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Squash instead of Sweet Potato?

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For Thanksgiving I used to make a candied yams dish: I would mash the yams (I think I got them candied in a can), bake to heat them up, then arrange marshmallows on top and melt/crisp those. I think I would make a syrup by adding some brown sugar to the syrup the yams came in, and pour that over the top.

Anyway, I was wondering if butternut squash or acorn squash would be a good substitute for the yams? Would it require any modifications to the dish? Would you suggest any other modifications?
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I'm sure that it would be delicious to have a dish like that with butternut squash, but are you suggesting this because of health reasons? Yams are actually really good for you, as long as you aren't adding marshmallows to them. And butternut squash probably won't be any healthier if you are still going to top it the same way.

My signature Thanksgiving dish is yams with a pecan topping. I'm sure it isn't low calorie, but I figure the pecans are good for you anyways. I buy fresh yams, bake them in the oven like you would a regular potato, take them out and chop them into large hunks (also removing the skin). Then I toss them back in the baking dish and make a streusal like topping for them. In the food processor I blend up a big handful of pecans, a small half handful of flour (maybe 1/4 cup), equal amount of brown sugar (1/4 cup) and a pinch of salt. If you want, you can add just a tablespoon or so of butter, but it will come together pretty decently without it. Pulse it until you get a nice mixture and sprinkle it on top of the yams and bake them at 350 until the top is just getting brown. It's become a Thanksgiving favorite in our house.  

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In case anyone but me was interested: apparently Hungry Girl had a similar idea :)

Yam - 1 cup = 158 calories

Butternut Squash - 1 cup = 82 calories

Yams are rich in nutrients, but Butternut squash has more vitamin A, C, calcium and iron than yams. (or sweet potatoes)

So yes, substituting squash would make for a healthier dish.

Good to know the calorie difference. I love yams (sweet potatoes, really) so much that I don't think I could make the switch, but I bet it would work pretty well with butternut squash, if you were looking to cut calories. The only problem I could see is that butternut squash is pretty sweet on it's own, in my opinion, and the texture is different. A little bit of brown sugar glaze might be nice to drizzle on the squash once it's roasted, but I would be careful about adding too much.
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A question about Hungry Girl's "sweet potato" pie (and others I've seen, too):

To her butternut squash, HG adds:
1/2 cup Egg Beaters; Original

1/3 cup light vanilla soymilk 

1/3 cup sugar-free maple syrup

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup SPLENDA; Granular

1 tsp. vanilla extract

The last 4 I understand, for sweetness/taste. But why do you add egg beaters and milk?

In the past I've just used mashed candied yams, topped with marshmallows. This year I was thinking mashed butternut squash (+sweet stuff for taste), topped with marshmallows or a pecan streusel. But ... I'm wondering whether to add the milk & eggs.

Sweet potato pie (and pumpkin pie) has eggs and evaporated milk in it - they give the pie the "pie-like" texture that you expect. If you don't add milk and eggs, you'll just have mashed up squash with some sweet flavoring (more similar to the yam side dish you used to make). It won't be custardy like pie, but it should still taste good. It just depends on what kind of texture you are looking for.
yams and sweet potato are the same thing right?
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Is it like a fluffier texture?
Sorry, I tend to use the words "yam" and "sweet potato" interchangeably. Technically, you can only get sweet potatoes in the US, but we call the orange fleshed sweet potatoes "yams" to distinguish them from the the white fleshed sweet potatoes also available. Real yams are another genus of plant and are not sold here. I think that the information in the CC database for "yams" is actually for orange fleshed sweet potatoes.
when i buy my sweet potatos in the Czech Republic, they translate to sweet i guess they dont eat yams here.  i have never had butternut squash, but regular squash is the ONLY vegatable i will not eat and sweet potatos are my fav...i dont see how you could use them interchangeably in a recipe. 

Hey bobo1! I didn't know you were from the Czech Republic. I've spent a fair amount of time food shopping in Prague because my BF spent his semester abroad there and we've gone back to visit since. I'm pretty sure that what you are getting there is the orange fleshed sweet potatoes, which do translate literally to "sweet potato." But f you are talking to an American, they will often call them "yams," even though it isn't the correct name.

As for substituting butternut squash for sweet potato, you're correct that it won't be exactly the same. But butternut squash is more like pumpkin than other squashes - it is orange and fairly sweet when roasted. The texture is different from sweet potatoes, but the OP was suggesting it as a way to save calories, because butternut squash is much lower in calories. So it won't taste or feel quite the same, but it will work.  

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rsauvageot, do you think acorn squash or buttercup squash would work better or would they be about the same? Is the difference the thicker texture of the yams? (It's hard to describe texture...)
I really don't have any experience with acorn squash or buttercup squash. I think that your original idea of using butternut squash is fine - it just won't have exactly the same texture as yams. to describe texture...I would say the yams are starchier and therefore have a "creamier" texture, whereas the squash has a slightly stringier, lighter texture. You're right, it's hard to describe. But I really think you'll be fine using butternut squash, as long as you aren't trying to make an exact replica of your former dish. Let us know how it turns out!
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Reporting back:

They were yummy!!!!!!! They actually kind of had the starchy texture I remembered from my candied yams. I don't know how much lower calorie they were because I used real maple syrup and real brown sugar (and haven't bothered to enter it into the calorie count). I made two, one with the pecan streusel topping and one with marshmallows on top. Both were really good and while they didn't all get eaten, people wanted the leftovers :)
Original Post by bobo1:

when i buy my sweet potatos in the Czech Republic, they translate to sweet i guess they dont eat yams here. i have never had butternut squash, but regular squash is the ONLY vegatable i will not eat and sweet potatos are my fav...i dont see how you could use them interchangeably in a recipe.

 Butternut squash is not anything at all like the regular green or yellow squash... it's almost identical to pumpkin except it tastes much better (and it's softer and easier to cut up). You don't have to peel it unless you're making a pie or mashing it  (the skin is soft enough to eat when it's cooked!) In Australia they're called butternut PUMPKINS, not squash... 

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