Butternut & sweet potato mash with crispy sage

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butternut and sweet potato mash with crispy sage leaves

It’s the middle of winter and the desire for comfort food runs high, I love tricking my body into thinking it’s eating a high-carb meal when instead I’m feeding it something utterly nutritious. This recipe for butternut and sweet potato mash is my attempt at cutting a few calories, gaining more flavour and lowering the GI substantially.

If anything you will fall in love with the colour.

butternut and sweet potato mash with crispy sage leaves

I have tried to make mash out of butternut alone, but generally, it tends to be quite watery and land up like baby food puree, so it’s a good idea to add a tuber to the mix. You could go with potato, but I love the soft orange-fleshed sweet potatoes which I prefer both in taste and texture to their pale fleshed sibling. They seem to be in season now too.

* Cooks notes ~ This would be a fabulous accompaniment to any grilled or roasted meat. Ostrich or duck would be fabulous next to this. How much butter you decide to add is completely up to you. I like to add vegetable stock to the water that I cook the butternut and sweet potato in as it adds a nice flavour, and I prefer freshly ground white pepper to black in this dish.

Recipe | serves 6 4 – 6 as a side dish

  • 1 large butternut (about 1kg), peeled, de-seeded
  • 1 sweet potato (about 350g), peeled
  • vegetable stock (I like to use 1T of Nomu Vegetable Fond)
  • 40 – 60g butter (or more if you would like it more indulgent)
  • 10 – 12 sage leaves (or more if you like)
  • approx 3T butter, to fry the sage
  • sea salt and white pepper (or black if you prefer)
  • a little extra butter melted on top (optional)

Cut the butternut and sweet potato into medium-sized cubes approximately the same size, and add this to a pot of water to which you have added the vegetable stock. Boil until knife tender then drain thoroughly, allowing steam to evapourate.

While the vegetables are cooking, melt the butter in a frying pan. As it starts bubbling, briefly fry the sage leaves until they just start frizzling up. This happens in a matter of minutes. Remove and set aside.

Mash the drained vegetables with a potato masher or stick blender, and add the butter, salt and Pepper to taste.

Serve with the crispy sage leaves scattered on top and with an optional additional drizzle of melted butter.


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  1. I’m always jealous that you’re in a different season than me, because butternut sounds so good! But we’re overflowing with tomatoes right now. I’ll bookmark this for fall/winter 🙂

  2. Yes, it’s so annoying being in opposite seasons. I’m drooling over all the ice creams and stone fruit.

  3. Hi Samantha,
    I read this post and I took some time to understand if its date was correct as you started “Its the middle of winter” , then I realized why 🙂
    Well, here in Ireland (despite myself being Italian and in Italy is always hot in summer) it is not so rare for myself preparing a hot tea or a soup in August 🙂 because the weather here is crazy. Now, fingers crossed it is warm (it hasn’t happened to be like this since 2008). For example last year in June I had to switch on the heating system in the house because was cold 🙂
    As soon as the temperature drops down I will try this recipe. The images are amazing and so the recipe itself.
    All the best,
    Alessandra Neri

  4. Hi Alessandra, thanks for the lovely note, and yes I can imagine it gets chilly in Ireland in summer. I ate this mash with a bolognese mince I made with loads of garlic, tomatoes and vegetables and it was delicious. I think it will work so well with a chicken casserole or a roast chicken.

  5. As much as I love popsicles and BBQs I’m so over this heat. I am just dying to get back to winter vegetables and cardigans.

  6. This is divine….I will have to prepare it soon

  7. This turned out super delicious! Thanks for another fantastic recipe 🙂

  8. i have a huge sage bush and never seem to get through the leaves. It produces so much! I’m going to try your crispy leaves next time, sound like a great edible garnish for any meal 🙂

  9. Hi Lisa, I hardly use sage too, it can be very strong, but when its fried like this with butter and added to pasta and vegetables, I find it mellow and delicious.

  10. So glad to hear Katrin.

  11. I love your blog, your recipes and your photos( i just descovered it)!
    I love butternut and when i`ll come back to the holidays i’ll prepare this mash. Thank you for recipe!!


  12. Thanks Letizia, glad you enjoy.

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