Squash…that looks like mashed potatoes? Now that’s a kind of squash I can get on board with! If you’ve been wondering how to cook mashed potato squash, this garlicky, savory recipe will give you a delicious side dish to enjoy with the fall squash harvest!
In my quest to eat 30 different plants a week, I knew coming up with palatable recipes for plant foods we didn’t eat very often would be necessary. This year, I have really increased my intake of squash specifically. Admittedly, it’s a vegetable (fruit, technically!) I haven’t paid much attention to in the past (outside of zucchini). However, I’ve discovered a new love for this versatile food, and I can’t believe how many varieties I’m able to find at my local grocery stores or local farmer’s market!
One variety of squash I was particularly excited about is the white acorn squash. When roasted, and mashed, the white flesh resembles mashed potatoes, hence the nickname “mashed potato squash.” We have made this dish several times now, and it’s certainly a comforting side dish that is healthy, has fewer calories, and brings me closer to my goal of 30 plants a week.
I won’t tell you mashed potato squash tastes exactly like mashed potatoes–it doesn’t. However, if you like mashed potatoes, you may love the mashed potato squash! It is lighter in texture and a bit on the sweet side in taste compared to Yukon gold potatoes, but when you mash it up with some parmesan, cream cheese, and garlic, you can’t go wrong. I would say the flavor is closer to sweet potatoes than white potatoes, however, sweet potatoes have a stronger flavor than the white acorn squash. It has a mild taste, making it a great recipe for veggie skeptics.
While this is no traditional mashed potatoes recipe, it certainly is a delicious alternative. The best part of learning how to cook mashed potato squash is how easy it is to prepare! This dish is SO easy to make! No need for a food processor, stand mixer, hand mixer, or even a vegetable peeler.
To make this simple & savory recipe, you need:
- Mashed Potato Squash– Much like regular acorn squash but with a bright white rind, this squash will be the perfect base. We are using about 3 lbs–this is the size of 1 large or 2 small mashed potato squashes.
- Parmesan Cheese– This is the perfect savory & salty cheese for this recipe.
- Light Cream Cheese– While I prefer to use light cream cheese to cut down on some calories, regular cream cheese works just as well.
- Garlic– 1 clove or 1 tsp minced garlic from a jar works great!
- Salt & Pepper– about 1/4 tsp each, or to taste.
Here is the step-by-step for how to cook mashed potato squash:
1. Cut Squash & Scoop Out Seeds
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice your white squash in half the long way. Be careful cutting through the stem end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Pour a little oil, about 1/2 tsp, on each squash half and spread it around the entire inside of the squash, then flip the squash halves over and lay them face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the squash for a cooking time of 38-40 minutes, or until nice and soft.
2. Scoop Out Flesh
When the squash is fully roasted, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Use a large spoon to scoop out the roasted squash from the skin into a large bowl. It should come out easily like butter. Use a washcloth or a small dish towel to help you hold the squash if it is still too hot.
3. Grate or Mince Garlic
Mince or grate one clove of fresh garlic into the bowl of squash. Alternatively, you can use 1 tsp of jarred minced garlic, or 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.
4. Add Extras & Mash
Add your light cream cheese and shredded parmesan to the bowl, followed by 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Use a potato masher to mash everything together until it is smooth. Scoop into a serving dish. If you wish, you can top it with some chopped chives or a sprinkle of paprika. Enjoy!
Tips & Variations
This is a great dish to accompany any turkey dinner. It has a savory, tangy, and creamy texture from the cream cheese. If you don’t have light cream cheese, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt are great substitutions, however, we prefer the flavor profile of the cream cheese in this dish for best results.
Now that you know how to cook mashed potato squash, this would be a great side dish to serve alongside your regular mashed potato recipes at Thanksgiving dinner, or for regular weeknight dinners throughout the entire holiday season to get a wider variety of fruits and vegetables on your plate.
You could also serve this as a delicious side dish for the Best Smoked Chicken or our Traeger Smoked Spatchcock Turkey recipe alongside some Orangey Roasted Brussels Sprouts for a beautiful fall-inspired plate.
For 1/6 of this recipe, the nutritional info is as follows:
- Calories: 143
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 5 grams (2.7 grams saturated)
- Carbs: 21 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Store leftover squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Much like other squash, such as spaghetti squash or butternut squash, yes, you can technically eat the skin of mashed potato squash. But to keep the smooth texture of this dish, I recommend just scooping out the flesh.
Mashed potato squash has about 22 grams of carbs per 1 cup of mashed squash (16 net carbs if you choose to subtract fiber). There is no standard definition for low-carb, but compared to potatoes, this would be a low-carb alternative.
Did You Make This Recipe?
If you used this recipe to learn how to cook mashed potato squash, please leave a comment and review! It means the world!
Garlicky Mashed Potato Squash
- 1 Baking Sheet
- 1 Mixing Bowl
- 1 Potato Masher
- 3 pounds Mashed Potato Squash 1 large or 2 small
- 2 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1/3 cup Shredded Parmesan
- 1/3 cup Light Cream Cheese
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- Chopped Chives or Paprika for topping optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Slice your acorn squash open in half the long way. Scoop out the seeds. Pour 1/2 to 1 tsp olive oil on the inside of each half and rub it in. Place the halves face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 38-40 minutes, or until soft.
- When squash is done, remove it from the oven. Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes. Once you can handle it (use a dish cloth to help you hold them if necessary), use a large spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin into a large mixing bowl. It should come out smooth and easy.
- Mince your garlic clove and add it to the bowl of squash. Add your parmesan cheese, light cream cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Use a potato masher to mash the squash until smooth. Scoop into a serving dish and top with chives or paprika if desired. Enjoy!