I love acorn squash. And butternut squash. And pumpkin. There’s more, but those are my top three. So good for you, so hearty.winter squash

The trouble is, they intimidate so many people. All you need is a knife, a spoon, a plate, and a microwave. In this short post, I want to break down those intimidations and get a lip-smacking mouthful of this vegetable into your mouth. Deal?

In this short post, I want to break down those intimidations and get a lip-smacking mouthful of this vegetable into your mouth in about 15 minutes. Deal?

Pick up one or two on your next grocery store trip. Pop them in your cart. Don’t worry. They keep for a long, long time on your counter or pantry. You don’t have to have plans to make it this week! I’m a spontaneous cook. I make what I feel like eating. So I like to have one ready.

Now, let’s introduce the concept of microwaving as a shortcut to the hour-plus-baking most recipes require. If microwaves are not something you feel comfortable using, then Link text for an excellent recipe (I’d┬ádouble the cinnamon, add a teaspoon of nutmeg and a tablespoon of ground flax seed if I were you).

Pop your acorn squash in the microwave and cook it for three minutes. This softens the outer skin, making it easier to cut open. ┬áRemove the squash and place it on a cutting board. Using a large sharp knife, a chef’s knife if you have one, slice the squash open. I like following its natural ribs but it doesn’t really matter. Cut it the way you want to see it on your plate: circle or oval. Use an ice cream scoop or loop cutting tool (the Pampered Chef has a nice one) to remove the seeds. Place face side down on a microwaveable place. Add a thin layer of water and microwave for 5-6 minutes for one squash, 10 minutes for two.

Pour off the water. Turn squash over on the plate. If one of the halves doesn’t sit well, slice off a thin strip from the underside. Add a drizzle of brown sugar and/or maple syrup for some sweetness. If you have leftover sauteed or caracorn squash, winter squashamelized onions in your fridge, add those and most any other leftover veggie that no one is going to eat. If you want this to be a meal, add some diced cooked meat or marinated tofu. Dice an apple and divide it unevenly (just to be different) between the halves. Add a half-teaspoon to 1 tsp. of cinnamon and nutmeg to each half. Crunch up some walnuts, cashews, or pecans and sprinkle in each cavity. Top with a generous spoonful of ground flax seed, pumpkin seeds, and/or sunflower seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Red pepper flakes are optional.

acorn squash microwaved in minutes

Walnuts, cinnamon, and butter enrich acorn squash, for starters.

Pop back in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. No need to cover them. Enjoy!

It’s one of my favorite lunches.