Frozen vegetables have become increasingly popular over the past few years as more people realize how easy and inexpensive they are to prepare.
There’s nothing quite like the crunch of a perfectly cooked slice of frozen squash straight from your freezer.
But what exactly is frozen squash, why should you make use of it, and how do you actually use it?
What is frozen squash?
Frozen squash is a vegetable that comes pre-packaged in a solid block that resembles a cube of ice.
It’s usually sold in packages of eight ounces (227 g), which makes them perfect for making a quick meal.
While frozen squash isn’t technically a fruit, it does come from a plant — specifically, the winter squash family.
You may also hear it referred to as “french fries squash” because of its resemblance to a potato chip.
However, you won’t find any actual potatoes in frozen squash.
Instead, it’s made up of fleshy seeds that resemble green beans.
The most commonly used varieties of frozen squash include acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha, hubbard, and spaghetti squash.
They can be found in most grocery stores and even at places like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and Costco.
What are the benefits of frozen squash?
If you’re looking for a hearty side dish or main course, frozen squash may just be the answer.
Not only will you save money by purchasing it in bulk, but it’s also great for those who aren’t big fans of fresh produce.
You can easily thaw frozen squash right out of the package and pop it directly into the microwave without having to worry about washing it first.
If you’re not sure how to cook frozen squash, check out our guide on microwaving food here.
What are the nutrition facts of frozen squash?
Since frozen squash is so convenient, many people tend to eat it as an alternative to traditional meat dishes.
While frozen squash doesn’t contain nearly as much protein as meat, it’s packed full of nutrients that help to keep you healthy.
Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional values of one cup (about 227 g) of frozen squash:
- Calories: 40
- Fat: 0 grams
- Saturated Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 4 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 0 IU
- Vitamin C: 0 mg
- Vitamin D: 0 IU
- Potassium: 24 mg
- Calcium: 7 mg
Frozen squash is low in calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium, while being high in fiber, vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D.
How do you cook frozen squash?
Like most vegetables, frozen squash can be prepared in a variety of ways.
You can roast it, saute it, steam it, boil it, add it to salads, and more.
Here are some of our favorite ways to cook frozen squash:
Baking is one of the easiest ways to prepare frozen squash.
Simply cut the squash into cubes, toss it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever spices you desire, then place the pieces onto a baking sheet and roast the squash until tender.
Another simple way to prepare frozen squash is to steam it.
Simply put the cubes into a steamer basket and fill a pot with water.
Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot with a lid, and let the squash steam until tender.
Remove the squash from the pot and serve immediately.
If you’d prefer something a little less bland, broiling is another option.
Just cut the squash into cubes, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and lay it on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
Place the cookie sheet under the oven, turn the heat down to medium, and grill the squash until tender.
Sautéing frozen squash is a great way to get a lot of flavor without spending too much time in the kitchen.
Cut the squash into cubes and toss it in a skillet with olive oil, garlic, onion, and herbs.
Sauté the mixture until the onions are translucent and everything is heated through.
Like roasting, baking is another good option for preparing frozen squash.
Just cut the squash into cubes, toss it with olive oil, seasonings, and egg, then spread the mixture onto a baking sheet.
Bake the squash at 350° F (180° C) for 25 minutes, flip the pieces over, and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.
Finally, if you’re looking for something a little different, try sautéing frozen squash.
Cut the squash into wedges and toss it in a skillet with butter, garlic, and herbs.
Cook the mixture over medium heat until the squash is lightly browned and warmed through.
What are some recipes that include frozen squash?
Frozen squash can be used as the base ingredient for a wide range of meals.
Here are some of our favorite recipes that feature frozen squash:
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
This recipe takes advantage of the versatility of frozen squash by combining it with pasta.
All you need is a 9×13 baking dish, a box of whole wheat spaghetti noodles, a jar of marinara sauce, and half a pound (226 g) of frozen squash.
Layer the ingredients in order listed above, top with mozzarella cheese, and bake for 45 minutes at 375° F (190° C).
Lasagna is typically a heavy meal that requires hours of preparation.
This version cuts the work in half by replacing the usual ricotta filling with frozen squash.
Just layer two sheets of lasagna noodles, followed by four cups (907 g) of shredded zucchini, then finish off with three cups (705 g) of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Top the casserole with tomato sauce, then bake the lasagna for 30 minutes at 350° F (180° C).
Acorn Squash Soup
For a lighter meal, try this delicious soup.
First, peel and seed the squash, then dice it into small pieces.
Next, add it to a large stockpot with 2 quarts (1.9 L) of chicken broth, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 g) of ground nutmeg.
Heat the stockpot over medium heat, bring the soup to a simmer, and let it simmer for 20 minutes before serving.
What are some tips for working with frozen squash?
Unlike fresh vegetables, frozen squash is very sturdy and can withstand a wide temperature range.
As long as the item remains frozen, it can be left outside for several weeks.
However, since the texture changes slightly as the product warms up, it’s important to check the packaging before freezing your squash in order to avoid overcooking it.
Here are a few additional tips to remember when working with frozen squash:
When cutting your squash into cubes, always slice from the bottom of the squash rather than cutting across the top. This will ensure that you don’t end up with mushy squash.
To prevent squash from sticking to itself after it’s been defrosted, pat it dry with paper towels.
Always cook frozen squash thoroughly before eating it. In fact, it’s better to cook frozen squash longer than fresh squash to ensure that you don’t risk getting sick from bacteria.