When it comes to a delicious squash, with their fantastically sweet flavors and their tasty hint of nuttiness, you’re spoiled for choice.
There are so many different types to choose from, each with their own subtle flavor differences and characteristics, though it’s undebatable that delicata is one of the best!
Delicata is a winter squash with a deliciously sweet flavor, which often means you won’t need extra seasonings to bring more flavor out of it.
However, if you do want to add some sweet brown sugar and some subtly spicy cinnamon, then it makes the winter squash even tastier!
Better still, delicata squash is healthy too, and it’s also very easy to prepare and cook thanks to its thin skin making peeling simple.
To cook one, putting it in the oven is the best option, and it should only take around 30 to 40 minutes to be perfectly roasted – making it ideal for a quick meal!
But what happens if you can’t get hold of a delicata squash? Do you have to miss out on its wonderfully sweet flavor and tasty texture?
Thankfully, the answer is no, thanks to a handful of delicious substitutes you can use instead!
In our handy guide below, we’ve got the 6 best delicata squash substitutes. If you can’t get hold of the tasty winter squash, these flavorful alternatives will give you similar results!
What Is A Delicata Squash?
Before we get to our list of tasty delicata substitutes, it’s worth looking more in-depth at this wonderful winter squash.
After all, then you’ll understand why somebody would want to try and find an alternative that tastes just like it!
Delicata squash is a type of winter squash, and it gets its name from the fact that it has a notably delicate rind.
Also referred to as a Bohemian squash or a peanut squash, the delicata is cylindrical in shape and has a cream-colored look to it, with orange or green stripes.
As for the texture of delicata squash, you’ll find that it’s very fine and tender, further adding to its “delicate” name. Despite this, though, you might also find that the orange skin can be firm.
On top of that, the texture can also be quite creamy, which certainly makes it even more of a pleasure to eat.
In terms of its contents, you’ll not only find plenty of sweet flavor, but plenty of helpful nutrients! Delicata squash are a good source of potassium and vitamin A, and they’re also a great source of fiber.
With that being said, the skin of the squash actually contains a good deal of nutrients itself, so try not to peel or cut off too much of the skin.
Thankfully, the skin is edible, so you can enjoy getting your teeth into it and getting all the nutrient-heavy goodness!
Delicata squash is a native to North and Central America, and early European settlers introduced it to the Native Americans. The squash grows best in colder climates, and it’s typically harvested in the fall time.
And as for the all-important flavor? It’s got a subtly sweet taste to it that will really make your taste buds tingle, and the sweetness is more than enough on its own, so you won’t need extra sweeteners or seasonings.
However, there’s no harm in adding them!
Delicata Squash Substitutes – The 6 Best Alternatives!
If you can’t get hold of delicata squash from your local grocery store or market, or you don’t live in a climate that’s cold enough for you to grow some yourself, then there are thankfully a handful of delicious substitutes that will give you a similar flavor and texture.
These are also useful if you’re desperate to enjoy some delicata squash, but it isn’t fall!
1. Butternut Squash
We’re starting our list off with one of the most common and popular types of squash there is – butternut squash.
You’ve probably tried butternut squash before, so you’ll already have an idea of how it would make a great substitute for a delicata squash. However, if you haven’t tried it, then let us explain!
For one thing, it’s got a sweet flavor that’s pretty similar to delicata squash, and it’s also got a cream-colored squash just like that variety of winter squash.
In terms of size and texture, butternut squash is admittedly quite opposite to delicata squash. For one thing, it’s got a hard rind rather than a delicate one, and it’s also larger than a delicata.
This difference in size means that it takes a little longer to cook, taking about an hour in your oven, but you can steam it on a stove top in about 45 minutes if you need it more quickly.
While it tastes great on its own, you can make butternut squash even more flavorful by seasoning it with salt and pepper, herbs, and olive oil.
And in terms of its contents? It’s healthy just like a delicata squash! Butternut squash is similarly high in fiber, as well as being a similarly good source of potassium.
Additionally, it’s also got vitamin C, manganese, and folate.
2. Kabocha Squash
Our next substitute is one you might not have come across as frequently – the kabocha squash.
These are also a type of winter squash, though these are primarily popular in Asian cuisine, being used in dishes such as soups, croquettes, and vegetable tempura.
The squash is also referred to as Japanese pumpkin in North America, because it’s a Japanese variety of a species of cultivated squash.
In terms of flavor, kabocha squash is sweet and nutty, making it an ideal substitute for the flavors of delicata squash. Some have compared it to pumpkin pie, so you know it’s delicious!
Even better, kabocha squash is healthy too, thanks to its nutrients. It’s a very good source of both vitamin C and beta-carotene.
To make it more like delicata squash, try peeling it and then cutting it into slices that measure ½ an inch. After that, roast the slices for around 15 minutes until they become tender, giving them a texture closer to delicata squash.
3. Acorn Squash
Our next substitute is acorn squash, one of the most popular alternatives that people use. Like delicata squash, this has its origins in North America, and it’s also found during the season of fall.
When you’re eating it cooked, you’ll notice that it’s got a slightly sweet flavor to it, making it even more similar to delicata squash. The flavor also has hints of nuttiness to it, like squashes tend to.
A nutty flavor is to be expected given the name – acorns are botanical nuts!
It takes only slightly longer to cook, around 45-60 minutes, but is worth the extra wait. Keep in mind, however, that the skin is really quite hard! So you’ll need extra effort to cut through it.
In terms of its nutrients, you’ll find that acorn squashes are also a good source of plenty of healthy stuff, much like the delicata squash.
They’re a great source of fiber to begin with, and you’ll also be getting potassium vitamin A, and vitamin C out of them.
4. Spaghetti Squash
This next substitute is an especially fun alternative for you to try.
As you might expect, this type of squash takes its name because its flavor when cooked is quite similar to the taste of pasta. As a result, spaghetti squash is often used as a substitute for pasta itself!
Additionally, the flavor is quite mild, with a slight sweetness to it.
It’s not as strong as other substitutes, like butternut or acorn squash, but you’ll still enjoy the sweetness and you can always add sweeteners for more flavor.
It’s quick to cook, too, if you use an oven: it should take around 30 to 45 minutes. However, you need to poke a few small holes in the squash before you cook it, otherwise it could burst under the heat!
Meanwhile, it’s similarly high in fiber just like delicata squash. On top of that, it’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium, manganese, folate, and potassium.
5. Carnival Squash
Our next choice is a hybrid mixture of sweet dumpling squash and acorn squash, so you can expect some of the slightly sweet flavor of the acorn squash that we’ve already looked at.
As for the rest of the flavor, you’ll find that carnival squash is rich and buttery, making it particularly delicious to eat. On top of that, it’s nutty too.
It’s also similar to delicata squash in its appearance, with a cream-colored background to it and then stripes of orange and green.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Our final substitute is sweet potatoes – you’ve probably had these before! In which case, you’ll know how their sweet flavors and creamy textures make them a great substitute for delicata squash, which shares those characteristics.
However, there’s even a hint of spiciness to its sweetness, which makes it even more flavorful and filling. On top of that, it makes it a key ingredient in plenty of tasty savory dishes.
Sweet potatoes will take a little longer to cook in the oven, though, taking about an hour. However, the cooking helps to bring out their natural sweetness, and it also makes them a lot more tender.
This is useful, because delicata squash are notably tender.
As for their nutritional content, they’re a good source of fiber and a great source of vitamins A and C, among other things.
Delicata squash are deliciously sweet and tender, but if you can’t get hold of one then these 6 tasty substitutes will more than make up for it!
Delicata Squash Substitutes – The 6 Best AlternativesCourse: Substitutes
- Decide on what substitute you need
- Pick a substitute from the list above
- Read what you need to substitute with
- Create the recipe and enjoy
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