Recipe For Health
Jill Yarbrough, MSU Dining Services Test Kitchen Manager
Featured Food: Winter Squash Yield: Serves 6-8Learn more about Winter Squash


  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • ½ c. onions, diced
  • 2 t. garlic, minced
  • ½ large red pepper, diced
  • ½ large green pepper, diced
  • ½ t. paprika
  • ½ t. crushed red pepper or cayenne
  • ¼ t. oregano
  • 1-14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 acorn or butternut squash: peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 “ pieces
  • ½ c. water
  • 2 t. vegetable base (in the grocery store, next to canned soups and broths)
  • • 1-15.5 oz. can kidney beans, drained
  • • 2 c. frozen corn
  • • 2 T. basil, chopped
  • • salt and pepper to taste


Saute garlic and onions in oil for 2–3 minutes. Add peppers and dry spices, continue to cook. Add crushed tomatoes, squash, water and vegetable base and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. 

Add beans, corn, and basil. Bring to simmer and cook for a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and spices as desired. 

Delicious served with rice, couscous, tortillas, corn bread, or biscuits.

Learn More About Winter Squash

Winter squash is a catchall term for “good keepers.” Squash with a hard protective rind, which allows for long storage life, is available to eat in the winter—hence the name. From acorn to hubbard, ambercup to carnival, the skin color, shape, size and flavor vary, but underneath, all have yellow to orange flesh, providing a clue to their nutritional value. Similar to other vegetables orange in color, winter squash provides an abundance of beta-carotene, a strong antioxidant. In study after study, people whose diets are high in beta-carotene have reduced risks of cancer, age-related macular degeneration, and heart disease. 

Does taking antioxidants in pill form prevent diseases just as well as eating a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods? Studies on heart disease showed that taking antioxidant supplements had either no effect or an adverse effect. Why is this? One possibility is that there are other substances in fruits and vegetables that act to provide a protective effect on the heart. 

Also, a person who eats more produce naturally eats more fiber and may eat less saturated fat, trans fatty acids, and cholesterol. It also could be that people who eat more fruits and vegetables generally choose more healthful living habits.  

Speaking of choosing, when shopping for a good squash, select one that is firm, heavy for its size and has a dull rind. Store on thick pads of newspapers in a cool, dry place for as long as six months. Wrap cut pieces tightly and store in the refrigerator. Plan to use within five days.

Peggy Crum MA, RD

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