squash - Related Content

Three Sisters Soup

Monday, October 16th 2023 6:00 am


Ingredients:  There is no set recipe, but some recommendations are indicated.  Use your experience of soup making to adjust the amounts, if you like!  
2 T olive oil  
1 medium onion, diced
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
4 C chicken or vegetable broth
1 14 oz can fire roasted or regular tomatoes
2 C cubed red or sweet potatoes, removing skin is optional
2-3 C any peeled cubed winter squash
1 ½ C corn, frozen or kernels cut fresh off the ears
1 15 o can black beans, drained or 1 C dry beans, soaked in water overnight 
1 chopped jalapeño, with or without seeds
1 tsp chipotle powder or 1 T sauce from canned chipotles in adobo sauce, adds a nice smokey heat
bay leaf 
1 tsp cumin or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat add oil and onions.  Saute for 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. 
Add broth, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, corn, beans, seasonings and jalapeno.
Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 50 minutes or until beans and squash are tender. 
Check every 15 minutes or so.  Add more broth or water as needed to maintain the consistency you like and to prevent burning. 

Use summer squash.  Bring the recipe into spring and summer by subbing out winter squash for zucchini and crook neck squash.
Explore different beans: Black-eyed peas, pinto or kidney beans work well.
Use fresh beans: If you’re not into dried or canned legumes, use fresh green or waxed beans.
Try canned hominy, instead of sweet corn.
Add chilis, canned or fresh, to enhance this soup. Go for mild or spicy.
Thicken the soup by adding some masa harina toward the end of cooking to give the soup body and more corn flavor. Or, using an immersion blender, blend just a portion of the soup to thicken it up.  You can even blend canned pumpkin into the soup stock.
Add animal protein such as shredded pork, chicken or sausage of your choice, such as chorizo.
Add cheese.  This is not traditional, but shavings of queso, Parmesan, or other aged cheese add another dimension of flavor.
Make it vegan by using water or vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock.

This recipe has been adapted from The View from Great Island by Sue Moran who moved from LA to Great Island, NH to Madison, Wisconsin.  Sue loves Midwestern food culture and being near the biggest farmer's market in the country.  Her summer version of Three Sisters' Soup is pictured above.

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There is no one authentic recipe for this soup ~ it can be made, and is made, in a variety of ways, with different combinations of ‘sisters’. Recipes for it have been passed down through generations in tribes, and have become more modernized in the process. This version uses chicken broth and fire roasted tomatoes for a flavorful broth, potatoes for their satisfaction factor, jalapeño and chipotle powder for a little kick of heat, and black beans. Tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers are all indigenous crops, native to the Americas.

Three sisters soup celebrates the fall harvest  Three sisters refers to the combination of corn, beans, and squash, as well as to a native American companion planting technique that paired the three crops together for better productivity, and sustainable land use. The three foods have been staples in the diets of many tribes (from the Iroquois in the North, the Chickasaw in the South, and the Hopi and Navajo Nations in the Southwest) over the centuries, and this soup is a celebration of that magical trio. This hearty healthy soup provides a great story and learning opportunity as well!

Meet the three sisters. These three crops not only support each other as they grow, they have been critically important foods to Native Americans, and are particularly nourishing. In three sisters soup corn, beans and squash are a complete nutritional package with carbohydrates from the corn, protein from the beans (they provide the missing amino acids in the corn) and essential vitamins and minerals from the squash.
CORN ~ the tall corn provides support for the beans vines to grow on.
BEANS ~ add nitrogen into the soil to fertilize the corn and squash. These can be fresh or dried beans.
SQUASH ~ this refers to both winter and summer squash, both of which are low to the ground crops which provide shade to keep the ground moist and prevent weeds.
Speaking of Squash:

Check out the Seasoned Franciscan next week for how to roast squash seeds (even touch pumpkin seeds) and season them 5 ways. 

P.S.  If you haven’t yet seen Ken Burns' PBS special on "The American Buffalo", it is another learning invitation for all white people.  It isn't just about Bison as food.  Burns thoughtfully tells the story of the history and tragedy of this important lifegiving animal in Native history and that of our country.  It is often difficult to watch, but Burns offers both challenge and hope.  VLK

Summer Squash Casserole

Monday, August 22nd 2022 6:00 am

Summer Squash Casserole

Here’s an easy Summer Squash Casserole with roots in the southern U.S. Read on to meet southern chef Vivian Howard, view her “Old School Squash and Onions” recipe and hear her stories.

Makes 8 - 10 side dish servings. If you don’t need 8-10 servings, you could make two casseroles and share one with a friend!

3 lb. yellow squash (4 small), cut in 1 / 4” thick slices
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2  large eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 C mayonnaise
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1 T  chopped fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp dried) OR 1 tsp dried dill weed
3 T butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 1/2  sleeves round butter crackers, such as Ritz, broken (about 3 C)
1/4 C  grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Combine squash and onion on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Toss well to combine. Cook for 25 minutes, until squash is slightly softened and has released its liquid. Drain the mixture through a colander. Press gently with paper towels to remove some extra moisture. Let cool a bit as you prepare other ingredients.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, thyme and black pepper and stir together. Fold in warm squash and onions (You don’t want them to be hot from the oven.). Transfer mixture to buttered 3-qt. baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes (You can do the recipe this far and store in the fridge to finish later. If doing so, add topping (step 3) and cook (step 4) in the microwave for about 15 minutes!).

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, cracker pieces and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle in an even layer top on top of the casserole. Return to the oven for 25 to 30 minutes more, until crackers are golden brown and the edges are bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Most produce is available year-round when shipped from warm climates. But, foods in their season are most delicious! Flavor is only one benefit of seasonal eating. The Seasoned Franciscan will explore them all.

In the Midwest, summer squash and onions are in season in late July/early August. Native to Central and South America as far back as 10,000 years ago, summer squash (from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means “eaten raw or uncooked) is a staple in Native American and Mexican cuisine.  Summer squash come in many varieties, shapes and sizes.  Smaller ones have a better texture, fewer large seeds and more concentrated flavor.  Larger ones are better suited to baking and stuffing.

Learn more:
Restaurant owner and cookbook author Vivian Howard is one of my favorite PBS chefs. She honors seasonal local foods and the African American and Indigenous roots of many southern soul food dishes, the connection between culture and food. Vivian makes this northern girl want to explore more food and culture stories of the south. When describing summer squash she says, it’s “not boring!” “She is elegant, feminine and delicious!” What a beautiful image! Find her Squash and Onions Recipe below or watch her make it herself. You might get interested in other southern foods that do well in northern gardens!

View Vivian’s by visiting youtube.com to watch her make it herself. (I used oil and butter instead of bacon fat and to make it a main dish added cooked ground turkey with Mexican spices. Any leftover meat will do!)

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Seed to Skin Squash Sage Pasta

Friday, August 5th 2022 5:46 pm

Seed to Skin Squash Sage Pasta

5–7 sage leaves
(or 1 tbsp dried sage)
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped (keep the skin and seeds)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled (save the skins for your vegetable stock or compost them)
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp paprika
3/4 Cup milk
1 pound pasta
Salt and pepper

To serve:
Handful of shredded kale


  1. Preheat your oven to 390 F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the sage, squash seeds and skins with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15–20 minutes. Remove from the tray once roasted and lightly crisped. Separate the sage, seeds and skins for later.
  3. Put your butternut squash, garlic and onion on the same baking tray with a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and the paprika. Roast in the oven for 40–45 minutes, until the edges begin to brown and crisp and the flesh is soft. Once ready, leave to cool on the baking tray.
  4. To a blender or food processor, add your roasted garlic and onion and half of the milk. Give this a good blend until smooth and creamy. Add the roasted butternut squash, a few leaves of roasted sage and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until thick and a bit chunky still – if you blend at a high speed continuously you’ll end up making a soup.
  5. Cook the pasta until tender (or cooked to your liking), then transfer to a serving bowl with heaping spoonfuls of the sauce and toss to coat evenly. Serve with the roasted pumpkin skins and toasted seeds. Adding a bit of leafy greens like shredded kale can really give this dish more nutritional value (we musn’t forget our greens).

While looking for new food scrap recipes, I came across this yummy-looking pasta. I haven't had a squash yet in order to try it, so if you do please let me know how it turns out! I'm really looking forward to fall and an end to summer's heat this year, so I wanted to post a fall recipe a little early. I think this one is intriguing since I'm used to eating squash seeds (I love roasted pumpkin seeds in the fall) but I've never thought to eat the skins. This recipe is adapted from Chef Max La Manna.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Mashed Butternut Squash

Monday, October 3rd 2022 6:00 am

Mashed Butternut Squash


1 large butternut squash, about 3 to 4 pounds
2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 T pure maple syrup plus additional to taste  (You may substitute brown sugar)
1 tsp kosher salt divided, plus additional to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper divided, plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg freshly grated if possible
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper optional
1/4 C almond milk or milk of choice use half and half or full-fat coconut milk for a richer flavor
2 T Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast optional but very good
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley optional

(Some seasonings, herbs and cheese are optional for your taste. Omit the black pepper, cayenne cheese and parsley, if you plan to use the mashed or pureed squash in sweet or dessert recipes!)


Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Wash and dry the squash. Trim off the top and bottom ends, then carefully slice it in half lengthwise. (No need to peel it.) Scoop out the seeds. Place it cut-side up on the prepared baking sheet,

Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the maple syrup. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, if using. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or longer depending upon the size of your squash, until very tender and the squash pierces easily with a fork. Let rest until cool enough to handle.

Carefully scoop out the flesh and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add spices of your choice:  nutmeg, cayenne, milk, Parmesan, parsley, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mash the butternut squash, either by hand with a potato masher, or with an electric hand mixer on low speed or stand mixer on low speed, until it is as smooth as you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like. Enjoy hot.

To store: Place leftover mashed butternut squash in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

To reheat: Gently rewarm mashed squash in a Dutch oven or skillet on the stove over medium-low heat, adding a splash of milk as needed for moisture. You can also rewarm this recipe in the microwave. 

To freeze: Store butternut squash in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

To make ahead: Cut the squash in half, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day in advance. You can also cut, roast, and scoop out the squash ahead of time. Store the roasted squash in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance, then finish the recipe as directed. 

Story:  Butternut Squash, one of the Three Sisters in American Indian cuisine, is a fall favorite to many!  Native American farmers planted Sister Corn to provide a sturdy stalk on which Sister Bean could climb.  Sister Squash with its big leaves shaded the ground around them all from hot sun and hungry animals. Original Local refers to the food ways of Native peoples, who called the western hemisphere home long before European settlers arrived.  On October 12, alongside Columbus Day, many communities celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day to recognize the culture, wisdom and contributions of those whose ancestors honored this land.  Perhaps we can celebrate with some ancient local foods like the 3 Sisters, cranberries, foraged greens, wild rice, fish or game.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

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