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Spiced and Smoky Butternut Squash

By September 21, 2018Recipes
Reading Time: 3 minutes
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Fall is quickly approaching, and I have to admit my favorite part about fall is the prevalence of winter squash. I love roasting butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash with some simple spices and olive oil.

But sometimes, I forget there are so many other ways to prepare these tasty gourds.

Spiced and Smoky Butternut Squash

This recipe is a unique way to prepare butternut squash that is sure to delight your taste buds. Most of the spices used are available at any grocery store. If garam masala is not available in the international section of your supermarket, it is available at most local Asian or Indian grocery stores (or you can purchase it on Amazon).

Spiced and Smoky Butternut Squash

In addition, this butternut squash recipe uses ghee, also known as clarified butter. Ghee is made by separating the milk solids and water from the butter fat. Because the milk solids are removed, ghee is considered to have little to no lactose content; however, it is not dairy-free. Ghee can be found at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or any local Asian or Indian grocery store.

This butternut squash can be served as a side dish alongside quinoa, lentils, baked tofu, or your favorite protein of choice. It can even be enjoyed on its own.

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Spiced and Smoky Butternut Squash

This butternut squash can be served alongside quinoa, lentils, baked tofu, or your favorite protein of choice. It can also be enjoyed on its own.

Category Paleo, Side Dish, Vegetarian
Compliance Level Kickstart, Lifestyle, Performance
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Tulika Venugopal


  • 1 pound butternut squash cubed (~3 cups cubed butternut squash)
  • 2 teaspoons ghee; also known as clarified butter or regular butter or avocado oil
  • 1 small tomato diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or more, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cilantro for garnish


  1. Prepare the butternut squash. I use frozen cubed butternut squash and steam it. Alternatively, roasting a butternut squash is a great option. The squash can be roasted by first peeling it and cutting it into cubes, and then tossing the cubes in olive oil, salt, and pepper before baking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Once the butternut squash has been roasted or cooked, transfer the cubes to a bowl and mash with a fork. This does not need to be completely smooth; feel free to leave some small chunks for texture.
  3. In a cast iron skillet or a non-stick skillet, melt the ghee over medium-high heat. Once it has melted, add the cumin seeds. After about one minute, the cumin will become fragrant.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Use a spatula to distribute the tomatoes and spices and allow the tomatoes to soften for about three minutes.
  5. Add the mashed butternut squash and stir to combine.
  6. Add the garam masala and liquid smoke, stir to combine, and remove from heat.
  7. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Recipe Notes

If you’re not familiar with garam masala, it is a spice mixture of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves.

The cook times on this recipe are for using frozen squash. If you roast your own squash, then prep time will be 10 minutes and cook time will be 45 minutes.

Tulika Venugopal on Instagram
Tulika Venugopal
Tulika Venugopal is a food and fitness enthusiast. She is a biomedical engineer by day, and she is also a certified yoga and fitness instructor who shares her passion for health and fitness in her spare time.

Tulika has always enjoyed cooking healthy meals to complement her active lifestyle, and she especially loves creating recipes that are accessible for anyone to follow. She has been a vegetarian for her entire life and was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2014, which inspired her to become even more creative with her meals.

Tulika lives with her husband and puppy in Seattle, Washington. She chronicles her gluten-free and vegetarian recipe creations, her Seattle food adventures, and her curious love of arm balances and handstands on her Instagram account.

She writes about various food and wellness topics in her blog, Karma Eats, and has been featured in a podcast in the Glutenfree Globalicious Magazine.