September Meal Plan: Week 4- Winter Squash

Beautiful, hardy, affordable, savory, sweet, delicious, decorative-- and now, adorable! The little beauties below are called honeynut squash and they are the baby cousins of the much beloved butternut squash. All the same loveliness, half the size! But butternuts and honeynuts are just a few of the winter squash varieties you'll find at your farmers market in September and October--- acorn squash, pie pumpkins, hubbard squash, kabochas, delicatas, and buttercups will all be gracing the stalls with their unique shapes and dusky colors. Check out this handy guide to cooking with winter squash and then pick up a peck to try out in the meal plan below.

This week's meal plan is all about winter squash, with a side appearance from kale, which turns sweeter as the temperatures dip. All the recipes below are vegetarian or can be made vegetarian. Alternately, add your favorite protein for some extra heartiness. Pick one to try out this week!

Or follow the meal plan and make all three! The meal plan features a farmers market shopping list and recipe adaptations that make it easy to prep ingredients on Sunday and assemble quick and healthy dinners throughout the week. These meal plans are designed to feed a family of 4, and many of the recipes will make enough for tasty lunch leftovers. Simple, Fresh, Wholesome. We've got you covered.

FARMERS MARKET SHOPPING LIST

  • 2 large winter squash (like butternut) + 2 smaller squashes for stuffing (like acorn or honeynut)

  • 7 cloves garlic (about 2 heads)

  • 1 apple

  • 4 cups torn kale (about 1 large bunch)

  • 1 large shallot (or 1 medium onion)

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 lb favorite sausage (or, for a vegetarian version, sub white cannellini beans)

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup olive oil (divided)

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter

  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta

  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth

  • 1 beaten egg

  • 1 package of round or square wonton wrappers (also gyoza wrappers) (about 50-60)

  • ½ cup parsley

  • juice of one lemon

  • ¼ to ½ cup raw almonds

SPICES

  • Salt & pepper

  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • nutmeg

  • fresh rosemary

  • fresh thyme

SUNDAY PREP

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut each squash (2 large squash, 2 small squash) in half and place on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside (about 1 teaspoon each). Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes. Set the squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes, then scoop at the seeds and any stringy parts.

  3. Set aside the small squash halves for the stuffed squash recipes

  4. Scoop the flesh from the other squash into a container and store in the fridge until needed.

  5. While the squash is roasting, make the kale pesto.

  6. Store the kale pesto in a container in the fridge until needed. Or use a portion of it in this bonus Quinoa and Kale Pesto Bowl recipe, which is great for meal prepping early in the week and having for lunch or breakfast all week long.

KALE PESTO INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups torn kale (no stems)

  • ½ cup parsley

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon salt (more to taste)

  • 1 clove garlic

  • juice of one lemon

  • ¼ to ½ cup raw almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

Pulse the kale, oilve oil, salt, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth.

Add the almonds and pulse until the almonds are ground to desired consistency.

SAUSAGE + PARMESAN STUFFED SQUASH

Adapted from Paleo Running Momma

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small/med honeynut squash, or acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise, roasted, and seeds/strings scooped out

  • 1 lb. favorite sausage, casings removed. For a healthier version, replace half of sausage with half a can of white cannellini beans rinsed and drained. For a vegetarian version, replace all of the sausage with cannellini beans.

  • 1 large onion sliced thin

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, coconut oil, or other cooking fat

  • 2 cloves garlic minced

  • 1 medium-large apple cored and diced

  • 2 cups fresh kale, roughly chopped

  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary chopped

  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme chopped

  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

  • ¼ cup parmesan for sprinkling on top

  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

  1. Begin by caramelizing the onions. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over low heat and add all the onions, stirring to coat. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and cook over low heat, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent burning for about 15 minutes.

  2. In the same pan, add all the sausage and stir to break up lumps. Cook about 5-8 minutes until just browned. Add the apples, garlic, and herbs and continue to cook, stirring until the apples soften. Add the kale and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the kale wilts.

  3. Preheat your oven to a high 450 degrees. Fill all 4 halves of your pre-roasted squash with the stuffing mixture (you may have leftover depending on how big your squash was)

  4. Arrange the squash on the baking sheet, stuffing side up, sprinkle with parmesan, and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the tops get nice and toasty, checking often to prevent burning. Once nice and browned, remove from oven, allow to cool a bit and then serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup. Enjoy!

WEEKNIGHT BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI

Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Photo from Pinch of Yum

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole butternut squash- roasted

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • nutmeg, garlic, thyme, and/or sage (see notes)

  • generous pinch of salt and pepper

  • 1 beaten egg

  • 1 package of round or square wonton wrappers (also gyoza wrappers) (about 50-60)

  • Kale Pesto

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place cooked squash, ricotta, Parmesan, olive oil, seasonings, and salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until mostly smooth. Mixture should be very thick and sticky, like cookie dough.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

  3. Lay out half of the wonton wrappers. Place 1-2 tablespoons filling in the center of each wrapper. Brush edges with egg wash. Place another wrapper on top, sealing tightly at the edges, and rounding the top with your palm to make a nice shape.

  4. Boil ravioli in batches for about 5-8 minutes. Drain gently (they break easily) and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking. Serve with that yummy kale pesto and extra Parmesan cheese!

NOTES

The garlic and herbs can be sautéed in the oil if you want to increase the flavor of the herbs and remove the bite of the garlic. Just add a touch of nutmeg to warm it up, just a dusting too small to measure.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Adapted from Cookie + Kate

Photo from Cookie + Kate

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash- roasted

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • ½ cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb. May sub 1 small onion)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or to taste)

  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Up to 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste (substitute olive oil for dairy free/vegan soup)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large soup pot, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

  2. Transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add the reserved butternut, maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can stir in any remaining broth later). Secure the lid and blend til smooth.

  3. If you would like to thin out your soup a bit more, add the remaining cup of broth (I used the full 4 cups, but if you used a small squash, you might want to leave it as is). Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and blend in more salt and pepper, if necessary. Return soup to pot on stove, turn to low and heat for 10 minutes or until soup is heated through.

  4. Serve with a crack of black pepper, your favorite herbs, or a few shavings of parmesan.

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