Maple Butternut Squash Puree

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I was born on Thanksgiving day. Growing up, my mom used to call me her “little Butterball.” I’ve always loved Thanksgiving in its modern form– an autumnal day of thanks, where family and friends gather to eat great food, spend quality time together, and watch a few football games. It’s a grand American tradition that I look forward to all year long.

Of course, the deeper history of Thanksgiving isn’t quite as cozy or romantic as we view it now. The first Thanksgiving was actually a 3-day political meeting between the English colonists and the Native American Wampanoag tribe. While this meeting did include feasting, it was not remotely similar to the Thanksgiving dinners we enjoy today… and sadly, the peace between the colonists and the Native Americans did not last. I’ll be covering the deeper history and culinary roots of the holiday on The History Kitchen in the coming weeks, including some historical recipes to shed light on what Thanksgiving was like hundreds of years ago.

Here in the Shiksa kitchen, I thought it would be fun to develop some dairy-free healthy side dishes to add to the holiday mix. Thanksgiving is an awesome opportunity to indulge, but I hate that heavy feeling that I’m left with after the meal. The sides I’ll be sharing are a bit lighter than the traditional fare– no butter, no cream, yet rich with flavor. Kosher cooks will be able to serve these dairy free sides with a turkey dinner. You won’t miss the dairy, and you definitely won’t miss the calories. They’re also vegan friendly… bonus!

In today’s recipe, I roasted butternut squash to add natural sweetness and flavor to a dairy-free squash puree. The roasted butternut squash caramelizes in the oven and releases its natural sugar, so you only need a touch of maple syrup to sweeten the puree. A little coconut milk adds creaminess and richness to the mix, while cozy pumpkin pie-like seasonings round out the flavor. Cayenne adds just a hint of heat, which takes this puree from good to “I can’t stop eating this” amazing. It’s a healthier alternative to traditional sweet potatoes, which are usually covered with brown sugar and marshmallows. Don’t get me wrong, I love sweet potatoes, and will definitely serve them at Thanksgiving this year. That said, I will probably serve this puree alongside the potatoes as an option for people who are watching their waistline. It’s so easy to make, why not add it to the holiday menu? Heck, why not eat it all season long? It’s healthy and simple enough to add into your regular meal rotation!

For more detailed roasting instructions, or to learn how to roast peeled, pre-cubed squash for this recipe, click here. You’ll also find instructions for roasting the butternut squash seeds, which are every bit as tasty as pumpkin seeds (in fact, I think I might like them even more). Enjoy!

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Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Puree


  • 3 1/2 lb butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of allspice
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt to taste

You will also need

  • Food processor
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: 4
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice off the stem and bottom ends off of the squash so that both ends are flat.
  • Set the squash down on the widest flat end on a smooth, solid surface. Use a heavy chef’s knife to cut the squash from top to bottom, slicing it in half vertically. Scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon. Reserve them for roasting, if desired.
  • Brush the cut surfaces of the squash with olive oil.
  • Place the squash halves cut side down onto a baking sheet. Roast the squash for about 1 hour, turning the baking sheet once halfway through cooking, till the squash is very soft and tender all the way through and the skin is browning and blistered. Start checking for doneness around 45 minutes; smaller squash will cook faster.
  • When the squash is roasted, scoop the flesh out of the skin and put it in a food processor.
  • Add the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and spices.
  • Puree for 2-3 minutes till smooth and creamy. Add salt to taste and blend again.
  • Serve warm.

Other Great Recipe Ideas:

The Pioneer Woman: Pumpkin Soup

Simply Recipes: Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Agave and Balsamic Glazed Roasted Buttercup Squash

Steamy Kitchen: Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes

Closet Cooking: Butternut Squash Carbonara

Comments (14)Post a Comment

    1. Hi Patt– yes, but you might need more coconut milk to make the texture creamy. Butternut squash has more moisture than sweet potatoes. Also, the blades of a food processor may give the potatoes a slightly “gummy” texture, so if you’re going to use sweet potatoes, I would mash it by hand using a potato masher. The spices and other ingredients should work great though. And you may need a little more maple syrup to sweeten– add to taste. Enjoy!

  1. You had me, until I saw coconut milk. Blech. I haven’t had a decent one yet. Any other non-dairy substitutes you’d recommend (not that I care, I plan on using milk, but for your non-dairy readers…)?

    1. Hi Shari; if you’re going dairy, use cream or half and half instead of regular milk. The puree is helped by the creamy, thick consistency of the coconut milk, so heavy cream would be the best dairy substitute. I’ve had some great coconut milks and coconut milk creamers. I suppose if you were looking for a non-dairy sub you could use any thick unflavored non-dairy creamer, but I prefer using something more natural like coconut milk. Enjoy!

  2. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Regarding dairy subs – Coconut milk is wonderful because it has that creamy texture. I agree that going natural is so much better than using chemicals. Unsweetened MimicCreme (which is made from nuts, just not coconut) is also a fabulous sub for cream. Highly recommended for its taste as well. I love this recipe and plan on making it this week when I roast a turkey breast.

  3. What type of coconut milk do you use? I am always confused when it comes to choosing a can of coconut milk. Sometimes I would like a sweet coconut milk and other than buying one of each brand and tasting it…I never know which one is the best one to purchase. Any recommendations? I am going to try this. I love butternut squash in way…=) Thanks for posting this recipe!

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this and it was easy and delicious. I love it and cannot wait for my husband and mom to try. I know they will love it too! Mine didn’t come out as that pretty orange yours is. Mine is duller. Why do you think that is?

    1. Hi Tracy, that just means that your squash was not as brightly colored as mine. The shade/color naturally varies from squash to squash, and at different times of the season. I’m so happy you like the puree!

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This is one of the foods the white people were taught by the Haudenosaunee ( The Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy including Mohawk, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Tuscarora and Senecas ) to eat. The Haudenosaunee used to grow Corn, Beans and Squash all in the same field and together. The reason being that the corn plants would allow the beans something to climb on and the leaves from the squash plant that hugged the ground kept the weeds down. They used to hollow out the squash shells, dry them out and use them as gourds to hold drinking water. Just some interesting facts I thought you would enjoy. I enjoy your recipes, they are all delicious.
    From Ottawa, Ontario, Canada,

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Just made this. It’s delicious! Actually, it’s amazing. The ingredients add up to much more than one could imagine. It’s even great served as a leftover, cold!

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