GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - One of the season's most abundant and versatile vegetables is ripe for the picking right now.

We're talking squash. Sauce Anna Lisa creator, Chef Lisa O'Connell, considers squash an under appreciated vegetable.

"I didn't really like squash," she said. "But then I discovered it was another chameleon food. There are so many ways to enjoy this beautiful and perfect food."

Take a look at some of the tasty ways she is serving up squash:

Roasted, stuffed squash bowls:


2 medium sized butternut, acorn or other type of yellow/orange flesh squash.

1 medium onion

1 cup grains, such as faro or your favorite rice blend

½ cup chopped parsley

2 T butter

Olive oil to oil sauté pan

Salt and pepper to taste

*Optional: cranberry, carrot, peppers or other fruit/vegetables can be easily added for extra flavor, texture and color.

Slice squash in half horizontally, across the bulb portion- containing the seeds. If you’re using butternut, slice off the neck and reserve the top part for a later use. Use the bottom

“Bulb” to stuff. If using another round variety, slice horizontally to make two bowls.

Using a spoon, remove the seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes (size will determine time) or until fork tender.

Prepare rice or grain as directed. I like to use faro as it’s easy to heat and maintains a great chewy yet firm texture. Heat one cup over medium heat with 3 cups of water. After 15 minutes, drain excess liquid and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add olive oil to coat pan, chopped onion, 1 tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt. Sauté onions over medium heat until they are caramelized or slightly brown in color. Add cooked faro or rice and fresh chopped parsley, toss to combine.

Remove squash from oven add 1 tablespoon of butter to the “bowl” top with rice mixture and serve immediately.

Alternatively, these bowls are great for left over roast meat simply heated and stuffed inside, topped with caramelized onions.

Cinnamon squash and cream for dessert:

1 cup sliced butternut squash (the elongated part that was reserved from above recipe)

2 T sugar

1-teaspoon cinnamon

Fresh whipped cream or Ice cream to serve.

*Optional top with crushed cashews or walnuts

Mint as a garnish

Using the top portion of the butternut squash the elongated seedless part- remove the skin with a peeler and slice in ½ inch discs. Cut discs in half lengthwise.

In medium saucepan add 1 cup of water and squash pieces. Cook over medium heat until fork tender. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (more if desired) and sauté until syrupy liquid is formed. Add more water or sugar if necessary.

Serve warmed squash with whipped cream and crushed cashews or walnuts. A great alternative is ice cream or even over a biscuit. Garnish with fresh mint.

Roasted Squash Crostini:


1 baguette sliced and toasted.

1 small to medium squash, roasted.

½-1 cup ricotta cheese (optional)

1 large or 2 small onions sautéed and caramelized

olive oil and balsamic for sautéing onions

Mint leaves chopped, for garnish

Roast squash as previously directed. Scrape squash filling out with spoon and place in a separate bowl.

Add chopped onion to sauce pan with olive oil. Cook onions over medium heat till soft, add a pinch of salt and a healthy swirl of balsamic vinegar. Allow to cook 5-7 minutes longer until caramelized and syrupy texture is reached.

Toast sliced baguette pieces in oven or toaster (golden and crispy).

Top toast with a smear of ricotta (optional) and with a spread of squash mixture. Continue to layer toast with balsamic and onion mixture. Top with chopped mint leaves. Serve immediately.