A Maharashtrian twist to Thanksgiving!


On Thanksgiving, what happens to people who want to have a Friendsgiving but can’t and won’t cook a turkey? Be innovative! Experiment!

A pictorial representation of Butternut Squash dish. Not a replica of recipe. Photo: stock photo from Dreamstime

Bake a Butternut Squash Turkey instead. And an Acorn Squash Pie dessert to finish the meal.

Bake it like a Bombayite, with the Maharashtrian touch, cooking with lots of coriander including the tender stems, freshly grated coconut, finely chopped curry leaves, very finely chopped ginger root, one or two slices of fresh turmeric root, a handful of fresh fenugreek leaves, fresh rosemary, lemon zest, and freshly roasted crushed peanuts. For heat, add one tiny horizontal slice of a green chili pepper.

Take any gourd – bottle gourd or summer squash or zucchini or butternut squash. You will need lemon and lime and orange zests. So then what kind of a dish would be the end-result! Very tasty and very light at the same time. One can experiment and the possibilities are endless. The stuffing can be anything – any vegetable, or chickpeas with spinach or prepared sabudana khichadi!!

Butternut Squash Turkey

Here is what you would need to make Butternut Squash Stuffed Turkey!


  • 1 Butternut Squash whole
  • 1 bag of frozen cluster beans
  • 2 tablespoons Peanuts roasted well, with skins removed and crushed coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated coconut or dry shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 bunch fresh Coriander
  • 2” piece of fresh ginger root
  • ½” piece of fresh turmeric (can be replaced with powder)
  • 1 or 2 very thin horizontal slice of a green chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh fenugreek leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons extra light olive oil or oil of your taste
  • 1 teaspoon brown sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole carom seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds for garnish (not absolutely necessary)
  • ½ teaspoon salt or less


  • Defrost cluster beans by washing in warm water. Take excessive water out and microwave for 2 minutes. This will not only dry them but also half cook them.
  • Slice the butternut squash in half, taking care not to cut your hands.
  • Take out the seeds and the veins with a spoon. Leave the skin on and set aside
  • Finely chop coriander leaves and tender stems, curry leaves, rosemary leaves, fenugreek leaves, ginger and turmeric.
  • Mix together the chopped leaves and herbs, sesame seeds, lemon zest, and the crushed peanuts. Reserve a tablespoon of coriander leaves for garnish. (If this mix is more than needed, it can be frozen for future use.)
  • Place the dry half cooked cluster beans in a pan on medium heat along with the carom seeds. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to it. Stir for 2 minutes. Add the coconut and the green chili pepper slices and stir. Don’t let the coconut be browned. Add the chopped herbs and peanuts mixture and salt and stir for a minute more.
  • Line a large baking dish or two medium baking dishes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brush the skin of the butternut squash halves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place the butternut squash halves face up.
  • Spoon the cluster beans stuffing into the butternut squash halves. Cover with foil.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender and its skin has turned brown.
  • Bake uncovered for 5 more minutes.
  • Once out of the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice, black sesame seeds and coriander leaves.
  • To serve, carve the butternut squash halves into thick slices, lift gently out and serve into the dinner plates.
  • Alternatively, to make it easier to serve, instead of putting two large halves of the butternut squash, slice it before baking into individual serving sizes, brush each individual slice skin with olive oil, brush individual au gratin oval bakers with olive oil and bake.
  • You can bake two butternut squash and double the other ingredients if having more guests. The butternut squash can be prepared earlier and kept ready to be baked. If cooked earlier in the day, heat it in the oven and not the microwave.

A Light Dessert: An Acorn Squash Pie

Acorn Squash. Stock photo from Dreamstime

Traditional Thanksgiving menu includes a sweet potato pie which has been cooked long to caramelize it and becomes heavy as a dessert after dinner. An acorn squash pie, baked in individual portions in a muffin pan, becomes light and refreshing.

To bake an acorn squash pie, you would need the following ingredients.


  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons Turbenado sugar (preferred, but can be replaced with brown sugar or jaggery powder)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sesame seeds
  • 12 Britannia Marie Gold Biscuits (1 pack)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (can be replaced with Ghee or extra light olive oil for baking)
  • 1 large muffin pan
  • 12 large muffin paper liners


  • Wash and skin the 2 acorn squash.
  • Cut them into ¾ ” square pieces and place them in a bowl.
  • Grind the Marie biscuits with a little butter, ghee or olive oil.
  • Brush the inside of the muffin holes with butter, ghee or oil.
  • Place the paper bakers into the holes and brush their inside.
  • Put 1 tablespoon of the Marie biscuit mix into the muffin paper liners pressing them down firmly at the bottom.
  • Toss the squash pieces with sugar, ginger powder, black pepper, salt, sesame seeds, orange zest, and lemon zest.
  • Fill the mixture into the muffin paper liners.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the squash pieces are tender and browned.
  • Sprinkle some turbenado sugar before serving

Archana Adalja is a Contributing Editor at Parikh Worldwide Media



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