Veggin’ out

Although the weather has been unpredictable, fall has arrived. And with fall, comes all the yummy flavors of the season, like apple, squash and pumpkin. Hot soups, casseroles, apple cider and pumpkin-flavored everything are on the tops of many recipe lists and restaurant menus.

I love the flavors of fall, which makes it hard to just pick a couple recipes to share with you. Last year at this time, I was showing you how to make vegan candy for Halloween. Mmmmmm! But this year, I think I’ll go in a more healthy direction.

Sometimes I get into food “kicks” and eat the same type of food, but prepare it differently each time. Since it’s fall, I’ve been craving squash. Most of the time I just cut it up into blocks and roast it in the oven with a little olive oil salt and pepper and serve as a side dish. Or I’ll do the same and maybe throw some brown sugar on it to give it a candy taste.

But I wanted to try something new, so I’ve been scanning the Internet, looking for new recipes and interesting ways to prepare squash.

Everyone who knows me, knows I love french fries! (Did I just say healthy? Bare with me). But here is a healthier version I found from Martha Stewart, using butternut squash instead of potatoes. The prep time is quick, but they do take quite a bit of time in the oven. But they are worth it!

Butternut squash fries

1 medium butternut squash

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare butternut squash; cut into 1/2-inch-wide sticks. On a baking sheet, combine squash with olive oil and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, and spread squash in a single layer. Roast until fork-tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro.

Another favorite food of mine are lentils. And what better for the coming cold weather, but a nice lentil and squash stew. I found this recipe on

Red lentil and squash curry stew

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 sweet onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder (or more to taste)

1 carton vegetable broth (4 cups)

1 cup red lentils

3 cups cooked butternut squash

1 cup greens of choice (kale goes nicely with this recipe)

Fresh grated ginger, to taste (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook squash until it is just beginning to soften, about five minutes.

In a large pot, add the olive oil, chopped onion and minced garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes over low-medium heat.

Stir in curry powder and cook another couple of minutes. Add broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in cooked butternut squash and greens. Cook over medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and add some freshly grated ginger to taste.

Reppert is the Lifestyle and Education Editor at the Sun-Gazette. Her column prints on the second Wednesday of each month in the Food section.