Healthy and vibrant, roasted butternut squash makes for an amazing and colorful alternative to classic mashed potatoes with its mildly sweet flavor and silky texture. And with the rich, nutty addition of browned butter, sage and roasted garlic, this roasted butternut squash mash is a lovely side dish on any fall table, including a certain holiday one...
A Mash of a Different Color
When I was a kid, my mom used to make a delicious mash out of rutabaga, a unique, golden-purple root vegetable that resembles a turnip, with a mildly similar flavor.
She would prepare it in place of mashed potatoes from time to time—peeling, then boiling and mashing it, and then she would add in a good bit of butter, salt and a hint of black pepper. I remember just how that delicious concoction used to melt in my mouth... I loved it!
Just goes to show that a unique and scrumptious “mash” can be prepared with something other than the usual spuds.
And that brings us to another perfect pick for a mash, the lovely butternut squash.
Roasted Butternut Squash, All Mashed Up with Browned Butter
While pumpkins tend to get most of the attention in the fall, the other lovey little specimen of an autumn squash that just about ties the pumpkin in popularity and in use in recipes fit for the fall season is the butternut squash.
I love butternut squash, and use it a lot in my cooking. I enjoy making it a star in recipes like my Butternut Squash Soup with Chicken, White Beans and Bacon, or in my Autumn Butternut Squash Lasagna; in salads like my Sweet & Savory Harvest Salad, and in a hot and cheesy dip like my Butternut Squash & Spinach Dip.
It's packed with vitamin C and E, fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6, and it's also an extremely versatile veggie that roasts up beautifully and is low on carbs—an ideal colorful, eye-catching swap for a roasted, mashed or boiled potato recipe.
And that's why I thought it'd be a great alternative for me to whip up this silky roasted butternut mash to offer up on my fall table (worthy of even a holiday spread) in place of my usual mashed potatoes, with a hint of rich, nutty browned butter, sage and sweet-savory roasted garlic to enhance things, and give it that additional little boost of fall flavor.
It's a festive and slightly unexpected change from the traditional, which is one of the very things I appreciate most about it.
(Kind of like mom's rutabaga mash! ) 😉
How to Roast Butternut Squash
Roasted butternut squash couldn't be easier to prepare, and takes very little time at all to cook. With just several simple steps you'll be on your way to roasting up some butternut squash and then preparing one of the best alternatives to mashed potatoes you've tasted!
- Heat your oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with either parchment or foil.
- Toss cubed butternut squash (you can easily find prepared butternut in most markets these days, already peeled, seeded and cubed) with a bit of olive or avocado oil, some salt, pepper, maybe even a few other seasonings of your choosing, and turn out onto prepared baking sheet.
- Roast the butternut squash for about 25-30 minutes, stirring about half-way through for even color, or just until the squash is easily pierced with a paring knife or fork.
Tips & Tidbits for Roasted Butternut Squash Mash:
- Purchase prepared butternut for ease: You can readily find prepared (peeled and cubed) butternut squash at the markets these days—so convenient and quick!
- Make brown butter ahead: I just love to have brown butter on hand for all sorts of uses, as it has a very toffee-like aroma and flavor; so the recipe below yields a bit more than you'll need, and I think you'll be glad it does. Use leftovers for pasta, or anywhere melted butter is called for such as in cakes, cookies, pancakes, etc. Store unused portion in the fridge in a glass mason jar with a lid, or a similar container, and easily melt in the microwave for a few seconds to liquify.
- Use a potato ricer, or a masher: I really like to use my potato ricer for this mash recipe, since is yields a smoother texture; but feel free to mash by hand until the squash is as smooth as possible.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Roasted Butternut Squash Mash with Brown Butter, Sage and Roasted Garlic
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
• 2 heads garlic
• Avocado or olive oil (2 tablespoons)
• Black pepper
• 4 pounds peeled and cubed butternut squash (I like to purchase mine already prepared)
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (Italian dried herbs)
• 4 tablespoons brown butter (*see recipe below)
• 2 teaspoons chopped, fresh sage leaves
• 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds, as garnish (optional)
-Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
-Cut the tops off of the heads of garlic, drizzle with a touch of oil, and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper; wrap the heads tightly in foil and place onto the baking sheet and into the oven for 15 minutes.
-Meanwhile, toss the cubed butternut squash with about 2 tablespoons of oil, plus a good pinch of salt and pepper, as well as the Italian seasoning, and after the garlic has roasted for 15 minutes, pull the baking sheet out of the oven and add the seasoned butternut squash to it; place back into the oven (now you have both the squash and the garlic heads on the baking sheet) and roast for 30-35 minutes (the garlic will have roasted for a total of roughly 45-50 minutes by the end), or until the squash is tender.
-While the squash and garlic roast, prepare your brown butter (see the recipe below), and set aside.
-Once the butternut squash and garlic are finished roasting, mash the butternut squash very well by hand until completely smooth, or, use a potato ricer (my favorite for a silkier texture), and pass the squash through that and into a bowl.
-Unwrap the garlic heads and squeeze the soft cloves from their papers; using a knife or even a fork, mash the cloves until they become a paste, and set aside for a moment.
-To the butternut squash mash add 3 tablespoons of the brown butter, and additional salt/pepper, if needed; add in the roasted garlic paste, along with half of the chopped sage, and fold that in to combine; spoon the mixture into s a serving bowl, and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of brown butter over top as a garnish, along with the rest of the sage leaves and the pomegranate, if using.
-Serve immediately while hot.
Brown Butter Ingredients:
• 1 cup unsalted, cold butter, cut into cubes
(this yields more than you'll need for the recipe)
-Add the butter to a light-colored sauce pan or skillet, and allow it to melt—this takes about 2 minutes on medium-high heat.
-Once melted, allow the butter to continue to cook, bubbling up and slightly “hissing”, stirring occasionally with heat-proof spatula for even browning; watch the color of the butter closely, as within about 3-5 minutes it will begin to take on a more golden color and a nutty aroma—that means you are close; when you stir and see the solids on the bottom taking on a brownish color, remove from heat and continue to stir for another moment or so until a nice, deep brown color develops to the solids; then, pour everything into heat-proof glass jar to cool, making sure to scrape all of those delicious brown bits in, as well.
-Store at room temp if using immediately or within 24 hours, or in then in the fridge, covered tightly, if preparing a couple days ahead.