Squash + Gourds

Picking out a squash at the farmers' market or grocery store can feel overwhelming. There are hundreds of varieties out there and they all differ in shape, size and color. It's a little easier to choose once you know that squash are divided into two subgroups: tender summer squash and hearty winter squash. Summer squash include easy-to-chop options like zucchini and pattypan. Winter squash, on the other hand, require a bit more elbow grease to prepare. They usually have a thicker skin—think pumpkins, spaghetti squash and butternut squash—that can be removed with a sharp vegetable peeler or a chef's knife. Gourds generally have a skin similar to winter squash and though they're often ornamental, some varieties are edible. F&W's guide to squash and gourds gives you the best chef-inspired recipes, offers tips for decorating your holiday table with gourds, and suggests unexpected ways to use both these members of the Cucurbitaceae family.

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12 Kabocha Squash Recipes to Keep in Your Back Pocket
Whether it plays a starring role, or is combined with other squash such as acorn or butternut, kabocha squash lends itself to all kinds of wonderful recipes. Purée it with carrots for the perfect holiday side dish, or turn it into crispy fritters paired with a yuzu-garlic dipping sauce. Roast it with maple syrup and fresh ginger, vanilla butter, or a simple combination of extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper (to be finished with crispy bulgur crumbs). Whichever method you choose, you'll have delicious results. Read on for even more kabocha squash recipes we love.
Squash Seed Flour
Rating: Unrated 1
This homemade alternative flour is a great way to use up leftover squash and pumpkin seeds. Dehydrating leftover squash and pumpkin seeds in the oven leaves them just dry enough to blitz them into a multipurpose, protein-rich flour meal that highlights their nutty, sweet, and lightly vegetal flavor. Stir it into the Spicy Squash Seed Sprinkle, or add to baked quick breads, cookies, or biscuits.
Pickled Garlicky Spaghetti Squash
Strands of mild, lightly savory baked spaghetti squash get the quick-pickle treatment in a punchy brine packed with thyme, rosemary, garlic, and chile. The squash keeps its pleasant bite, resulting in a slaw-like crunch perfect for a cheeseboard or a roast pork sandwich. For the longest strands, cut the squash into rings and pull them apart by gently picking at the strands rather than scraping.
Butternut Squash and Pork Soup with Fish Sauce and Tender Herbs
Rating: Unrated 3
In Vietnam, kabocha squash is simmered with pork to make a soup called canh bi do thit heo. This riff on that classic dish swaps in mild butternut, which holds its shape well and absorbs the rich flavors of the broth and pork while cooking quickly. Filled with tender ground pork marinated in fish sauce and sugar, this aromatic, brothy soup comes together in under an hour for a light and satisfying meal.
Candied Pumpkins with Piloncillo and Cinnamon
Rating: Unrated 1
Calabaza en tacha, a Mexican dessert traditionally prepared for Día de los Muertos, was the inspiration for these candied pumpkins drenched with a rich syrup made from piloncillo cones, an unrefined, molasses-laden Mexican cane sugar. Small sugar pie pumpkins have more concentrated sugars, making them perfect for this simple dessert. As the pumpkin wedges cool, they soak up the syrup, resulting in custardy bites laced with cinnamon, clove, and a hint of orange. Serve leftovers mashed in a yogurt or ice cream parfait, churned into pumpkin ice cream, or alongside gingerbread cookies with crema drizzled on top.
Greens-and-Cheese-Stuffed Cinderella Pumpkin
Inspired by Cassie Piuma's squash spanakopita at her restaurant, Sarma, in Somerville, Massachusetts, this stuffed pumpkin is filled with a nutty, creamy blend of Gruyère and feta cheeses; sweet, anise-scented fennel; and hearty green lacinato kale for a stunning vegetarian main dish fit for any holiday table. After roasting and before stuffing, scrape the inside of the pumpkin to loosen about 3 cups of the sweet, tender flesh to yield a flavorful base for the kale filling. Use a gentle hand when scraping to leave the pumpkin walls intact.

More Squash + Gourds

Winter Squash-and-Shallot Tart
This elegant tart is just the thing to serve for dinner on a chilly night. The rich, cheesy filling is packed with sweet cubes of butternut squash and savory shallots, and lightened by the acidity of the sherry vinegar and brightness of the lemon zest. A peppery arugula salad tops it off.
Our 10 Best Pumpkin Soup Recipes
Nothing says #thisisfall like creamy, velvety pumpkin soup. Here, Food & Wine's top 10 best pumpkin soup recipes to make during the crisp, cool autumn months.
Whole Roasted Pumpkin with Green Beans and Red Curry Rice
Rating: 2.5 stars

Long Island cheese pumpkins have deep, vibrant orange flesh and a sweet, nutty flavor. They roast smooth and creamy, making them the ideal squash for pies, purees, or serving as edible vessels for soups and curries. Here, rice is cooked to a risotto-like texture inside the pumpkin with red curry paste and coconut milk. Serve it as a hearty and warming main course or as a side dish for roast fish or pork. Bring the whole pumpkin to the table on a rimmed baking sheet or platter, and spoon the saucy rice, studded with spoonfuls of tender pumpkin, into shallow bowls. Be sure to line the baking sheet well, as the pumpkin may release juices during baking.