Thanksgiving dishes – Squash it all out


thanksgiving-butternut-squash | by Forest Starr and Kim Starr via Creative Commons












The fourth Thursday of November is near, and it is time once again for browsing Thanksgiving menu ideas. Food preparation seems the most exciting part of the Thanksgiving Day. During this period we take advantage of the harvest time for squash, and why not use it as the main ingredient in most of the meals that we will serve for the feast?

Squash belongs to the gourd family of Cucurbita, but in this post I will stick to the most popular winter squash, the butternut squash. Let’s find out the benefits of eating this squash and which food recipes we can serve for the Thanksgiving meal.

Health Benefits

For every cup of cooked butternut squash, we get so many important nutrients for our bodies – e.g. vitamin A, C, Omega-3 fatty acids. This type of squash is low in fat and provides enough dose of dietary fiber. It is also a good source of potassium, about 582 milligrams for every cup, which is equal to 17 per cent of Daily Reference Intake (DRI).

This is a perfect ingredient for healthy Thanksgiving dishes because it is rich in vitamins A, B6, and C which are needed by our body. It is said that it is the only squash in the Cucurbitaceae family providing at least 354% RDA of vitamin A at 10630 IU per 100 grams. You can fight and prevent nervous and immune systems diseases as well as cancer and macular degeneration by including squash on your meal not only on Thanksgiving but on many days of the week.

The Recipes

I have selected 3 Thanksgiving recipes from Food Network and that will satisfy your taste buds. Complete your table with Thanksgiving appetizers, side dishes, and a main course that your family and guests will share all together for the festive meal.


Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette


1 (1 ½ pound) butternut squash, peeled and ¾-inch diced

Olive oil

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

3 tablespoons dried cranberries

¾ cup apple cider (or apple juice)

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry

½ cup walnuts halves, toasted

¾ cup grated Parmesan


While preparing and combining the ingredients, make sure to preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204.44 degrees Celsius).

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan then add olive oil (2 tablespoons), maple syrup, salt (1 teaspoon), and pepper (½ teaspoon). Toss. For 15-20 minutes, roast the squash until tender and then add the cranberries. Cook for another 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar and shallots while roasting the squash. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cook the mixture for 6-8 minutes or until it measures to about ¼ cup. Remove from heat. Whisk in the mustard, olive oil (½ cup), salt (1 teaspoon), and pepper (½ teaspoon).

Add the roasted squash mixture on the arugula in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan. Toss well with enough amount of vinaigrette on the salad mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Curried Butternut Squash Soup


2 halves roasted butternut squash

2 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon curry powder

Salt and ground black pepper

Lime Cream, recipe provided below

Lime zest to garnish, optional


Scoop out the roasted butternut squash flesh using a spoon.

Combine broth, butternut squash, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring over medium heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Puree soup using an immersion blender until smooth in texture. Transfer in a bowl or divide the puree in bowls. Add a spoonful of Lime Crema and garnish with lime zest if desired.

How to make Lime Crema: Combine ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream, ¼ teaspoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl. Whisk, and then serve over the Curried Butternut Squash Soup.


Spicy Spaghetti Squash


1 small spaghetti squash, halved and seeded

1 tablespoon Olive oil

½ cup minced onion

3 cloves minced garlic

12 ounces ground white meat turkey

1 cup crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons red wine

2 teaspoons capers

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


While preparing all the ingredients, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).

Bake the squash placing each half-cut side down on a cookie sheet for about 45-60 minutes or until a fork goes easily into the shell. Set aside to cool before scooping out the strands using a tablespoon.

Place the skillet over medium-high heat with some olive oil. Sauté onion, garlic, and scallions for 2 minutes. Add the turkey and cook for 4 minutes and then add the tomatoes and wine. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.

Simmer for another 5 minutes after adding the capers, oregano, red pepper flakes, and parsley.

Reheat the squash for 2-3 minutes if it is too cool. Pour the sauce. Serve.

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