Winter Squash Puree

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This spicy cooked vegetable puree is typically served as a starter – one of many such purees popular across North Africa. Flavored with harissa (spicy hot pepper taste popular in Algeria & Tunisia), this is a truly authentic dish. If harissa is easily available, substitute 1 tspn (or more) to taste for the cayenne. This dish can be served as a side dish, as a salad, or an hors d’oeuvre.


  • 2 pounds winter squash (kabocha, butternut etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons plus an additional 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice (fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons plus an additional 1 teaspoon olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves (to taste) (peel, halve, remove any green shoots)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or more, according to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (freshly ground)
  • ¾ teaspoon coriander seeds (freshly ground)
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne, to personal preference
  • Small Romaine lettuce leaves and imported black olives for garnish

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)
    153 calories; 2 grams protein; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 21 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 5 grams sugars; 300 milligrams sodium


The information shown is only an estimate based on the available ingredients and specified preparation. This should not take the place of a professional nutritionist’s advice.


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Take foil and cover a baking sheet/baking tray, before lightly brushing with olive oil. Cut squash in half, scoop out any seeds and membrane, and brush cut sides with olive oil. Lay cut side down on the foil. Bake until soft enough to easily pierce with a knife, approximately 40 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool before peeling and mashing with a fork (or puree in a food processor with a steel blade). Stir in 2tbsp of lemon/lime juice, as well as 2 tbsp of your extra-virgin olive oil.
  2. Mash the garlic and salt into a paste using a mortar and pestle, then transfer & stir into the puree along with all the spices. Taste, and adjust seasoning if required. Pile in a wide bowl or platter, and run a fork down the sides. Combine the remaining olive oil & lemon juice and drizzle over the top. Use the olives to decorate, and serve with warm flat bread, and lettuce leaves for scooping.