Everyday Superfoods – Squash (+ Cranberry Squash Salad Recipe)

My superstar blogger Leigh brings us this amazing feature and recipe on squash, just in time for winter too!

Everyday Superfoods – Squash

Winter is nearly here, and as the temperature drops we naturally turn to heavier, cooked foods such as starches to adapt to the colder weather. Winter squashes are a lovely example of a nourishing fall food, and can be found grown locally in Ontario during this time of year. There are over 20 varieties of winter squash, from Butternut, to Spaghetti, Kabocha, Delicata, Acorn, Hokkaido, and the list goes on!

Since there are so many varieties, I will give you the low down on the nutrient profile of a squash you are likely familiar with: butternut. One half cup serving, baked, contains half your daily requirement for vitamin A, in its precursor form beta carotene. Butternut squash is low in calories (43 calories per serving), but high in vitamin C (~25% of daily needs), and contains significant iron and vitamin B6, two hard to get nutrients for many. Another key nutrient is potassium, making squash an optimal food to help support blood pressure regulation.

Try out this recipe using your favourite type of squash, making for a great dish to bring or serve at a holiday party. Another bonus is this recipe uses the often discarded squash seeds. High in protein, iron and zinc, they are another everyday superfood on their own.

Warm Cranberry-Squash Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette


-1 squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1-inch-thick pieces

-1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

-2 tablespoons olive oil

-1 teaspoons brown sugar

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1/2 cup dried cranberries

-3-4 handfuls arugula or mixed greens

-toasted squash seeds*

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette:

-1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

-1/4 teaspoon garlic clove, finely grated

-1/8 teaspoon salt

-1/8 teaspoon black pepper

-1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

-3 tablespoons olive oil

Place squash into baking dish. Mix balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add to squash and toss to combine. Place baking dish in oven at 425 F for 30 minutes. Add cranberries to squash mixture for the remaining 5 minutes.

While squash is roasting, make dressing. Place all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously to combine.

Once squash is cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Place greens into a large salad bowl. Add squash mixture, roasted seeds, and vinaigrette. Lightly toss salad and serve.

*Toasted Squash Seeds

Squash seeds (flesh discarded)

1 tsp olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Mix squash seeds, olive oil and salt in a small bowl. Spread onto a baking sheet with aluminum foil, or oven safe frying pan. Toast in oven at 425 F for 20 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent burning.

Hope you guys enjoy yet another awesome recipe from Leigh!

Andy De Santis RD MPH