Pack your bags, or at least a warm sweater, because Sukkot is here, and it’s time to take your harvest outside one last time. Summer saw lots of sweet, juicy peaches, tons of tomatoes and, of course, many scoops of ice cream, but now you can pack away those grill tongs and bring out the slow cooker.
Sukkot is a joyous holiday full of fun festivities like building a sukkah and celebrating the four species by shaking the lulav and etrog. The holiday celebrates the harvest season, and a custom of the holiday is to eat all of your meals in a sukkah for the entire week.
While a week may seem daunting, challenge yourself this year to dine outside (be it on the grass, in a park or even on your balcony or porch) with a meal full of the fall’s finest bounty: squash. That’s right—it’s not just for Thanksgiving! With varieties in every shape, size and color, you can have a meal that’s as vibrant as the changing leaves around you.
Butternut squash is a fall staple that everyone eats at least once during the season. Pro tip (since it can be a pain to peel): Buy one that is already peeled and cut for a simple Warm Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Maple Pumpkin Seeds. Hearty kale is another autumn favorite, and it is sturdy enough to take the heat of the squash and withstand hours without refrigeration.
If peeling squash isn’t part of your holiday plans, consider using kabocha squash (also known as acorn squash), which is entirely edible. Surprise your guests with some new flavors, and make this Japanese Simmered Kabocha Squash. The squash gets tender from the flavors of dashi broth, a light broth of kombu (dried kelp) and bonito fish flakes. You can make your own or buy powder for a quick dish that will take your taste buds on an international adventure.
Another simple way to prepare squash is to roast it whole and scrape out the insides, turning the flesh into a Butternut Squash and Corn Soup that combines the last of summer’s sweet corn with fall’s new squash harvest. Bring a bowl of this soup out to your sukkah to keep you warm during those cool nights.
Since Sukkot comes early this year, consider doing a backyard barbecue in your sukkah to get the last gas out of your grill. These Black Bean Butternut Squash Veggie Burgers are a healthier version of hamburgers loaded with hearty beans, whole-wheat breadcrumbs and butternut squash to bind it all together. You can either bake them in the oven or put them on the grill. They’re especially great with Butternut Squash Fries on the side and some Pumpkin Chocolate Hazelnut Rugelach for dessert!
While eating outside is typical of late-summer dinners, during Sukkot we eat every meal outside, including breakfast. Wake up with the sun, some pumpkin-spiced coffee and a healthy dose of squash. If you’re a sweet breakfast person, try Italian Pumpkin Cake with Orange-Mascarpone Topping. The fresh citrus topping brightens the warm fall spices, and you’ll even have some orange leftover for a glass of freshly squeezed OJ.
If you have leftover cubed squash from last night’s dinner, turn it into a Kasha with Smoked Turkey, Squash and Bourbon breakfast bowl. Kasha’s nuttiness pairs well with smoky meat and sweet gourds. You can even use pre-roasted squash in this dish for a quick breakfast in the sukkah in under ten minutes.
Squash is a versatile ingredient that you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert! With the weather switching faster than our thermostats can catch up, both warm and cooling squash recipes offer something for a meal in the sukkah (or just the wonderful outdoors) for every day of Sukkot.