Mashed Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Salad is not a traditional Japanese dish, but I used dashi stock, soy sauce, and Kewpie mayonnaise to give it a Japanese flavour. The natural sweetness of both vegetables and the creamy texture are so addictive. It is a great alternative to mashed potatoes.
Pumpkins and sweet potatoes go well with almost any type of dish. They are often compared against each other from a nutrition perspective since the flesh has a similar colour and texture, and both vegetables are great for mashing.
There are notable nutritional differences between the two. For example, sweet potato is higher in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar than pumpkin, so it looks like pumpkin is a healthier vegetable. But sweet potato is higher in fibre, vitamin A, and magnesium than pumpkin. So, by mashing both of them, I am getting the high nutrition of both of these!
Mashed Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Salad is usually served as a side, but it also looks great as a finger food.
Buy little canapé cups from a supermarket or make your own cups and squeeze the Mashed Pumpkin and Sweet Potato into each cup using a piping bag. Don’t they look pretty?
What’s in my Mashed Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Salad
- Pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
- Sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
- Dashi stock
- Soy sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Kewpie mayonnaise
- Lime zest or white sesame seed for garnish (optional, not in the photo above)
If possible, use a Japanese pumpkin called kabocha squash. Kabocha squash is called ‘kabocha’ (かぼちゃor 南瓜) in Japan and it means pumpkin. The flesh of kabocha squash is yellowish orange and it is known for its sweet, dense flesh and dark skin. It is much smaller in size than other pumpkins, and the skin is softer and easier to peel.
The flesh of other pumpkins becomes soft and moist when cooked, but kabocha squash becomes dry and starchy like potatoes, which is perfect for a mash.
I think I found a kabocha squash at an Asian grocery store near my home. It simply indicated ‘pumpkin’ in English and ‘南瓜’ in Chinese, which didn’t give me a clear indication that it was kabocha. The vegetable may not be a genuine Japanese kabocha squash, but it really looked similar to kabocha. When I cut it open, I was convinced that it was kabocha. See the yellowish flesh inside.
I talked about Japanese sweet potatoes in my post, Candied Sweet Potato (Daigaku Imo). The flesh of the Japanese sweet potato becomes deep yellow like chestnuts when cooked. I made today’s dish using Japanese pumpkin and Japanese sweet potato that I bought from a Japanese grocery store. See the colour of the mash is yellow.
How to Make Mashed Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Salad
- Put the pumpkin and sweet potato pieces, sugar, dashi stock, and soy sauce in a saucepan, and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 8 minutes with a lid on until the vegetables are cooked through.
- Drain, and mash or purée the pumpkin and sweet potato pieces.
- When the mashed pumpkin and sweet potato cools down, add mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled with either lime zest or sesame seeds as a topping.
If you would like to have a bit of texture in the mash, use a fork to mash the vegetable pieces, otherwise use a blender or a food processor and make a smooth mash.
To serve Mashed Pumpkin and Sweet Potato in small canapé cups, you need to make a smooth mash so that the mash can get through the nozzle of your piping bag.
Mashed Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Salad can keep for about 3 days in the fridge. It’s a perfect side dish as well as finger food. You can also freeze Mashed Pumpkin and Sweet Potato up to 1 month. It is better not to mix the mayonnaise in if you are freezing.
Mashed Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Salad is not a traditional Japanese dish, but I used dashi stock, soy sauce, and Kewpie mayonnaise to make it a Japanese-style salad. The natural sweetness of both vegetables and the creamy texture are so addictive. It is a great alternative to mashed potatoes.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- Lime zest or black sesame seeds
- Salad leaves if serving as salad
- Canapé cups if serving as finger food
Cut pumpkin and sweet potato into about 2.5cm/1” cubes.
Place the pumpkin and sweet potato pieces, dashi stock, sugar, and soy sauce in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil.
Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 8 minutes (note 2), with a lid on, until a bamboo stick can get through the chunkiest part of the vegetable pieces. Drain well.
While the vegetables are still hot, mash the vegetable pieces using a fork (if you want to have some texture in the mash), or use a blender/food processor to purée it so that the mash becomes smooth.
Add mayonnaise, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Mix well.
Taste test to check the flavour. Adjust the flavour with the remaining salt and pepper.
If serving as a salad, place a couple of salad leaves on a serving plate/bowl, then put the mash on the leaves, topped with lime zest or sesame seeds.
If serving as a side, simply place the mash on one side of the serving plate and scatter lime zest or sesame seeds on top.
If serving as canapés, put the smooth mash on a piping bag with a decorative nozzle attached. Squeeze the mash out into a canapé cup, start in the centre and swirl upward. Sprinkle lime zest or sesame seeds on top. See the photo in the post.
1. I recommend using kabocha squash pumpkin, if you can find it. Unlike other pumpkins, the flesh of kabocha squash is dense and becomes dry and starchy when cooked, which makes it perfect for a mash. See the photo of kabocha squash in the post.
If you use Japanese sweet potato with Japanese kabocha squash pumpkin, the mash becomes bright yellow, instead of orange (see the photo in post).
The weight of pumpkin and sweet potato can vary as long as the total weight is about 450g/1lb.
2. Depending on the size of pumpkin and sweet potato pieces, it will take less/more time to cook through them. Do not overcook pumpkin and sweet potato pieces because the mash will become watery.
3. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 258g calories: 172kcal fat: 5.5g (7%) saturated fat: 0.9g (5%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 3.1g monounsaturated fat: 1.2g cholesterol: 3.1mg (1%) sodium: 307mg (13%) carbohydrates: 29g (11%) dietary fibre: 3.7g (13%) sugar: 8.2g protein: 3.5g vitamin D: 0mcg (0%) calcium: 58mg (1%) iron: 1.7mg (9%) potassium: 804 mg (17%)