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Butternut Squash

Butternut is just one variety of many types of winter squash. It's the star of the squash world because it's packed with the greatest amount of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that's essential for maintaining the integrity of skin and optimum eye-sight. Foods like squash, which are naturally rich in vitamin A, have been shown to reduce the risk of lung and oral cancers. Butternut squash seeds are a good source of dietary fiber, as well as monounsaturated fatty acids that help to promote heart health. A delicious variety of autumn squash, including butternut squash can be found at the Country Garden Farm Stand in Bridgehampton.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

1 medium butternut squash (3 cups cubed)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Sea salt, to taste
2/3 cup raw chopped pecans
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 cups roughly chopped baby kale or baby spinach
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Drizzle of olive oil, optional
2 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Preheat oven to 425°F. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer of a medium butternut squash. Cut in half vertically and scoop out pulp and seeds. Lay squash halves cut side down on cutting board to cut squash in 1-inch cubes. Arrange squash cubes on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with rosemary, thyme, and sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil, and then toss by hand, spreading squash in one layer on baking sheet. Roast for 25-40 minutes, until soft, and then allow to cool completely. While butternut squash is cooling, arrange pecans on a separate small baking sheet. Toast for 8-9 minutes (watch carefully), until aromatic and lightly golden. Allow pecans to cool completely. When squash and pecans are cool, make salad. Measure quinoa into a large bowl that can be covered and stored in the refrigerator. Add butternut squash, pecans, cranberries, and kale. In a separate small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil, and honey. Drizzle over the quinoa mixture and use a spoon to thoroughly mix ingredients together.

Harvest Veggie Squash Stew

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can small red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced in 1/4-inch slices (half-moons)
6 ounces (1/2 box) small whole-grain pasta, cooked to directions and cooled
2 cups water
2 cups baby spinach

Sauté onion and garlic in 3 Tablespoons of vegetable broth until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add all the seasonings and stir well. Then add the rest of the vegetable broth and butternut squash and bring to a low boil for about 10 minutes or until butternut is tender, checking it with a fork. Blend all with an immersion blender to smooth consistency. Add the tomatoes, beans, and zucchini and continue to cook on low heat about 30 minutes. Add the pasta and water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer on low 10 minutes. Toss in the spinach for the last few minutes until it wilts.