Butternut Squash Bharta made in the Instant Pot!

This spiced butternut squash mash is wonderfully spiced with Indian spices and makes a great side!

Goes well with any bread or even rice.

If you love all the Instant Pot vegetarian/vegan recipes that I share on the blog, please join me on this Facebook Group – Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes. The group would feature vegetarian instant pot recipes from all around the web!


It’s sweet, delicious and I love eating it in every form. Whether it’s in soups, salads or this bharta (mash).

If you are looking to make a different Thanksgiving dish this year, then give this Indian inspired mashed butternut squash a try.

It is wonderfully flavored with Indian spices and goes well with any bread or rice/quinoa!

This Butternut Squash Bharta

✓ is made in the Instant Pot

✓ is so flavorful

✓ easy to make in one-pot

✓ is vegan and gluten-free

✓ would make a nice side for the holidays

When I hear the word bharta, I usually associate it with baingan bharta, after all that’s the most popular form of bharta back home.

In eastern UP, we also make aloo bharta which is similar to mashed potatoes but with spices and chilies.

However, this time around I thought of making bharta with butternut squash and it actually turned out very good.

I was pleasantly surprised. It was super easy to make too in the pressure cooker.

The first time around I tested this recipe, I added 1 cup of water and when I opened the pot, there was wayyy too much water there.

Squash and tomatoes release a lot of water when pressure cooked. I ended up using 1/2 cup for this recipe but honestly I think 1/4 cup would work too.

In the end, you do want the bharta to dry out a little. Not completely dry like a stir-fry but shouldn’t have a gravy either.

This butternut squash bharta is flavored with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, smoked paprika and red chili powder.

I also use lot of fresh ginger, garlic which gives the bharta a nice flavor.


Serving suggestions: I enjoyed this bharta with roti and paratha. Sarvesh ate it as a side with rice and dal.

It would go with anything honestly!

If you want to make this bharta and don’t have an Instant Pot, no worries! You can easily make this by roasting the squash in the oven.

Please find the instructions for the oven in the recipe card below.



1- Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. When it displays hot, add the oil and then add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Let them pop.

2- Then add the onion, garlic, ginger and green chili. Saute 2 to 3 minutes.

3- Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and deglaze the pot. Add the coriander powder, red chili powder, garam masala, smoked paprika, salt and sugar.

Mix until combined.

4- Add the butternut squash and water (1/3 to 1/2 cup, squash releases a lot of water when pressure cooked).

5- Close the pot with its lid. Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then do a quick release.

6- Open the pot, press saute and then mash the cooked squash with a potato masher. You may also use a fork.

7- Cover the pot with a glass lid and let it simmer on saute mode for 7 to 10 minutes until the excess water evaporates and bharta becomes little dry.

Note: it splutters, so best to cover the pot with a glass lid when it’s simmering on saute.

8-  The bharta will thicken more as it cools down. Add cilantro.

Garnish with more cilantro and serve butternut squash bharta with roti, paratha or rice.

Adapted from The Splendid Table

Cre: CookWithManali

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