In part 2 of this series I detailed the bulk meal preparation process, but now you need the recipes. Let’s start with the baked squash and sweet potato recipes.
Be sure to read all the way to the end for some great tips and my ‘secret’ to making squash and sweet potato extra sweet, without adding any sweeteners or flavourings!
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Squash and Sweet Potato Recipes
Baked Squash & Sweet Potatoes
- 1 large squash butternut or spaghetti squash are my favourites
- 6 small sweet potatoes
Pre-heat your oven to 350 or 375°F
Wash the skin of the squash and the sweet potatoes. Use a veggie brush (or a soft nylon-type scrubber/sponge) to remove dirt and to avoid any contamination when cutting the squash in half. If you buy organic, you can safely eat the skin of the sweet potato, but only if washed very well.
Using a large chef’s knife, or a butcher’s knife, cut the squash in half down its length.
Use a spoon to carefully remove the seeds and the string-like fibre.
We're going to keep this simple: no oils or seasonings on the squash. Put the veggies in the oven on the bottom rack with space between them for even cooking. Use a sheet of tinfoil under the sweet potatoes to prevent dripping.
The vegetables will take 45-60 minutes to cook depending on size. Turn the sweet potatoes every 15-20 minutes and set a timer to remind you to do this.
How to check for doneness: Using a straight meat fork, or a regular fork, if you can gently slide the prongs into the vegetables without any resistance they're cooked.
Using oven mitts remove the veggies from the oven and let cool for 20 to 30 minutes on a wire rack.
To prevent the vegetables from dripping in your oven,
- Use a length of tinfoil to cover the oven rack and place the sweet potatoes on top. You can do the same for the squash but it's not necessary.
- Use left over tinfoil pie plates or a thin baking sheet.
If you're done your bulk cooking (for your sequence you might want to cook the squash towards the end, for this reason) turn off the oven and leave the squash and sweet potatoes to cook with the dwindling heat, oven-door closed, for another 15 to 20 minutes. The extra heat releases more of the natural sugars. If you don't want this take the veggies out of the oven when cooked.
Storing Cooked Squash
- Squash keeps in the fridge for about 5 to 6 days
- One of the benefits of the extra cooking time (per above) is that you can more easily remove the skin from an acorn or butternut squash. Manually remove the skin and discard. Put the squash in a container and cut into chunks or mash with a fork, or a potato masher.
- For spaghetti squash, use a large spoon to scoop out the squash and put into a container. This is where spaghetti squash gets its name — it comes out looking like strands of spaghetti. Scrape all the way to the bottom of the skin, which is now more like a hard shell.
Storing Cooked Sweet Potatoes
- With the skins on in a storage container in the fridge (let cool first)
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes: let the sweet potatoes cool for 20-30 minutes before removing the skin by hand. Mash the potatoes with the juice of half a lemon (which keeps them from going brown), add salt, pepper and preferably fresh-ground nutmeg (you will need a nutmeg grater and whole nutmeg).
- If not eating immediately transfer to a food storage container and put in the fridge.
Seasoning Options for Squash
- Squash tastes so good on its own I challenge you to cook it as is
- Pour a teaspoon of sesame oil or extra virgin coconut oil into the well of the squash where the seeds were. Using your fingers rub the oil over the flesh of the squash. Wash your hands and add fresh ground pepper and a dash of quality sea salt (I like Celtic sea salt).