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How this underused vegetable can be on your menu


Squash doesn’t seem like the most charismatic of vegetables. Even the name sounds like a failure. But many chefs are into them. They say each one has its own unique qualities, with summer varieties offering fresh, clean tastes and winter ones providing sweetness and a sort of implied richness, despite their low fat content, that can help lighter dishes seem more satisfying.

The difference between chefs’ love for squash and consumer perception might be reflected in Technomic’s Ignite menu data, which indicates that mentions of squash on United States menus overall decreased by 7% between the end of 2022 and the end of 2023. But butternut squash soup mentions are up by 19.6%, and squash mentions in fine-dining restaurants are up by 8%.

One big squash advocate is Dan Barber, chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., and Family Meal at Blue Hill in New York City.

Barber also is the founder of a seed company, Row 7, that essentially got its start developing new squash varieties, including the popular koginut, a variation of butternut that is now grown nationwide.

TAGS: Food Trends
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