The calabaza squash is another one of those vegetables more commonly found in Central and South America than in the North. As a heat resistant squash, it is tolerant of our warm humid weather and has a good resistance to vine borers. I like to grow it because it is a storage squash. It can be stored fresh for weeks or even months without refrigeration if kept in a cool place like a garage. I grow it in the warmer parts of the year and then eat it in early fall when my winter squash aren’t ready yet.
It comes in several varieties and has a sweet flavor, a cross somewhere between a butternut and a pumpkin. One cup of the cooked flesh has 2 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and half the carbs of other starchy vegetables like corn. It provides 30% of your daily vitamin C and 200% of your vitamin A. Like a fruit, it has iron and potassium, but like a vegetable it has calcium and magnesium.
It can be substituted in any recipe that calls for pumpkin or butternut squash and does well in both sweet and savory dishes. I think it tastes best when it is cooked simply and had the time to caramelize.
3 Cups Calabaza Squash (rind removed, seeded, and cut into 1 inch chunks)
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1-1/2 Tsp. Salt
3/4 Tsp. Pepper
Preheat oven to 450. Toss calabaza with oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Spread in a baking pan single layer. Roast calabaza, checking often for burning. Flip squash and turn pans as needed to achieve a nice even roast. Cook until tender and starting to caramelize, 30-35 minutes. Serve with a lime wedge. Squeeze lime over squash just before serving.
Don’t throw away the seeds! The roasted seeds make a great high energy workout snack. A one ounce serving contains 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs, and 40% of your daily magnesium and zinc.
1-1/2 Cups Squash Seed
1-3/4 Tbsp. Butter, melted (Vegans can use Olive Oil)
1 Tbsp. Salt (flavored salts or other seasonings can be used)
Rinse seeds ahead of time in a colander to remove bits of squash. Spread out on paper towels to dry.
Preheat oven to 275. Toss dry seeds with butter or olive oil and salt. Place on a single layer cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool and eat.