Warm Up With Winter Squash Recipes

Cultivate Michigan, a campaign of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network (the Network) celebrates the variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors of winter squash. The Ecology Center is one of the primary coordinators of the Network. Cultivate Michigan, designed to connect local farmers with local food-purchasing institutions, chose winter squash as one of its four annually highlighted foods due to its ease of storage, nutritional value, and versatility in the kitchen. Read below for tips and delicious recipes.

From Cultivate Michigan:

Facts and Tips

  • Michigan ranks first nationally in total acres of winter squash production, third in fresh winter squash production, and first for winter squash processing.
  • Squash are one of the oldest cultivated crops in the Western Hemisphere. Seeds found in Mexico have been dated as far back as 10,000 years.
  • Winter squash can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to three months. Squash stores best with part of the stem still attached to help retain moisture. Once cut open, store squash wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to four to five days.
  • Winter squash is a tasty source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, potassium, niacin, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and beta-carotene.

Acorn Squash Bowls

Yield: 8 servings. ¼ squash each


2 small acorn squash

1 cups applesauce, unsweetened

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash and halve the squash and remove seeds. Place halves on baking sheets, cut-side down. Cover and cook about 6 to 9 minutes, rotating the dish halfway through. Scrape flesh from each squash half into a bowl. Add applesauce, cinnamon, brown sugar and nuts to bowl and mix. Spoon mixture evenly into squash halves and place on baking sheets. Cook about 2 to 3 more minutes to heat thoroughly.

Recipe adapted from: Neufeld, N., Henry, S., Lawrence, What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Squash Spaghetti

Yield: 4-6 servings


2 pounds spaghetti squash

3  1/3 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon olive oil blend

1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place skin side up on a perforated baking pan and steam for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cooked squash rest at room temperature for a few minutes. Once squash is cooled slightly, using a fork, scrape the centers of the squash into a large bowl. Stir butter, oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper into squash. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with appropriate sauce, such as pesto, marinara or roasted pepper coulis.

Recipe adapted from Michigan State University Residential and Hospitality Services.

Visit Cultivate Michigan's Winter Squash page for a guide to the different squashes and for basic winter squash preparation tecgniques.