When it comes to fall and early winter menu darlings, pumpkin gets all the attention.  Pumpkin spice-everything had a breakout year, and we’ve delighted in orange dishes from pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookie and pumpkin coffees like the rest of you (heck, we even wrote a blog about it), but we think it’s time for the most glamorous of the gourds to share the spotlight.

Squash is a versatile (and we think, underrated) fall ingredient that can add color and flavor to your November meals at many restaurants.  Squash is technically a fruit, not a vegetable, and includes familiar produce section fixtures like zucchini, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and butternut squash. There are two varieties of squash: summer squash, which is harvested before maturity, and winter squash, which has fully matured.  The rich, flavorful meat of these fruits can go a long way in many fall recipes, including breakfast, lunch AND dinner.

If you’re browsing a breakfast menu, look for pumpkin pancakes or zucchini bread, which should be available at many breakfast spots.  For a more gourmet take, try an apple, butternut squash and bacon hash: tangy pieces of apple, coursley chopped with soft pieces of squash and crispy pieces of bacon.

If you’re looking for some lunch, try a pizza with squash as a topping. We love roasted acorn squash and gorgonzola pizza. Or, try adding butternut squash to your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe (we recommend one with gruyere and sharp cheddar cheese.)

Dinner has even more options, including the popular and delicious butternut squash soup. How can you go wrong with a creamy mix of roasted garlic, hint of curry powder and the soul-warming butternut flavor?  Butternut squash and pumpkin are also popular in pasta dishes.  Try a butternut ravioli with pine nuts and pumpkin accents or zucchini lasagna.  Spaghetti squash is also a great side dish or pasta substitute for those watching their waist-lines, and butternut squash and zucchini can both be used to make fries.

When it comes to dessert, look beyond the plain ole pumpkin pie and sample a pumpkin and cream cheese cupcake, zucchini torte or butternut squash streusel.  Top it off with ice cream, brown sugar or cinnamon for a sweet and satisfying treat.

What squash recipes have you been noticing on menus this fall?  Share your favorites below!