Winter squash is a great dish for an autumn meal  Dining

Winter squash is a great dish for an autumn meal Dining

There is something extremely satisfying about consuming an entire dish, including, well, the dish itself. Presenting food in food or edible containers is not only efficient and waste-free, but it is often very decorative.

Certain foods are suitable for standing in a bowl or container. A good example is winter squash. These hardy vegetables have a hard, tough skin or shell that often makes room for live, vitamin- and antioxidant-rich meats. Once the squash is halved and seeded and then fried in the oven, the outer shell softens but retains its shape while the meat becomes tender and sweet thanks to plenty of natural sugar. As a result, it becomes half a whole meal when it is filled with grains, such as rice and bulgur, or protein-rich quinoa seeds. The filling is versatile and can be seasoned and fortified with other ingredients, such as sautéed aromatics (onion, celery, garlic), dried fruit, nuts, cheese or minced meat.

There are a variety of squash that love to be stuffed, including butternut, acorns, sweet pumpkin and kabocha. If the squash is small, you can serve it with the top as a lid – or if it is very large, you can quarter it and pour the filling over the middle, trusting that the dinner plate catches the overflow. No matter how you cut it, your stuffed edible tub will look great and taste delicious.

Lynda Balslev is co-author of “Almond: Recipes, history, culture” (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at TasteFood, c / o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or email Or visit the TasteFood blog at


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