Widely available from fall through winter, butternut squash is a versatile and tasty gourd with a nutty, buttery flavor that stands out on its own and also pairs well with sweet and savory spices. Try mashed butternut squash as a healthy alternative to buttery mashed potatoes. You can cook the squash until it’s soft by steaming, boiling, microwaving, sauteing or roasting it, but the flavor is most pronounced when roasted. Serve mashed butternut squash as a side dish with your favorite entree or freeze it for use in soups or as a starter solid for infants adjusting to solid food.
Things You'll Need
Cook the butternut squash until tender and soft. The squash is quite hard before cooking and must be soft before you can mash it, just as a potato must be soft to make mashed potatoes. You can cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes to boil, steam, roast or saute it, but the easiest way to cook it is to simply cut it in half lengthwise, drizzle it with a bit of oil and bake it for about 30 minutes until you can easily insert a fork in the flesh. It only takes about 15 minutes to soften cubed butternut squash using other cooking methods.
Scoop the soft butternut squash flesh out of the shells with a hard spoon if you baked it. Cut the squash into smaller pieces, about 1 inch in size.
Season the butternut squash to taste. Try basic salt and pepper, spice it up with some cayenne pepper, or give it a sweet flavor profile with a bit of cinnamon and maple syrup or brown sugar. Splash in some milk and butter, if desired, to make the squash creamy.
Mash the squash with a potato masher or a fork to break up the larger pieces. If you prefer a chunky texture, only light mashing is required. Some chunks are to be expected in a mashed squash dish.
If you want to freeze the mashed butternut squash, spoon it into ice cube trays and freeze it for a few hours until solid. Place the squash cubes in a freezer bag so you can pull out individual cubes as needed.
References and ResourcesAll You: What's on Sale in February: Butternut Squash
What's Cooking America: Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash
The English Kitchen: Perfect Mashed Potatoes, Perfect Mashed Butternut Squash
BBC: Butternut Squash Mash