Weeknight Cooking (Marathon Prep Edition): Delicata Squash

I’ve been training for weeks—months, really—for my seventh marathon, and it’s nearly here: I’ll be running the Richmond Marathon this Saturday! I thought I’d share a favorite fall food that's also a great source of healthy carbs. Is it soda? Candy Corn? Pumpkin-flavored frosting? Nope, it’s delicata squash! 90% of this light yellow, green-striped squash's calories come from carbohydrates, making it a delicious way to enjoy healthy carbs in the couple days before the race.

If you’ve looked at a butternut squash on your counter and thought, "Man, I’d sure like to make something with that, but I don’t have time to hack off that tough skin," you are in luck. Delicata squash has a flavor and texture similar to butternut—rich and velvety smooth with a natural sweetness—but you can eat the skin! It’s closely related to thin-skinned summer squash.

Gram for gram, it has the same amount of potassium as a banana. A one-cup serving also has more than ¾ of your daily recommended Vitamin A (as beta carotene) for an immune system boost, and it has a nice dose of Vitamin C. Plus this powerhouse of the pumpkin family has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties...and I need all the help I can get to prepare for (and recover from!) this race.

I have a share in the One Straw Farm CSA, and lucky for me, they’ve been generous with squash this fall. Here’s one way I’ll be eating it this seasonal, local treat this week....

Delicious No-Fail Delicata Squash Rings

This makes a great side dish, or an excellent addition to a green salad.


1-2 Delicata Squash (you decide how many you need based on the size of the squash and how many people you’re serving.)

1 Tablespoon of a quality extra virgin olive oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut a squash in half horizontally. Use a soup spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. Set the squash half on your cutting board, holding it carefully so it does not roll, and slice it into rings about ½-of-an-inch thick. Repeat with the rest of the squash. If you have parchment paper on hand, set a piece on your cookie sheet or pan (it will make clean up an absolute snap). Lay the squash on the pan and sprinkle with a Tablespoon of oil, a good shake of salt and a few twists of pepper. Gently toss the rings to coat with the seasonings and lay them in one layer. Pop the pan in the oven for about 15 minutes, then take it out and gently flip the rings. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until a knife or fork easily pierces through very lightly browned rings. Add additional seasoning if necessary.

Feeling a little fancy? Cut a small red or sweet onion in half, thinly slice it and toss the rings with the squash before baking.

Feeling extra fancy? Crumble 1 teaspoon of dried thyme and 1 teaspoon of dried sage over your squash and toss it well before baking. Your kitchen will smell like Thanksgiving.

Looking for more nutritional bang for your buck? Serve this over wilted greens, like Swiss Chard or Kale. Top it with raw seeds, like pumpkin, hemp, sunflower or another seed you love to crunch. 

Looking for more guidance on making simple, clean meals that taste indulgent? I love helping busy people master practical meal planning and delicious, healthful cooking. Reach out to schedule a free consult, or post a question or comment here or on my Facebook page.