How To Substitute Squash for Pumpkin, Roast Seeds, Roast Squash, Microwave Shortcut

December 2, 2014 No Comments

IMG_20141125_081248_871Yesterday’s post about our huge squash donation came up with a few questions. I worked to answer them below. Hope it helps!

Really? You can substitute squash for pumpkin?

Yes, with excellent results! It is a great money saver, especially when baking on such a large scale like we do in classrooms. I was fortunate enough to have my squash donated but even if it was purchased it costs about $.75 per pound compared to sugar pumpkins which are about $3 each. Our acorn and carnival squash was more yellow than orange like canned pumpkin. The pumpkin spice craze is more about the “spice” and less about the “pumpkin.” In my opinion there is no taste difference.

How do you roast seeds?

I cut the squash in half before the Food and Nutrition students got to class.

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Scoop out the seeds and slimy strings into a small bowl.
  3. Add cold water to the bowl.
  4. Pull the seeds away from the strings and place them in a colander.
  5. Rinse the seeds with cold water.
  6. To dry the seeds, stir with a paper towel. They do not have to be completely dry.
  7. Sprinkle seeds onto prepared baking sheet. Spray seeds. Sprinkle with your choice of seasonings. My students like salt and garlic powder. They tried brown sugar and cinnamon with mediocre results.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.

How do you roast squash?

I like to roast squash in the microwave. Place the halves “face down” in about 1/2″ of water in a glass pie plate. Cook for 15 minutes or until the outer skin can be easily pierced with a fork.

Because I was cooking such a volume, I roasted them in the oven. I sprayed the inside of the squash with non-stick spray, placed face down on a baking sheet, and baked for about 45 minutes.

How do you use fresh squash or pumpkin in a pumpkin pie recipe? I always used canned.

My students used this recipe from Taste of Home, substituting squash for pumpkin. I like that this recipe uses plain milk instead of evaporated, which is less expensive.

I’m crossing my fingers that my garden grant is successful. Then next year my students can grow and pick their own pumpkins and squash.

Have you ever substituted squash for pumpkin? Share your tips below.


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I’m Kayla Pins – Health and Family and Consumer Sciences teacher to high school students in rural Iowa. Welcome to my online home where I share lesson plans, activities, and inspiration with fellow teachers.


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