Squash – Types, Benefits and Recipes

Fall is the season of squash. The produce section of any supermarket prominently displays various squashes – butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash to name a few.

Types of squashes

Squashes come in many varieties– from small zucchini to large pumpkins. They also have
a variety of colours, shades of yellow, green, and orange and are a delight to see. Commonly available squashes are butternut squash, acorn squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, Hubbard
squash, and Kabocha squash. Some other types are Delicata Squash, Carnival Squash, Gold Nugget
Squash, Buttercup Squash, Banana Squash, Autumn Cup Squash, Ambercup Squash, Sweet Dumpling Squash and Turban Squash.

Health Benefits of Squash

Squash is nutrient-rich and mainly contains vitamins A and C. It provides numerous health benefits,
some of which are listed below

  1. Good for Heart Health: Squash contains magnesium which helps to reduce the risk of heart
    attack and stroke. Magnesium along with potassium helps in reducing high blood pressure.
    Vitamin C and beta-carotene levels help in preventing the oxidation of cholesterol.
  2. Prevents Cancer: The high content of antioxidants in squash helps in eliminating free radicals
    from our bodies. The beta-carotene in squash provides protection from pollutants and
    chemicals that can lead to cancer. Squash contains Vitamin C that prevents premature aging and
    cancer. It also inhibits cell division. Squash also contains vitamin A which provides protection
    against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  3. Healthy Bones: Squash contains loads of manganese and vitamin C. Manganese helps in building
    bone structure and increases calcium absorption. Vitamin C is involved in the production of Collagen which is important for building bone mass.
  4. Good for Eyes: The dietary lutein in squash plays an important role in preventing the onset of
    cataracts and macular degeneration.
  5. Improves Colon Health: The high amount of fibers in squash helps in taking toxins out of our
  6. Diabetes: Squash has a low glycemic index and is helpful in stabilizing sugar levels. Certain squash
    varieties like pumpkin contain a polysaccharide known as pectin. Pectin helps in regulating blood
    sugar levels thus preventing the risk of Type2 diabetes.
  7. Rich source of Carotenoids: squashes contain a high level of carotenoids, mainly beta-carotene,
    lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. These carotenoids help in the prevention and treatment of age-
    related macular degeneration, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Squash Recipes to Try

Our top 4 Soup picks to make

While March is here and spring is just around the corner, it’s still cold outside! So, here are a few of our favourite soup recipes from the Canada Food Guide to warm you up through the grey March days and April Showers that are to come.

Harira (Moroccan Stew) 

This aromatic soup can be easily made with common spices from your kitchen like cumin and cinnamon, and coriander seeds. It’s hearty, can be frozen easily, and can also be served over rice or quinoa to be extra filling. 


Three Sisters Soup  (Corn, Beans and Squash Soup) 


This traditional Native Canadian recipe is the kind of warm, delicious soup that will fill you up. Serve with a slice of brown bread, and you have a great hearty meal for a cold day. 

Red Lentil Mushroom Soup 

This versatile soup can be made with any type of mushrooms and/or lentils! Just make sure you keep an eye on cooking times because some lentils and some mushrooms cook differently. Don’t like mushrooms at all? Just add carrots and onions instead.

Chicken Noodle Soup


The classic soup for colds and cold weather. This soup is made with chicken thighs, which give the soup more flavour, and also save you money! Chicken thighs tend to be a lot cheaper than any other cut of chicken.

All of these soups can be made with a variety of fresh, dried, canned and frozen foods.

At Cambridge Food Bank, we’re more than just a food bank. We have a variety of programs, which are geared towards cooking healthy foods, promoting physical health through activities, and prioritizing mental health during times of duress. Our programs are designed for a variety of ages, and right now are being conducted through Zoom. For more information about our winter programs visit: https://cambridgefoodbank.org/winter-2022-youth-wellness-programs/  or for other programs visit https://cambridgefoodbank.org/supports-for-people/

Super Easy Quesadilla Recipe

Comfort food is something that everyone wants to eat in the wintertime when it’s snowy. These super easy quesadillas are fast, easy and delicious and the ULTIMATE comfort food to chow down on.

Prep:15 mins

Cook:6 mins

Serves 8 


  • 250g strong cheddar , grated
  • 4 tomatoes , roughly chopped
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans 
  • ½ large bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped*
  • 8 flour tortillas 
  • oil , for brushing
  • STEP 1
    Put the cheese, tomatoes, corn, beans and cilantro leaves (*you can leave this out if you prefer) into a bowl with some salt, pepper and cumin then mix well.
  • STEP 2
    Warm tortillas in the microwave according to pack instructions – this makes them more bendable. Divide the cheese mix over one half of each tortilla. Fold over the other half to make 8 half-moons, then press down to seal.
  • STEP 3
    Brush the tops with a little oil, then sit, oil-side down, on a hot pan. Cook for a couple of mins until crisp and golden, brush the uncooked side with oil, then flip over for another few mins. Slice into wedges, then pile onto a platter while you cook the rest.