Squash Puff

The Recipe: My favorite Thanksgiving side dish for many years but it's so good, the color is so beautiful, I really should make it more often. Plus? It's so easy to make, just roasted butternut squash, puréed until smooth with gently cooked onion, a few spices and a little cream. That topping? Buttery toasted pumpkin seeds! It's so easy to make and such a welcome savory addition to the Thanksgiving table where "sweet" and "rich" seem to preside.

The Conversation: The lessons of "Freedom from Want," the iconic Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving tableau.

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!

"My family loved this savory dish ..." ~ Carrie
"This is great, I've been making it for a few years now ..." ~ Elisia

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? They’re 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 and even three 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, to speak.

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

And do thank God.

ALANNA's TIPS Roast the squash two days ahead, then assemble Squash Puff the day before or morning before serving. Be sure to throw an extra 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 the Pumpkin Seed Granola that garnishes the Pumpkin Soup at Brasserie, a restaurant here St. Louis. Gorgeous! This is definitely a savory (not sweet) casserole but yes, even the squash itself is a little sweet. For something even more savory, try this very similar recipe, Turnip Puff. It's another old family favorite and can be made with either purple-topped turnips or rutabaga.


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 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 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. Add 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.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 147 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 63mg Cholesterol; 118mg Sodium; 14g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 7g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 5

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite family Thanksgiving recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. 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, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

The Familiar Tableau:
Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell

Freedom from Want by Normal Rockwell

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

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!

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 souflé. It's not 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, another egg and double the half & half. I'll report back!

More Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Bodacious Brussels Sprouts Fresh Creamed Corn

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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. Carrie7/22/2007

    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. 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.


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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