Savory Mashed Pumpkin (With Coconut)

This savory mashed pumpkin is a sweet and spicy side dish made with fresh pumpkin and topped with crunchy coconut. Serve this pumpkin mash on toast or with chicken, fish, or rice and curry as a vegan side dish.

closeup view of savory mashed pumpkin served in a white ceramic plate.

About pumpkin mash recipe

This Halloween season you might be preparing yourself for carving those pumpkins or baking a pumpkin pie or cooking roasted pumpkin soup. Why not cook something different with the pumpkin, that is equally tasty and nutritious?

This mashed pumpkin recipe is quite versatile. It can be served as a side dish with any protein. The leftovers can be used as topping for wraps or spread on toast with leftover meat or fried eggs for breakfast the next day. Add this curried mashed pumpkin to cooked oatmeal for a savory pumpkin oatmeal porridge.

This recipe is loosely adapted from “Mathanga Erissery”, a simple Indian mashed pumpkin recipe that uses pumpkin, coconut and a few spices. Disclaimer: carrots, onions, and fennel seeds are not part of the traditional dish. I’ve taken the liberty to add them for extra flavor and nutrition.

The main ingredients of this easy vegan pumpkin recipe – pumpkin, coconut, garlic and fennel seeds among other health benefits, help reduce bloating and aid digestion. That makes this recipe an absolute bloat-buster that helps in weight loss.

This is a must-have recipe especially during the holiday season when you tend to overeat. With just 96 calories this mashed pumpkin is a perfect side dish that is so HEALTHY, so TASTY.

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Health benefits of pumpkin and other ingredients

Pumpkin is packed with nutrients such as beta carotene, antioxidants, Vitamins A and C, which are essential for heart and eye health. Though pumpkin tastes sweet, it is low in sugar, starch and calories. It is an amazing source of water, packed with potassium, fat-free, high in soluble fiber, reduces bloating while helping digestion and elimination. The high potassium content of pumpkin is known to lower blood pressure and risk of stroke and heart disease. (source)

Fennel seeds have a calming effect on the intestine. Its antispasmodic properties can reduce intestinal cramps, bloating and flatulence. It reduces bad bacteria and increases good bacteria in the gut. It is also rich in various minerals and vitamins, antioxidants, flavonoids and phytonutrients.

Coconut, due to its strong antioxidant properties and high fiber content, improves digestion, increases metabolism, stabilizes glucose levels and fights infections.

Garlic, in addition to regulating blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, is rich in antioxidants and helps stimulate digestion and appetite, thus reducing bloating.

Turmeric: Its healing properties come from its main ingredient curcumin which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. If you’re a fan of turmeric, you might want to try the delicious 4-ingredient turmeric tea recipe.

Ingredient notes

  • The pumpkin I’ve used here is the winter squash or Japanese pumpkin. The small sugar pumpkin can also be used.
  • Carrots provide a delicious crunch and more beta carotene.
  • Desiccated coconut adds to the crunch and sweetness. The traditional recipe uses roasted coconut. I personally prefer raw coconut shreds, you can use either.
  • Mustard and fennel seeds, onion and garlic enhance the flavor.
  • Chili powder adds a spicy contrast to the sweet pumpkin. Curry leaves are used for garnishing.
ingredients for savory mashed pumpkin.

How to cook mashed pumpkin

How to boil pumpkin on stove

Clean and cut the pumpkin in half. Spoon out the seeds and peel using a peeler or knife. Chop pumpkin into 1-inch cubes. Boil the pumpkin cubes with a pinch of salt in a large pot of water. It would take about 10 minutes for the pumpkin to cook. Drain and keep aside.

Quick tip: Do you find it difficult to peel or chop fresh pumpkins? Try this hack: Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Roast in the oven with cut side down at 200°C/ 392°F for 15 to 20 minutes until it becomes soft enough to peel and chop. You can also roast all the way until the pumpkin is fully cooked and scoop out the flesh (as I did in the whole roasted pumpkin soup). But that would take longer than boiling the cubed pumpkin on the stovetop.

How to flavor boiled pumpkin

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and fennel seeds. After they splutter, add onions, garlic and curry leaves. Saute until onions are lightly browned. Add boiled pumpkin, grated carrot, chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Stir on low flame for about 10 minutes until all the ingredients are mixed well. Mash with the ladle until you get the desired texture. Turn off the heat and garnish with fresh desiccated coconut and curry leaves. You can also use toasted coconut flakes for garnishing.

How do you use Pumpkin Mash?

Serve mashed pumpkin with lemon-flavored brown rice for a healthy vegan meal.

Savory mashed pumpkin on a white plate and served with lemon-flavored brown rice on 2 plates.

Spread savory mashed pumpkin on toast. Top with fried or boiled egg slices or shredded meat for a breakfast rich in fiber and protein.

savory mashed pumpkin on toast and a white ceramic plate with mashed pumpkin.
mashed pumpkin on toast

More serving suggestions

As a side dish with:

Common questions about mashed pumpkin

How to cook fresh pumpkin?

There are many ways to cook pumpkin: Chop and boil on stovetop, slice and roast in the oven or roast as a whole. Fo the stovetop method, peel and chop the pumpkin into small cubes. Cover with water and bring it to a boil. Simmer until soft to the touch. Drain and season as per the instructions.

How long does pumpkin take to boil?

Chopped pumpkin cubes take just about 5 to 10 minutes to boil. Chopping and boiling is the quickest method to cook fresh pumpkin for mash.

A few fun facts about pumpkin

  • Pumpkins are fruits and are 90% water.
  • The world’s largest pumpkin weighs more than 1,700 pounds.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was in 2005 and weighed 2,020 pounds.
  • In early times, the pumpkin was used as an ingredient for the crust of the pie, not the filling.
  • Pumpkin flowers are edible.

Looking for more side dishes?

recipe for mashed pumpkin garnished with coconut and curry leaves in a white plate.

Savory Mashed Pumpkin Recipe (With Coconut)

This savory mashed pumpkin is a sweet and spicy side dish made with fresh pumpkin and topped with crunchy coconut. Serve this pumpkin mash on toast or with chicken, fish, or rice and curry.
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast, Side Dish, Spread
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 96 kcal


  • 1 kg Pumpkin Japanese pumpkin, also called winter squash. Sugar pumpkin can also be used.
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • curry leaves for garnish


  • Peel the pumpkin and chop into 1-inch cubes. Boil the pumpkin cubes in a large pot of water until soft, but not mushy. Drain and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard and fennel seeds. Once they splutter, add curry leaves, minced garlic, and the onions and saute until soft.
  • Add the cooked pumpkin pieces, grated carrot, chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Stir on low flame for 10 minutes until well blended.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with grated coconut.
  • Serve with rice and curry for a wholesome vegan meal. Or serve as a side dish alongside meat or fish. The pumpkin mash can also be spread on toast and topped with boiled eggs or cooked meat.



  • The pumpkin can be mashed after boiling if you want it smooth.
  • Carrots and coconut add extra color, flavor and nutrition to the mashed pumpkin. You can skip them if you want a creamier texture.
  • The desiccated coconut can be toasted for extra crunch, while it also keeps well if you want to use leftovers the next day.
Make-ahead option: This mashed pumpkin keeps well for a couple of days in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. In this case, use roasted coconut or dried coconut bits.
Left-overs: Store in an airtight container and use it up the next day.
nutrition facts for pumpkin mash

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This post was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated with new photos to serve you better!

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2 thoughts on “Savory Mashed Pumpkin (With Coconut)”

  1. Yum. I absolutely love pumpkin in Indian style food. An inspiring recipe for me to try – perhaps as a side dish to your spinach and lentils. Love the interesting facts you’ve added. I’m curious as to have how the pumpkin was used to make a pie crust….

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