusty baked polenta, swirled with mashed butternut squash and smoked Gouda cheese.
Quinoa is definitely a superfood: A grain-like seed, it’s a “complete” protein containing all eight essential amino acids (another plus: it cooks much more quickly than most grains). To create a terrific vegetarian main course, Michael Symon of Cleveland’s Lola tosses quinoa with arugula, apple, raisins and fresh herbs, then spoons the salad into a halved baked squash (a great source of iron and vitamins A and C).
This unusual salad mixes paper-thin slices of raw butternut squash with slivers of prosciutto, chunks of Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts. If the squash isn’t completely fresh, blanch the ribbons in boiling water for 2 minutes to soften them slightly and bring out their flavor.
“This pasta,” Mario Batali says, “always propels me into fall.” You can substitute pumpkin or hubbard squash—whichever looks more beautiful at your market—for the butternut. “Cook the squash until it’s soft but not falling apart—you don’t want al dente squash, but you don’t want mush either,“ Batali says.
At Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s Tavern in Los Angeles, chef Julie Robles makes this vegetarian gratin in individual dishes with a topping of candied pepitas (pumpkin seeds). This version is for one big gratin garnished with plain toasted pumpkin seeds.
Fragrant Indian spices—coriander, turmeric and black mustard seeds—are a wonderful accent for creamy mashed butternut squash. The squash can be roughly smashed until chunky, or thoroughly mashed until smooth.
Barbara Lynch isn’t choosy about which squash to include in this deeply flavored dish, which gets finished with a sage-infused cream sauce—she goes with whichever varieties look best at the farmers’ market—but butternut and delicata are among her favorites.