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3 Pumpkin & Squash Recipes for Fall

Winter squashes are more than just decorative doorstep elements during the fall season. This family of diverse squashes includes fall cooking staples like butternut, spaghetti, acorn, delicata and pumpkin. Unlike their summer squash counterparts like zucchini and yellow squash, they have a hard interior and exterior. Rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants, they’re nutritional powerhouses that can contribute to overall health and well-being.

A one-cup serving of winter squash packs in more than your daily need for vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A and helps support eye health and overall cell health.

Winter squash varieties are generally high in fiber. A high-fiber diet is linked to healthy digestion and may even assist in weight management. One cup of butternut squash packs in 3 grams of fiber, while a whole 4-inch acorn variety packs in 6 grams.

Winter squashes are versatile in the kitchen and can be used in savory soups, roasted as a side dish or incorporated into desserts like pies and muffins. Try one of these cozy recipes to reap the flavors and health benefits of this fall crop:

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Serves 4

This cozy fall salad is a satisfying side dish or star of the show if combined with protein. Butternut squash is roasted until tender and caramelized in heart-healthy olive oil, thyme and maple syrup for a hint of sweetness. It’s then tossed with a kale-based salad massaged in a maple thyme vinaigrette.

For the Salad


  • 1 butternut squash, 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups kale, chopped, stem removed
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup roasted hazelnuts or a nut of choice
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • ¼ cup maple thyme vinaigrette or vinaigrette of choice


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, add cubed butternut squash, olive oil, maple syrup and thyme, along with salt and pepper to taste. Toss until well combined.
  3. Add butternut squash to a lined baking sheet, making sure there’s space between the cubes. Roast for 15 minutes, flip using a spatula, then roast for another 15 minutes.
  4. While the squash is roasting, prepare the vinaigrette (recipe below). In a bowl, add kale, then dressing a little at a time, massaging the kale for about 20 seconds. Add other ingredients along with roasted squash.

For the Maple Thyme Vinaigrette


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Cracked Chocolate Pumpkin Overnight Oats

Serves 2

Overnight oats are a perfect nutrient-dense for those on the go. Oats are a heart-healthy base that’s packed with fiber and iron, which contribute to long-lasting energy. In this recipe, you get to enjoy cracking a shell of dark chocolate to get to the pumpkin magic.


  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup oat milk or other milk substitute
  • 1⁄4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2⁄3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup 60% dark chocolate chips (darker chocolate likely won’t melt)
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil


  1. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except chocolate and coconut oil.
  2. Pour the mixture into glass jars or other containers. Cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Pour chocolate chips and coconut oil into a small microwave-safe container. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir, repeating until chocolate runs easily but isn’t crumbly.
  4. Pour the chocolate over the overnight oats. Allow to set for 5 minutes in the fridge. Enjoy!

Arugula Pesto Drizzled Roasted Acorn Squash

Serves 4

A variety of squashes are in season in the fall months and the fruit keeps well through the holidays. They offer antioxidants, plenty of fiber and vitamin C and are a versatile crop for side dishes.

This recipe is an affordable crowd-pleaser using acorn squash and arugula for pesto. Substituting arugula for basil in this pesto, along with using breadcrumbs instead of some pine nuts, offers unique and delicious flavors but with less strain on the wallet.

Keep in mind that the peel of the squash is not edible. If you’d like an edible alternative, swap the acorn for delicata squash.

For the Roasted Acorn Squash


  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. parmesan, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Half the acorn squashes, then remove seeds and strings. With the acorn halves faced down, cut squash into ½ inch slices. Place squash slices onto a lined baking sheet.
  3. Mix olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a ramekin. Brush or gently drizzle the mixture onto the squash slices.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes or until fork tender and caramelized. While the squash is roasting, prepare the arugula pesto.
  5. Transfer squash to a serving dish, then drizzle the arugula pesto over it. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and serve. Enjoy!

For the Arugula Pesto


  • 1.5 cups arugula
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts (or substitute for all breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ cup parmesan, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add arugula, parmesan, pine nuts, parmesan, lemon juice and salt and pepper to a food processor or blender.
  2. Slowly add olive oil as you continue to blend. If the pesto is too thick, add 1 tbsp of water at a time, blending or processing in between to achieve the desired texture.

Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more recipes and health information, visit

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