Squash Puff

My favorite Thanksgiving vegetable dish for many years, a savory butternut squash casserole with beautiful color, just roasted butternut squash stirred with gently cooked onion, a few spices and a little cream. That topping? Buttery toasted pumpkin seeds! Squash Puff is easy to make and a welcome savory side dish to the Thanksgiving table where "sweet" and "rich" seem to preside.

Squash Puff ♥ KitchenParade.com, an old family recipe traditional at Thanksgiving, a welcome savory make-ahead casserole, just creamy winter squash topped with pumpkin seeds. Rave reviews! Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegetarian.

Fresh & Seasonal, Perfect for Thanksgiving & Other Fall Meals. Easy to Make Ahead. Vegetarian. Weight Watchers Friendly. Rave Reviews.

  • "My family loved this savory dish ..." ~ Carrie
  • "This is great, I've been making it for a few years now ..." ~ Elisia
  • "Still passing on the recipe, all these years later..." ~Elisia
  • "[with spaghetti squash, pumpkin and cashews]... it came out quite nice."

Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell, an essay about national unity ♥ KitchenParade.com

Lessons from "Freedom from Want"

This column about the iconic Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving tableau was first published in 2005 when our country was divided over the Iraq war. I meant it to be apolitical then and please know, given our country's current division, I truly mean it to be apolitical now.

In a world of polarity, it’s easy to discern what’s "truth" and what’s "spin".

Truth? That's the stock of judgments held by folks whose ardent beliefs match our own.

Spin? That's the malicious, manipulative deception spewed by the "other" guys.

Yet consider these four titles. Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want. Freedom to Worship, Freedom of Speech.

Truth or Spin? Those are the names of four paintings by artist Norman Rockwell, canvases inspired by the world vision of FDR, a wartime president.

Truth or Spin? Patriotic punditry or perverse propaganda? Or in gentler, less polarizing prose, perhaps only outmoded Americana?

The Thanksgiving tableau in Freedom from Want is familiar yet enigmatic. Is that three (or four?) generations gathered round? And what of the Sunday clothes and Mother’s good dishes?

Truth or Spin? It’s still hard to know for sure, even if the outcome of that war, what we call World War II, two, three and even four generations past, is largely known.

So let us give simple thanks, then, for what we do know today, the words we have right, and privilege, and responsibility, to speak.

Call it truth. Call it spin. But do call it Freedom.

Squash Puff ♥ KitchenParade.com, an old family recipe traditional at Thanksgiving, a welcome savory make-ahead casserole, just creamy winter squash topped with pumpkin seeds. Rave reviews! Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegetarian.

About This Recipe

  • Squash Puff is a vegetable side dish, a purée of roasted butternut squash thickened with egg, cream and flour and topped with roasted pumpkin seeds. The squash casserole has been a Thanksgiving tradition in my Canadian family (and in my own kitchen) for many years.
  • The distinctive ingredients are the pretty orange color and fall flavors of the roasted butternut squash and the tiny touch of white pepper that ensures a distinctive savory casserole. No sugar here!
  • Ingredient List = butter + onion + about 3 cups roasted butternut squash + 2 eggs + half & half + flour + baking powder + salt & white pepper + pumpkin seeds
  • The side dish is prepared in two steps. The first preparation step takes about 20 minutes and can be done up to a day ahead of time, making it extra-convenient for make-ahead for big meals like Thanksgiving. The second step is to bake the Squash Puff in time for serving hot. If the first step is done ahead of time and refrigerated, it helps to bring the casserole back to room temperature before going into the oven, otherwise, extra time should be allowed.
  • The squash itself has a golden hue that's quite lovely but overall, the dish appears kinda naked without some sort of topping (I use toasted pumpkin seeds) that offers hints of what's underneath.
  • The recipe as written yields about 3 cups, that's six half-cup servings. I always double or even triple the recipe for more servings but for big meals like Thanksgiving with lots of food and vegetable side dishes, I plan for a quarter-cup serving per person. If there are leftovers? Wonderful! Squash Puff reheats beautifully!

Hmmm ... This Squash "Puff" Isn't Really "Puffy"

I inherited this recipe from my Canadian family – wow, way back in the 1980s, that's how long I've been making it! I inherited the name too.

But please know, "puff" is a bit of a misnomer, this definitely is not a poofy soufflé.

Squash Puff isn't heavy but it's not light and airy either. The next time I make it, I think I'll try giving it a little poof with an extra egg and double the half & half. I'll report back!

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this old family recipe for a butternut squash casserole hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Squash Puff ♥ KitchenParade.com, an old family recipe traditional at Thanksgiving, a welcome savory make-ahead casserole, just creamy winter squash topped with pumpkin seeds. Rave reviews! Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegetarian.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 65 minutes
Makes 3 cups
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cups (675g) roasted butternut squash (or another winter squash)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half ‘n’ half
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), for garnish

Heat the oven to 375F/190C.

SAUTÉ ONIONS Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and slowly soften, about 10 minutes.

MIX SQUASH Meanwhile, purée the cooked squash with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or so after each addition. With a spatula, stir in the onion and remaining ingredients (except the pumpkin seeds) and combine well.

TOAST PUMPKIN SEEDS Add the pumpkin seeds to the hot, still buttery skillet and toast for 2 – 3 minutes on low heat. Pay close attention, pumpkin seeds turn fast!

BAKE Turn the squash mixture into a well-greased pie plate or quiche pan, it'll be about an inch thick. Smooth the top and scatter the pumpkin seeds over top. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

LEFTOVERS This Squash Puff reheats beautifully, wonderful to have leftover after Thanksgiving. One year, we formed the leftovers into patties, dusted them with flour and then fried 'em up for breakfast. Nice!

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Make the Squash Puff the day before serving, cover and refrigerate. Toast the Pumpkin Seeds too but refrigerate separately. It's best to bring the Squash Puff back to room temperature before going into the oven, at Thanksgiving, my cue is to get it (and other premade casseroles) out when the turkey goes into the oven. But if it's put in the oven cold from the refrigerator, no problem, just allow at least an hour to cook clear through.

DOUBLING THE RECIPE For small dinners, I bake this in a shallow quiche pan that holds four cups, that means it's about an inch thick. But at Thanksgiving, I usually double the recipe to serve our crew of about twenty and bake it in a two-quart Corning baking dish. That means the casserole is quite a bit thicker than one inch! So I allow extra time for bringing it to room temperature and for baking, about double for each.

ALANNA's TIPS Roast the squash up to two days ahead, then assemble the Squash Puff itself either the day before or the morning before serving. Be sure to throw an extra squash into the oven to enjoy that night! To yield 3 cups, start off with three to four pounds of butternut squash (my favorite); kabocha squash (also wonderful but harder to find); or acorn, Hubbard or another winter squash. Slice in half, remove the seeds and membrane, then roast face down on a baking sheet for an hour at 400F/200C until the flesh is soft, about 60 to 90 minutes. With any luck, you'll be able to simply lift up the skins, leaving soft and succulent squash beneath. For easy clean-up, be sure to line the baking sheet with foil or silicone. Not happy about cutting an unwieldy squash in half? No problem. This technique works great, How to Roast a Whole Butternut Squash. If pumpkin seeds aren’t handy, top with buttered bread crumbs. You do want something to break up that plain appearance. One year I used a sort of granola called Sweet Pumpkin Seed Crumbles. Gorgeous! Squash Puff is definitely a savory (not sweet) casserole but yes, even the squash itself is a little sweet. For something even more savory, try a very similar recipe, Turnip Puff. It's another old family favorite from my Canadian family (and the recipe gets lots of attention at the time of Canadian Thanksgiving!) and can be made with either purple-topped turnips or rutabaga.
FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See https://www.kitchenparade.com/2005/11/squash-puff.php .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 142 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 63mg Cholesterol; 115mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 2g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 5 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 4 & blue 3 & purple 3 & future WW points
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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/22/2007

    My family loved this savory dish and the leftovers were great. The moniker "puff" doesn't seem quite right, though. "Puff" brings to mind a dessert. Thanks for the new favorite.


  2. Carrie -- You made my day! So glad it worked for you, thanks for the thought on the name.


  3. Alanna,
    A delightful and gently provocative piece. Thanks.

    Have a good T'day, my friend.

  4. I guess some might think WiFi's not a thing to be grateful for as it may seem to techie but I am most grateful for the freedoms you mention in your essay and this techie thing the WiFi as he brings me such amazing friends as you.

  5. You can tell where my mind is - the first thing I noticed was that is one huge turkey - and she looks like it must weigh an ounce!
    Lovely squash 'puff' - I like that word; it implies souffle-like without the effort (to me)

  6. Anonymous11/21/2007

    Good thoughts...

    Happy Thanksgiving, Alanna, and thanks for all your good tastes throughout the year!

    best, Stephen

  7. Happy thanksgiving, dear Alanna! And thank you for all the wonderful veggie recipes you're sharing with your readers!!

  8. Elisia S11/24/2013

    This is great, I've been making it for a few years now and continue to pass on the recipe.

  9. Elisia ~ Oh good, it’s a favorite of mine too, on the menu for this week’s Thanksgiving! FYI it can also be made with either turnip or rutabaga, they’re just as tasty! Here’s the link -- http://www.kitchenparade.com/2006/11/turnip-puff.php.

  10. Still passing on the recipe, all these years later...

    1. Elisia ~ Ann you’re so sweet to say. My Canadian family is thrilled! Our Thanksgiving is a little different this year (outdoors we hope and on Friday!) but I’m seriously considering doing a few side dishes early in the week to have “leftovers” on Saturday! Top of the list? Squash Puff!

  11. I made it with a mix of spaghetti squash and pumpkin (found it in the freezer) and topped it with chopped cashews, used three eggs and it came out quite nice.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna