9 Tasty Butternut Squash Baby Food Recipes

Tasty Butternut Squash Baby Food Recipes

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Butternut squash, simply referred as squash, is a vegetable loaded with minerals and vitamins. Its umpteen nutritional benefits make it an excellent addition to a baby’s solid food diet. If you want to include this vegetable in your baby’s diet, but are not sure when or how, MomJunction tells you about it: the nutritional benefits of butternut squash and how to cook it for babies.

When Can Babies Have Butternut Squash?

Butternut squash can be given to babies at the age of six months (1), as a part of their solid diet. If the baby has food allergies, consult the doctor before introducing this vegetable. Butternut squash is botanically a fruit and is a value addition to your baby’s solid food diet.

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Health Benefits Of Butternut Squash For Babies

Here’s how your baby can benefit from eating butternut squash (2) (3) (4):

  1. Good for the eyes: Butternut squash is rich in alpha-carotene and beta-carotene compounds, which convert into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes.
  1. Promotes digestion: Butternut squash is rich in fiber, which promotes healthy bowel movement. It eventually helps minimize indigestion and constipation in babies.
  1. Reduces levels of inflammation: Antioxidants in squash have anti-inflammatory properties that can help if the baby has inflammatory auto-immune diseases.
  1. Good for the immune system: Squash contains vitamin C and nearly all B-complex vitamins, which ensure optimum functioning of the immune system.
  1. Rich source of micronutrients: Vital micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium are found in abundance in butternut squash. These micronutrients are important for a healthy circulatory system and nervous system. Also, winter squash can be an excellent source of calcium for babies growing in vegan households.

Just a little bit of this vegetable can add significant value to the baby’s daily diet.

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[ Read: Benefits Of Pumpkin For Babies ]

Nutritional Value Per 100g Of Butternut Squash

NutrientUnit value per 100g
Energy45kcal
Carbohydrates11.69g
Natural sugars2.2g
Fiber2g
Protein1g
Fat0.1g
Calcium48mg
Iron0.7mg
Magnesium34mg
Phosphorus33mg
Potassium352mg
Sodium4mg
Manganese0.202mg
Copper0.072mg
Zinc0.15mg
Selenium0.5µg
Vitamin C21mg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)0.1mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.02mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)1.2mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.4mg
Vitamin B60.154mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)27µg
Vitamin A532µg
Vitamin E1.44mg
Vitamin K1.1µg

Source: United States Department of Agriculture (5)

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How To Select And Store Butternut Squash?

Select: Butternut squash has an orange-tan color and is taller than other squashes. It is characterized by a round and flat bottom.

Choose a ripened and sweet butternut squash that is deep orangish-tan. Avoid those with a dull coloration and blemishes.

Touch the squash gently to check for its firmness. Ripe butternut squash will feel tender but will not yield to the pressure of the fingers. If it does, then it is overripe. If the squash feels hard, then it is under-ripe and should be given a pass.

Storage: Cover the open pulpy section of a cut/used squash with a cling film before storing it in the refrigerator. Squash can be stored for days together, but when using it for a baby, it is best to consume it within a day.

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[ Read: Baby’s First Foods ]

How To Cook Butternut Squash For Baby Food?

The pulp of the butternut squash is best processed through oven-roasting, steaming, or baking. It helps retain the best taste of the vegetable while also keeping the nutrients intact. You may use the below steps to cook butternut squash for babies:

1. Oven roasting:

  • Peel the squash and cut the pulp into small chunks.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F (176 °C). Grease the butternut squash pieces with a tiny amount of vegetable oil.
  • Place the squash on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
  • Let it cool before serving to the baby. Roasted butternut squash pieces work great as finger food for an older infant.

2. Baking:

  • Cut the squash into two halves in length. Scoop out the lower section that has seeds.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F (176 °C). Place the two halves of squash on a baking tray.
  • Bake for an hour. Once done, scoop out the soft pulp from skin. Puree or mash the baked pulp before feeding your little one.

3. Steaming:

  • Cut the squash into small cubes.
  • Pour about an inch of water in a cooking pot. Place the steamer inside with the squash cubes on top of it.
  • Steam the squash for about seven to ten minutes on a medium flame. Check if they are cooked by gently poking them with a fork.
  • After cooking, let the squash cool before serving as finger food or making it into a puree.

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Butternut Squash Food Combinations For Babies

You can combine butternut squash with the following food items for best results.

  • Vegetables: Root vegetables like carrots, beetroot, and sweet potato go well with squash. Sago pearl, which is made from the root of the cassava plant, tastes good with squash. A stem vegetable like a potato can also be combined with butternut squash.
  • Fruits: Fruits like peaches and pears with mildly sweet and soft pulp can be mixed with squash.
  • Meat: Meat from chicken and lamb taste best in combination with squash when preparing baby food.
  • Pulses and grains: Squash can be combined with grains like rice and millet. Lentils, which are pulses, also make an excellent accompaniment to butternut squash.

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Yummy Butternut Squash Baby Food Recipes

Here are 9 butternut squash baby food recipes packed with nourishment.

1. Squash and applesauce puree

Squash and applesauce puree

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The sweet taste of the applesauce enhances the flavor of the butternut squash pulp.

You will need:

  • 1 cup cubed squash pulp
  • 1 cup chopped apples with peel
  • 3-4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Bake or steam the squash and let it cool after cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (204 °C). Bake the apple pieces for 40 minutes.
  3. Once baked, cool the apples and transfer them to a blender. Add one to two cups of water and blend.
  4. Once the applesauce is ready, add the cooked squash, some more water, and blend them all.

2. Chicken and butternut squash puree

Chicken and butternut squash puree

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Chicken combined with butternut squash pulp make a thick and filling puree for a hungry baby.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of finely-chopped boneless chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups of squash pulp
  • 4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Boil the chicken in a cooking pot for 20-25 minutes on a medium flame, until it is entirely tender.
  2. Steam or bake the squash to cook it.
  3. Or, put the chicken and the squash in a pressure cooker, cook on full flame for one whistle, and then turn the flame to medium.
  4. After that, cook for seven minutes before turning off the flame.
  5. Once they are cool, place them in a blender, add chicken stock, and blend till you achieve the desired consistency.

[ Read: Chicken Recipes For Babies ]

3. Squash and carrot puree

Squash and carrot puree

Image: Shutterstock

You can use other root vegetables like beetroot instead of a carrot to make a vitamin-rich puree.

You will need:

  • 1 cup cubed carrots
  • 1 cup finely-chopped squash
  • 3-4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Steam the carrots in a vegetable steamer for 20-25 minutes, on a medium flame. Poke the carrots with a fork to check if they have cooked to become tender.
  2. To bake the carrots, preheat the oven to 350 °F (176 °C). Place the carrot pieces on a greased baking tray and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  3. Bake or steam the squash pulp. Once cooked, let it cool and transfer it to a blender.
  4. Add the steamed/baked carrots into the blender, add water, and blend till you achieve the desired consistency.

Avoid boiling carrots as that can result in loss of nutrients.

4. Sweet potato and squash mash

Sweet potato and squash mash

Image: Shutterstock

Infants will love the sweet and tasty mash that makes an excellent mid-afternoon snack.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup cubed of squash
  • 1 cup of water

How to:

  1. Place the sweet potatoes into a cooking pot and boil them on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes.
  2. You can also pressure cook the sweet potato for faster cooking. Transfer the potatoes to the pressure cooker. Add a cup of water and cook on full flame till the whistle and then turn off the flame.
  3. Oven-roast the squash and transfer it to a large bowl.
  4. Add the cooked potatoes and mash them all together. Add some water to thin the mash if required.

[ Read: Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes For Babies ]

5. Peach, squash, and oats porridge

Peach, squash, and oats porridge

Image: Shutterstock

This recipe makes a filling breakfast and also a delight for the baby, thanks to the sweet flavor of the peaches.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely-chopped peaches with skin
  • 1 1/2 cups squash
  • 2 cups infant oat cereal or 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 1 cup formula milk

How to:

  1. Cook the peaches by boiling them in a pot of water on a medium flame for 20-25 minutes, or until they become tender.
  2. If using infant oat cereal/rolled oats, boil them for 15 minutes while stirring in between to prevent the formation of lumps.
  3. When using steel-cut oats, transfer a cup of steel-cut oats into a cooking pot, add three cups of water or enough to submerge the oats entirely. Boil for 10 minutes and leave the oats soaked overnight.
  4. In the morning, cook the oats again for 20-25 minutes on a medium flame. Sieve the oats and let them cool.
  5. Steam the squash, let it cool, and transfer it to a blender.
  6. Add cooked oats, peaches, and a cup of formula milk. Blend them at a low speed with a blade meant for coarse blending. Add more formula or water for a thinner consistency.

[ Read: Yummy Oats Recipes For Babies ]

6. Squash, rice, and chicken soup

Squash, rice, and chicken soup

Image: Shutterstock

This is an excellent squash dish for lunch.

You will need:

  • 2 cups boneless chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups of cubed squash
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 4-5 cups of water.

How to:

  1. Cook the chicken by boiling it in a cooking pot for 25 minutes.
  2. Steam the squash and let it cool.
  3. Pour water in a cooking pot, add rice flour, and cook on a medium flame for 20-25 minutes. Make sure to keep stirring the rice flour so that it cooks evenly without any lumps.
  4. Add the squash and cooked chicken to the rice flour. Cook for seven minutes while stirring it continuously.
  5. Let the mixture cool a bit. Transfer it to a blender and blend till it turns into a thin soup-like mixture. Add some water if required to thin the consistency.

7. Lentil and squash soup

Lentil and squash soup

Image: Shutterstock

Red lentils are rich in protein and when combined with squash, make nutrient-packed baby food.

You will need:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups of cubed squash
  • 4-5 cups of water

How to:

  1. Put the red lentils in a cooking pot with water. Cook on a medium flame till the water comes to boil. Simmer the flame, put the lid, and let the lentils cook for 30 minutes.
  2. You can hasten the process by cooking the lentils in a pressure cooker. Transfer a cup of red lentils into the pressure cooker, add three cups of water and cook on full flame till a whistle. Turn the flame to medium and then cook for six minutes.
  3.  Steam the squash and let it cool. Add the cooked squash and the cooked lentils into a blender. Blend coarsely to complete the preparation.

8. Finger millet (Ragi) and squash porridge:

Finger millet (Ragi) and squash porridge

Image: Shutterstock

Finger millets, also called ragi, are rich in minerals such as calcium and iron and can be combined with vitamin-rich squash to make a healthy porridge for the baby.

You will need:

  • 2 cups of finger millet flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of cubed squash

How to:

  1. Put the ragi flour into a cooking pot, add water, and bring it to boil on a medium flame. Once boiled, simmer the flame and cook for seven to eight minutes, stirring the mixture to prevent the formation of lumps.
  2. Steam the squash and add it to the ragi pot. Cook it together for two to three minutes while stirring to ensure they cook evenly.
  3. Once done, let the mixture cool. You can blend it coarsely to arrive at the desired consistency.

[ Read: Steps To Prepare Ragi Porridge For Baby ]

9. Sago pearls (Sabudana) and squash porridge:

Sago pearls (Sabudana) and squash porridge

Image: Shutterstock

Sago pearls, also called sabudana, is rich in carbohydrates and works great as a base for making a squash porridge.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of sago pearls
  • 1 cup cubed squash
  • 7 cups of water

How to:

  1. Pour six cups of water into a cooking pot and add a cup of sago to it. Sago absorbs water, and thus a greater quantity of water is required to boil it.
  2. Bring the water to boil, simmer and cook for 30 minutes while stirring the mix once every ten minutes. After 30 minutes, turn off the flame and let the sago cool.
  3. Steam the squash and add it to the sago. Blend till you achieve the desired consistency.

Butternut squash is a healthy vegetable that suits for most infants. However, some children may have an allergic reaction to it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can my baby be allergic to butternut squash?

Yes, a baby can be allergic to butternut squash. The vegetable is part of the Cucurbitaceae family that yields vegetables with a naturally found toxin called cucurbitacins. Humans can digest this toxin, but some may display an allergy (6).

The primary symptoms to cucurbitacins allergy are stomach cramps and diarrhea. It is followed by other food allergy symptoms like skin hives, nausea, vomiting, swelling of the face, and immense lethargy.

Another type of butternut squash allergy is irritant contact dermatitis, which only occurs on physical contact with raw squash or its leaves (7). A baby who comes in contact with raw squash could develop redness on the skin. They may also develop rashes, blisters, and itching.

Always cook butternut squash before serving it to the baby and keep the baby away from uncooked or raw butternut squash. Wash hands after cooking the squash and before handling the infant.

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Can I give butternut squash seeds to my baby?

Butternut squash seeds are edible and are usually roasted before consumption (9). Since the seeds have a hard hull (shell), they need to be thoroughly chewed, which is difficult for a baby. Avoid giving butternut squash seeds to the baby as they are hard and may prove to be a choking hazard.

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Can butternut squash cause constipation in babies?

No scientific evidence points towards butternut squash as a probable cause of constipation in infants. In fact, butternut squash contains a moderate amount of fiber and is often a recommended food for babies with constipation (10).

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[ Read: Food Ideas For 4 Months Baby ]

Despite the potential to cause allergies, butternut squash is seldom a cause for concern, and most infants can consume the vegetable safely without any allergic outcomes (8). Use it as instructed in the recipes given in this article, or cook it any other way for the baby. But include butternut squash in the growing infant’s diet to make it nutrient-rich.

How do you cook butternut squash for the baby? Let us know about it here.

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Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo took writing as a profession right after finishing his MBA in Marketing. Earlier he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Botany & Zoology from the autonomous St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Rohit has also done a Stanford University certification course on breastfeeding. This botanist-zoologist turned writer excels at life sciences, and at MomJunction he writes everything about pediatrics and maternal care. In between writing and being overly curious, he spends time cooking, reading, and playing video games. LinkedIn profile – linkedin.com/in/rohit-garoo-263115aa
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