Seasonal Ingredient of the Week: Sweet Dumpling Squash

Have you ever researched how many types of squash there are? You should. A couple of years back we put in a family request for homegrown spaghetti squash - a year later we had enough to fill a room. This year we were greeted with 8 different types, all in abundance. And it gets better - each has it's own unique taste, and brilliant name too (our model above is actually called a 'sweet dumpling'). So as much as halloween is associated with the traditional pumpkin, we thought this little fella rated higher in both taste and appearance. 

With a creamy, rich flesh and sweet taste, sweet dumpling squash makes for a perfect addition to both sweet and savoury dishes. It's rich in beta-carotene and other antioxidants, and stored away from sunlight can last up to 3 months. 

RECIPE IDEAS 

- Squash are notoriously hard to cut, and sweet dumplings are no different. Make your life a little easier and roast it whole in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 200C then remove and cut as required. 

- Where do we start with it's uses? Perfect sliced, roasted and served in a salad any time of the day, our favourite combination is roast pumpkin and pear, sautéed kale and toasted hazelnuts. 

- Roast and add to a warm dish too, such as mixing into a pilaf or curry. For a pilaf, we love a combination of black rice, roast chestnuts and sautéed cavolo nero - autumn on a plate! 

- It's also great in oven dishes such as gratins or bakes. For a gratin, simply slice the squash into thin slivers then cover in a mix of bone broth, coconut yoghurt, garlic and tahini then bake

- It also makes great sauces, especially for a comforting pasta dish. Try mixing pureed squash with coconut yoghurt, roast garlic and onion then serve with brown rice pasta. 

- Due to their little size, sweet dumplings are the perfect option for stuffing and roasting too. Simply cut the top off, scoop out the innards and add your favourite mix of veggies, meat or grains. 

- On the sweet side, pureed sweet dumpling flesh is the perfect addition to smoothies and porridge in the morning, adding a natural hint of sweetness without a sugar spike. 

- It's also great in pies, such as one based on the more traditional pumpkin pie. Simply add winter spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, a little honey and coconut cream then add to your favourite pie crust.