You may have heard of the spaghetti squash, but have you ever heard of the mashed potato squash? It’s something I’ve recently stumbled upon and can quickly see it becoming a staple in my autumn and winter cooking.
Known for their beautifully white skins, these squashes are the perfect alternative or addition to your traditional mashed potatoes, and even better when you stuff them back into their own roasted shells and bake until perfection.
That’s exactly what I’ve done here. I’ve cooked the squash to release the soft tender flesh inside, before scooping it out, adding lots of flavour, fat and herbs and then placing back into its scooped-out shell. You can do multiple things at this stage. You can add them back into the oven topped with some nutritional yeast or your favourite plant-based cheese to bake until all melted and golden, you can serve as is (a brilliant option to save time for a quick winter warming lunch dish) or you can go one step further and add on some extra protein, in the form of my favourite lentils that are flavoured with paprika and chilli for that gorgeous smoked flavour (or you could go with classic Smokey beans instead) to make a heartier meal. You could even top it with your own topping of choice and then cover with cheese and bake if you really want to go all out. I would highly recommend doing so if you have the time.
This recipe is pretty much a seasonal twist on the classic jacket but even more fluffy, delicious and warming. So, if you’re bored of eating baked potatoes but want something to replicate that comfort in a bowl, this is the elevated dish for you. Plus getting to explore the world of the ‘mashed potato squash’ will be a gamechanger for you. Make sure to try the squash in multiple ways – eating the mashed flesh on its own and with its shell to discover the ways they are both brilliant in their own right, but together are unbeatable. If you manage to find a rather large squash, you can keep some of the mashed flesh back and store it as explained below. I love making these into
The flesh of these squashes stays true to its namesake and could easily be used in replacement of mashed potato served with a style and range of dishes such as mash topped pies. If you’re looking for a lighter dish, why not remove the mashed filling and save for a future dish – just cool, seal tight in an air-tight dish and place in the fridge. This will last for around 2-3 days. Just reheat in a pan with some plant-based butter or cream or microwave until heated throughout. But the most magical thing is the combination between the soft fluffy mashed insides and the charred roasted skins that are packed full of flavour which is why I love adding them back in for that second bake.
The lentils are pretty magical too. I always make extra so I can have it the next day. The flavours are allowed to deepen and develop further and creates an even richer dish that would go perfect with a range of seasonal roasted vegetables, or
You can eat this dish on its own, just like that humble baked potato, or serve it with a side salad, or roasted (or griddled) vegetables as I have. The sweetness from the greens added with the sharp zesty citrus cuts through the richness of the smoked lentils for a perfect flavour explosion. If you’re going for a simple side salad, I’d recommend making a citrus-based dressing to get the same experience. A squeeze onto griddled veg does the trick, too.
The topping of tahini is optional, but something I highly recommend. That nutty base and runny liquid dripping down the side of the squash is something quite unexplainable. You just have to give it a try to understand what I mean. The layers of flavour just continue to build, and the cool sauce adds another dimension to a relatively simple dish made with complex flavours but simple methods and no fancy ingredients – bar the squash, which is now super easy to find in most superstores and farmer’s markets; if you’re unable to find tahini, you can always use a plant-based sour cream or yoghurt instead.
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