Home / 2020 / Food For and From the Heart: Healthy Squash Recipes

Food For and From the Heart: Healthy Squash Recipes

Thursday, October 22, 2020

By Emily Earhart

Happy autumn!

As the days get shorter and cooler and we begin gearing up for the holidays (whatever they look like this year), I’m sure many of you are finding yourself cooking and baking more, like I am. Especially during times of uncertainty or stress, I find that baking something sweet is my go-to coping mechanism; it keeps me busy, distracted and satisfies my sweet tooth!

While I do think a little indulgence in sweets and baked goods is important in self-care, I’d love to share some heart-healthy seasonal recipes with you to try out this fall! And of course, I added my favorite pumpkin cookie recipe too! Enjoy and happy cooking! Stay well!

Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4-6

This is my go-to soup this time of year!


1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ c. chopped yellow onion

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 ½ c. (1.5 lb.) peeled butternut squash, seeded and cut into 2-inch cubes (about 1-2 squashes)

2 c. water

2 c. chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: ¼ c. medium dry sherry

Optional: 2 tsp. curry powder

Optional: 1 cinnamon stick 


-Heat the oil in a heavy 4-quart pot. Add the onions, reduce to low, and sauté slowly until tender but not brown. Stir in the garlic and let cook for an additional minute.

-Add the squash, water and spices if using. Cover and simmer until squash is tender (about 30 minutes).

-Allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes. Then, puree using a food processor or stick blender (be sure to remove and discard cinnamon stick before blending if using).

-Add the stock and sherry if using. Return just to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste.

-Garnish with grated parmesan, crème fraiche or infused olive oils and croutons!

This recipe can easily be doubled and you can put the remainder in the freezer. It freezes well!


Winter Squash & Quinoa Gratin
Serves 4-6

This is a take on the Provençal tradition of combining rice and vegetables to make a savory gratin—super comfort food! Substituting quinoa for rice makes it a bit more heart-healthy. Serve alongside a green salad for dinner or brunch!


1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ lbs. of winter squash (acorn, Hubbard, butternut, delicata, kabocha, etc.), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped (or ½ tsp. dried)

1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (or ½ tsp. dried)

3 eggs

1 cup cooked quinoa

½ c. grated Gruyere cheese (2 oz.)

Salt and pepper to taste


-Preheat oven to 375 °F. Oil a 2-qt. baking dish and set aside. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and add the onion. Cook until tender (about 5 minutes). Add a pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about another minute.

-Add the squash and fresh herbs. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is tender but not mushy, (about 10 minutes, depending on the squash you are using).

-Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the squash mixture, the cooked quinoa and the cheese. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Scrape into prepared baking dish.

-Place baking dish in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 35 minutes or until it’s set and the top is lightly browned.

 Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Keeps in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheats well.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Fun fact about canned pumpkin: it’s not made from the pumpkins you use for jack-o-lanterns! Rather, canned pumpkin comes from a special variety of squash called Cucurbita moschata which is actually a lot more like butternut squash. So if you don’t want to use store-bought canned pumpkin, you can make your own pumpkin puree by roasting and blending butternut squash! 


2 ½ c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground cloves

A pinch of nutmeg

½ c. butter, room temperature

1 c. sugar

½ c. brown sugar

1 egg

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. pumpkin puree

1 c. chocolate chips

Optional: 1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts


-Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a bowl and set aside.

-In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer or a hand beater. Beat in egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

-Add pumpkin puree and mix until thoroughly combined. Add flour mixture and stir just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if using.

-Drop about 2 Tbsp. of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and space from other cookies about 2 inches apart.

-Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on wire rack.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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