Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash

Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash
Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash
This image courtesy of Minori Kawana

Editor's Note: If you've ever seen a display of just-picked butternut squash and wondered how to prepare it, then you'll want to keep this recipe up your sleeve! Featuring an array of spices, this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash will be a delightful addition to any menu. You'll especially love the vibrant and bold color that the squash achieves after it is cooked in the saucepan. Everyone in your family will love this tasty vegetable recipe, and you will especially love how easy it is to prepare it! You can easily serve the squash as a hearty side dish or as the main dish for vegetarians.

It is amazing how this firm winter squash with its camel exterior and orange flesh easily cooks down into a soft mashed consistency. I made this dish at our family Thanksgiving dinner this year, and it was enjoyed by all. Butternut squash have thick necks with a rounded bottom. Look for firm ones with matte, rather than glossy skin, which indicate it was picked too early and will not be sweet. These squash keep for a few weeks in a cool dark place such as your pantry. Butternut squash have carotenoids, which are compounds that give it its bright orange color, help prevent cancer, and are good for your cardiovascular health.

Refrigerator Life: 3 days
Freezer Life: 1 month

Serves3 to 4

Preparation Time10 min

Cooking Time25 min



  • 1 butternut squash (about 1½ lbs/700 g)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Wash and peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler or knife. The peel is tough, so you may have to use a bit of force to peel it off until you see the orange-yellow flesh. Cut off both ends and discard. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out any seeds and strings and discard. Chop the squash into about 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces.

  2. Pour the oil into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the cumin seeds and let brown, about 10 seconds. Do not let the cumin seeds burn and turn black. Immediately add the chopped squash, turmeric, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the saucepan. Cook until the squash becomes completely soft and mashed, stirring occasionally and mashing the squash with a large spoon, about 25 minutes. Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later!

Reheating Method

Place the refrigerated or defrosted butternut squash in a microwave, cover and stir periodically. Or, place it in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir periodically.


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