Some foods are available fresh to us only after summer ends. How I love to see the colorful pumpkins and other squash in the stores! Winter squash are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

For baking squash and pumpkin slices, I line my pans with parchment paper, which makes cleaning up easy.

Delicata Squash is a winter squash with a delicate rind. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Delicata Squash is a winter squash with a delicate rind. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Delicata Squash Chips

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Delicata squash

Canola oil

Seasoning (see note below)

Dipping sauce (optional):

Vegan sour cream

Nondairy milk

Oven 425 degrees. Slice the delicata squash into ¼-inch slices. Place the squash slices, seeds and all, on a lightly-oiled baking sheet or parchment paper. Spray the sliced squash with canola oil and sprinkle with desired seasonings. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking. The slices are done when brown and crispy. If desired, serve with a dipping sauce.

Seasoning options: salt, pepper, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder

Dipping sauce: I start with about ½ cup of sour cream thinned with about ¼ cup soy milk. I add about ½ teaspoon of seasoning. I then taste and increase the spices as desired. You can use any of the seasoning options listed above or come up with your own tasty combination.

Pumpkin slices can be season with salt and pepper, garlic and onion powders, or your favorite combination of spices. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Pumpkin slices can be season with salt and pepper, garlic and onion powders, or your favorite combination of spices. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Oven-fried Pumpkin Slices

Pumpkin is high in potassium, vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber. It's great for more than just pies!

1 small pie pumpkin, such as a sugar pumpkin

Breadcrumbs or panko

1 cup nondairy milk

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

Canola oil

Seasoning options: salt, pepper, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder

Oven 425 degrees. In a bowl, mix nondairy milk with vinegar and let curdle. Meanwhile, slice pumpkin into ½-inch slices and remove hard outer rind. Removing the rind of a pumpkin can be tricky, so I recommend cutting the pumpkin in half length-wise, slicing the pumpkin, and then using a potato peeler to remove the hard outer rind from each slice.

To remove the rind of a pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half length-wise and then using a potato peeler to remove the hard outer rind from each slice. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
To remove the rind of a pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half length-wise and then using a potato peeler to remove the hard outer rind from each slice. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Pour the breadcrumbs or panko in a bowl or plate. With one hand, dip a pumpkin slice in the non-dairy milk mixture then place the slice in the bowl or plate of bread crumbs. Using the other hand, press the breadcrumbs or panko into the pumpkin slice then place on the baking sheet. Continue this process until all the pumpkin slices are breaded and placed on the baking sheet in a single layer. Give the slices a quick spray of canola oil and sprinkle with seasoning of your choice before popping them in the oven.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes flipping once halfway through. The pumpkin slices are ready to serve when crispy and browned.

Serve with dipping sauce (see Delicata Squash Chips recipe). I’ve used pumpkin pie spice in a dipping sauce for my pumpkin slices. I’ve also used finely chopped jalapeno peppers for a delicious zippy dip.

Baked Squash Gratin

Acorn squash, peeled and sliced

1 onion, peeled and sliced

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup vegetable bouillon

2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

¼ cup vegan margarine

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Oven 375 degrees. Mix the maple syrup, vegetable bouillon, margarine and cinnamon in a 13x90-inch glass baking dish. Add the squash, onion and apples. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then 30 minutes uncovered. Serve hot.

The skin of an acorn squash is edible, but personally, I prefer the squash without the peel. Since any squash works well in this recipe, sometimes I will use a butternut, or even a big chunk of Hubbard squash and cut the peel off the flesh with a sharp knife.

I’ve been known to add sliced carrots and parsnips to this dish.

Pumpkin pancakes are a delicious, healthful pancake alternative. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Pumpkin pancakes are a delicious, healthful pancake alternative. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Pumpkin Pancakes

In our family, pancakes are a dinner entrée. When I was growing up, both my parents worked, so there wasn’t time to prepare elaborate breakfast fare. The tradition continues, and my children enjoyed the occasional pancake dinner.

Pumpkin pancakes are a delicious, healthful pancake alternative. Serve with applesauce or your favorite syrup. Pumpkin pancakes are delicious topped with chopped walnuts or pecans.

One 14-oz can pumpkin puree

1 cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon each of cloves and ginger

1 cup nondairy milk

1 cup water

¼ cup applesauce

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 flax eggs (1/4 cup warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed. Allow to sit for five minutes.)

Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently. Don’t overmix the batter or your pancakes will be tough.

Heat a griddle or nonstick cooking pan over medium heat. Add a little canola oil. I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to dole out batter onto the cooking surface, then use the back of the cup to spread the batter out a little bit. Cook each pancake until edges begin to bubble (2-4 minutes) then flip and cook the other side until brown.

Serve pancakes hot with maple syrup or applesauce.

Pumpkin pancakes are delicious "breakfast for dinner." (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Pumpkin pancakes are delicious "breakfast for dinner." (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Note: This batter makes a thick pancake. I like to thin the batter out a bit with more water for a thinner pancake. Depending on the thickness of the batter, and the size of the pancakes, this recipe makes about 15 four-inch pancakes.

Butternut Squash Soup

Everybody should have a recipe for butternut squash soup. I have eight. The original recipe used heavy whipping cream. I use soy creamer instead, and the soup is delicious. Canned full-fat coconut milk would be good, too, although not as healthful.

1 whole garlic bulb

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 large onion

1 stalk celery

1 carrot, chopped

2 tablespoons vegan margarine

3 cups vegetable broth or bouillon

About 4 cups of butternut squash, skin and seeds removed and cubed

2 teaspoons dried sage leaves (plus a sprinkle for garnish)

½ teaspoon salt or seasoned salt (or to taste)

Ground pepper, to taste

½ cup soy creamer

Cut the top off the garlic bulb, brush with olive oil, and roast in a 425-degree oven for about 30 minutes. Sauté onion, celery and carrot in vegan margarine until tender. Add broth, squash, and sage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until squash is tender. Squeeze each garlic clove into the soup and discard the remains of the bulb. Let the soup cool a bit, then puree, adding salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowl and garnish each serving with a swirl of soy creamer and a sprinkle of sage leaves. Serves 4 or more.

Roasted squash seeds are delicious and easy to make. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Roasted squash seeds are delicious and easy to make. (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Baked Squash Seeds

Don’t throw away the seeds from your squash! They are delicious baked and easy to make.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place the seeds in a fine mesh strainer and run water over the seeds to remove large pieces of squash attached to the seeds. (It’s OK to leave small bits of squash flesh on the seeds for flavor.) Toss the squash seeds with oil (or vegan margarine) and seasonings. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes. If the seeds are not lightly browned and crisp, bake a little longer, but keep checking the oven to make sure the seeds don’t burn.

Tip: Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper before spreading on the seeds. Parchment paper makes clean-up easier.

Let your imagination go wild with seasoning combinations or try one of these:

  • Barbecue: chili powder, brown sugar, ground cumin, salt
  • Pumpkin pie: pumpkin spice and sugar
  • Northeastern: Old Bay spice
  • Spainish: smoked paprika and slivered almonds
  • Susan’s favorite: salt and pepper
  • Easy: seasoned salt

Did you know?

A Nielsen report states that nearly 40% of Americans are trying to incorporate vegan options into their diet. Whether it’s a change in ethics, improving health, or a concern for the environment, Americans are now trying to eat more plant foods.

Susan Alexander
Susan Alexander

Susan Alexander is an avid cyclist. She loves gardening, farmers' markets and creating delicious meals consisting of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits.