Butternut squash is one of my favorite fall vegetables! Mash it, stuff it, throw it in a stew – I love all of it. The sweetness of butternut squash lends itself well to the warm and nutty spice mixes that are prevalent in the fall. Think cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves – or anything else that is commonly found in pumpkin spice.
This recipe for mashed butternut squash plays up the sweetness of the squash by adding cinnamon and nutmeg. The recipe is gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, egg free, nut free, and paleo. If you can’t get enough of butternut squash, check back in a few days for our recipe for savory mashed butternut squash!
Cutting a butternut squash in half
Before you can mash your butternut squash you need to cook it to soften the flesh. The first step in this process is slicing the butternut squash in half. I find that butternut squash cooks better when it is halved rather than when it is whole because the water that builds up inside the squash is allowed to escape. This prevents the fleshy from getting mushy or slimy. The skin of a butternut squash is thin and the raw flesh is soft, so I would recommend using a large chef’s knife to slice through the butternut squash. Cutting squash with soft flesh is easier than cutting a squash with tougher flesh, such as spaghetti squash, where you need to use a serrated knife and a sawing motion.
Preparing a butternut squash for the oven
After you cut the butternut squash in half, you need to remove the seeds and stringy bits that are found inside the bulb. If you like roasted pumpkin seeds, you should keep the seeds of the butternut squash and roast them up later. After that, you just brush the squash in olive oil and pop it in the oven. I would recommend roasting squash halves with the flat side down. That way water does not pool in the cup where the seeds were removed.
If you have any more questions about preparing and roasting a butternut squash, check out our step-by-step guide on how to cook a butternut squash!
Enhancements for mashed butternut squash
I absolutely love sweet fall vegetables and the nutty spice mixes that come along with them. If you are a fan of pumpkin or pumpkin spice, you know what I am talking about.
Mashed butternut squash has a very sweet natural flavor. If you are looking for ingredients to add to sweet butternut squash dishes, think of the types of ingredients you see added to sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and apple pies. Look to the spices that are prevalent in the fall when pumpkins and squash are in abundance. In this recipe I use cinnamon and nutmeg to spice up my mashed butternut squash. Some other ingredients that go well with sweet mashed butternut squash are cloves, allspice, maple syrup, pecans, walnuts, pecans, and caramelized onion.
What to eat butternut squash with?
I often use sweet mashed butternut squash as a replacement for mashed potatoes. Mashed butternut squash is easier to make and healthier than standard mashed potatoes. Forget the days of peeling half a dozen individual potatoes! Sweet mashed butternut squash is a great side to turkey, chicken, or steak. Or, if you are a vegetarian, try pairing mashed butternut squash with hearty dishes like quinoa stuffed bell peppers. Other sides that pair well with mashed butternut squash include mild green vegetables, such as green beans and peas, and spinach based salads.
One last note I will add is that mashed butternut squash is a great dish to bring out for a Thanksgiving dinner. While mashed butternut squash does take a while to cook, very little of the time required to make mashed butternut squash is active time where you are actually doing work. Most of the time the squash is just sitting in the oven. You only need to set aside a few minutes to remove the seeds and a few minutes to scoop out the flesh and mash it. If you are planning to make this dish for a large Thanksgiving dinner, I would recommend using coconut milk like we do in this recipe. That way, there will be one more dish for friends and family who are vegan or have a lactose intolerance.
Sweet mashed butternut squash
- 1 butternut squash
- 8 oz coconut milk (about 1 cup)
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and stringy bits from the bulb using a spoon
- Brush the flat side of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
- Place the butternut squash flat side down on a baking tray and bake at 350 for 1 hour
- Scoop the flesh out of the squash and mash well with a potato masher
- Stir in the with coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and thyme
- If you do eat dairy, feel free to substitute the coconut milk for whole milk or heavy cream. You can substitute the coconut milk for 1 cup of whole milk or half a cup of heavy cream.
Other other articles you might like
Check out our comprehensive guide on butternut squash! We answer some of the most frequently asked questions about butternut squash – how to cook butternut squash, what flavors go well with butternut squash, and what the nutritional value of butternut squash is.
Other recipes you might like
If you are looking for more ideas for how to use butternut squash, check out our recipe for butternut squash alfredo pasta. This is one of our absolute favorite pasta dishes!