Pumpkin and squash – they’re not just great for making pie and occupying your roasting pan – they’re also fabulous for filling you up and creating culinary magic in your kitchen. They just so happen to keep you and your wallet full too! While they may not be the newest pieces of produce on the block, that doesn’t mean they’re any less fabulous, and are worthy of every bit of your attention. But let’s face it – sometimes we need something new, a refreshment of some sorts. The best way to end food boredom is to take a basic ingredient and make something new with it. Don’t keep baking your potatoes and boiling your broccoli, basically. Cut some potatoes and roast them into fries, slice them into rounds and make something fancy. Roast broccoli and even bake it into burgers – now that’s exciting, folks!

You can do the same with pumpkin and squash, or any veggie (and fruit) really. Pumpkin and squash are commonly eaten this time of year so why not take the opportunity now to create them into something new and make things exciting. What do say?

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Here are five fantastic new ways to use that butternut, acorn, pumpkin, kabocha, delicata, turban, buttercup, and any other squash that suits your fancy!

1. Stuff It

How to Cook with Squash

If you’ve never had stuffed squash, you’re truly missing out. Squash has the unique feature of being able to be sliced and used as the perfect housing compartment to whatever flavors and textures your little heart desires. Whether it be hearty grains like wild rice with some sliced almonds and dried cranberries, or perhaps some savory mushrooms with grilled vegetables and nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor. Oh yeh, now we’re talking! Try Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf, Stuffed Kabocha Squash with Quinoa and ChickpeasStuffed Sage Carnival Squash, Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wheat Berries, Pine Nuts, and Sage, or just place some roasted tomatoes, salsa, or even some grilled artichokes inside and mix and match whatever flavors you happen to enjoy.

2. Mash It

How to Cook with Squash

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Mashed potatoes and creamed cauliflower aren’t the only way to serve up a succulent puree. Use squash and make a mean squash mash with nothing more than your squash (or pumpkin) of choice and non-dairy milk. Use a little vegan butter or coconut oil if you need some healthy fats, and spice things up with some fresh garlic and black pepper for extra appeal. Not only is mashed squash just as delicious as mashed potatoes are, but using squash in place of mashed potatoes also lowers the glycemic index, increases the fiber, and ups the Vitamin A (beta-carotene) and antioxidant powers.  You can also use mashed pumpkin or squash before seasoning and add it to baked goods of any kind, savory or sweet. May we suggest Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cornbread Squares, Squash Cakes, or even Chocolate Chip Pecan Pumpkin Bread?

3. Slice It Up

Butternut-Squash-Noodle-with-Coconut-Curry-520W

You can slice squash or pumpkin into strips before baking it and make fries, just like you would potatoes or slice it into strips and make a noodle salad if you don’t own a spiralizer. Butternut squash fries are pretty awesome, gotta say, and there’s something cool about coating them in some flax meal, chickpea flour, or even some ground almond meal for faux fries without worrying about artery clogging effects! You can also just roast them in strips sprinkled with some seasonings of choice if you don’t want to use a coating. Their starchy texture holds up well like potatoes and provides a much healthier alternative. Or, slice it into pasta strips and use in place of lasagna noodles such as in Butternut Squash Lasagna.

4. Spiralize It!

How to Cook with Squash

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Pumpkin and squash can also be spiralized into noodles, just like sweet potatoes and zucchini. Butternut squash noodles anyone? Yum! They go amazing with some homemade tomato sauce for a healthier spaghetti, or you can get extra fancy and make a vegan alfredo sauce if you wish. Or, if you’re like most of us, generally topped with anything edible will do.

5. Blend Them

Ways to Use Squash

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Pureed squash (especially pumpkin) goes pretty deliciously in smoothies if you haven’t tried them that way yet. Butternut squash also works well, especially when it’s already been cooked plain. You can also use the pureed forms at the store if that works too. Both squash and pumpkin pair nice with avocados or bananas for a starchy (yet healthy), thick and creamy smoothie. Use cinnamon, cacao, and vanilla for a total flavor hit. Make a High-Protein Pumpkin Pie Detox Smoothie, a Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie, or use squash in place of bananas in any smoothie recipe if you’re not into a lot of fruit in your blended drinks.

Oh pumpkin and squash, let us count the ways we love you!

What’s your favorite way to use pumpkin and squash? Think outside the box and let us know in the comments!

Lead Image Source: Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cornbread Squares

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