Oh So Good: Easy Mashed Butternut Squash

I’m always looking for a shortcut in the kitchen and I have one for butternut squash. I don’t peel it or cut it up, I just stab it with a knife a few times and bake it. It comes out beautiful and delicious and you know what? You can slice it and remove the skin so easily once it’s cooked. Or you can scoop it out and mash it. No awesome peeler or fancy sharp knife needed!

Butternut Squash is a Mood Inducer

So here’s the deal about butternut squash: it’s a good mood inducer. Butternut squash helps to shuttle the amino acid, tryptophan, into your brain, where it makes serotonin — your happiness hormone! Serotonin can help you feel calmer, higher self-esteem and lift your mood. Who doesn’t want that bonus in the colder fall and winter months?

Butternut squash is also a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C and B vitamins. And if your real concern is taste (like mine!), it has a naturally sweet taste that is very pleasing to the taste buds. It’s almost like sweet potatoes in terms of taste. It makes a wonderful pumpkin pie.

The way I like to eat it most is mashed. Sort of like those mashed sweet potatoes many of you remember from Thanksgiving. Here’s my favorite mashed butternut squash recipe. It’s versatile and you can add your favorite spices or even sweeten it up a bit for dessert. Or maybe you’re like me and you want a dessert-like dinner. If so, this is for you!

Time to Prepare

About 30 minutes to bake and 10 minutes to mash and add spices.

Serves

4 -6 people

Ingredients

  • One butternut squash
  • 2 TBL coconut oil (you can also use organic ghee or raw organic pastured butter)
  • 1 TBL dried thyme
  • 1 TBL cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Celtic Gray Sea Salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • Optional: Get creative and use your favorite spices. You can even leave out the thyme and sweeten it to taste with stevia or honey for a dessert-like mash.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • With the tip of a sharp knife, stab the butternut squash about 10 times in various places. You are doing this to give the heat a way to escape while the butternut squash is baking.
  • In a glass or Pyrex baking dish (or casserole pan), add about 2 inches of filtered water. Add the butternut squash and put the pan in the oven.
  • Bake for about 30 – 45 minutes or until you can easily insert a knife into the top portion of the butternut squash. You will know it’s done because it will be easy to slice. If it’s still too hard, put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and check again.
  • Once cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.
  • Slice up the butternut squash by cutting it down the middle lengthwise. This will give you two long halves. Scoop out the seeds. Then scoop out the squash from the skin and put it into a saucepan.
  • On the lowest heat setting, add the squash and all other ingredients to the saucepan and mix up while you gently heat it, to melt the coconut oil.
  • If you have a hand held blender (immersion blender), you can use that to easily mash up the ingredients right in the saucepan. Or, you can use a potato masher, a fork or put the mixture into your food processor or blender and blend it all up.
  • Now it’s ready to eat! Season to taste with extra sea salt or pepper. If you want a sweeter taste, add more cinnamon. Start with 1 extra tsp, mix it n and see what you think. You can also add another pinch of sea salt and taste again.

Serving Suggestions

  • Enjoy on its own – I sometimes have this as a snack or meal all on its own.
  • Salad topper – A little red leaf lettuce, a drizzle of olive oil and some of this mashed celery root on top is a really great vegan/vegetarian meal! The mashed butternut squash warms the lettuce and it makes a great all around comfort meal.
  • Side dish – enjoy as a side dish with veggies, cooked millet or quinoa.
  • Cold on the road – this makes a great travel food because it tastes great cold too!
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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!