In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

What happens when you introduce shrimp to butternut squash?

butternut squash recipeSounds like a bad combo? Not if you’ve ever tasted my mom’s recipe for pumpkin (butternut squash in this case) cooked until it’s melted and as you turn of the heat you add some cooked shrimp to the mix. As a kid pumpkin and/or squash was one of those things we (my brother and sisters) would never allow to enter our mouth (we had a sentry posted at the entry to REFUSE all pumpkin-like food ) but as an adult the few times we can get our mom to cook it for us, we’re ever so thankful.

Here’s my take on my mom’s recipe for butternut squash with shrimp. Feel free to use any type of cooking (not the carving type you get for Halloween) pumpkin if you wish.

You’ll need….

1 butternut squash (about 2lbs) – peeled and diced
1/2 small onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic – sliced thin or crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 habanero pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar

For the shrimp….

10 medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
1/4 small onion – chopped
1 clove garlic – crushed
1/4 teaspoon ketchup
1 tablespoon cilantro – chopped
dash of black pepper
dash of worchester sauce
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

NOTE: Though adding the shrimp gives it another layer of flavour, vegetarians can abstain from this step.

Start by cutting open the squash and as you would cut a watermelon into slices, do the same (you will need a heavy kitchen kinfe) . It can be a bit tough, but with a sharp potato peeler or as in my case a paring knife peel the skin away. Then using a spoon, scrape out all the seeds and surrounding tissue. Wash and slice into 1/2 inch cubes so it will cook fast.

butternut squash

butternut squash recipe (2)

Then dice the onion, garlic and pepper. After which you can now place a saucepan on med-high heat and pour in the olive oil. As the oil heats and comes close to smoking, add the onion and garlic. Allow to cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the cubed squash.

how to cook pumpkin

onions ofr squash recipe


With the heat between medium and low, add the sliced pepper (optional) black pepper and salt, then cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. While this simmers lets get the shrimp seasoned and cooked.

Place the cleaned shrimp in a bowl and season with the ingredients mentioned above for this step (minus the oil). In another sauce pan heat the oil and add the seasoned shrimp. Keep the heat on high and only cook for about 3-5 minutes. When the shrimp turns changes colour, it’s a good indication that it’s cooked. Overcooking with cause the shrimp to go tough and change the flavour and texture of it. Don’t cover the sauce pan or it will spring a lot of water and stir as it cooks. Remove from over the burner when you’re done or the remaining heat will continue to cook the shrimp.


shrimp and pumpkin recipe

trinidad pumpkin recipe

shrimp with squash recipe

Back to the squash. After the 20 minutes the cubes should be tender and melting away, this is when you can add the brown sugar. Using the back or your cooking spoon, press down on the cubes of squash to make into a chunky paste. If it’s a bit runny at this point, allow any liquid to burn off. When the paste like consistency is thick and free from any liquid turn off the heat and add the shrimp we just cooked. Stir it in well to add the shrimp flavor to the entire dish.

vegetarian recipe butternut squash

how to cook butternut squash

butternut squash with shrimp

vegetarian pumpkin recipe

Maybe you have a different way of preparing this dish or one that similar? Leave me your comments below. BTW, don’t forget to taste for salt.

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  1. Maureen Richards
    July 11, 2016 / 11:56 pm

    Chris I cannot eat shell fish, can this be made with salt fish?

  2. Richard
    March 5, 2015 / 8:20 pm

    This is a fantastic recipe! I live on the Gulf coast during the winter months and the quality of the available shrimp is not to be believed. The butternut squash must be in season somewhere since the local farmer market is flooded with them.

    We really enjoyed this one. Thanks.

  3. Sue
    February 18, 2014 / 10:17 am

    As an English person living way over the ‘other side of the pond’ I have found your dishes excellent. Whilst I have cooked Jamaican food for my husband and children over the years, this has been mainly by asking other people and gaining a little insight from my husband (who by the way is an excellent cook). But you give me really good ideas and the little tips you give are the icing on the cake. Keep up the good work, I look forward to making some more. Well done.

  4. rohini
    September 10, 2013 / 1:52 pm

    I do appreciate the pics…i’ve tried some of your receipes and oh boy they were devine. Pumpkin & shrimp went down well will dhal puri

    Keep it coming receipes with veges, chicken, fish, shrimp, goat, lamb, crab, conch etc. The receipes I receive with either beef or pork I’ve tried with some other meat(since i don’t eat beef nor pork).

  5. lilly
    September 3, 2013 / 9:37 pm

    I’m allergic to shrimp so my mom always added some saltfish to her pumpkin for me with sada roti! Now that’s my go to when I’m craving some thing quick and Trini

  6. Maureen Dwarika
    September 2, 2013 / 2:27 pm

    Dear Chris

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your recipes, tips and guidelines etc. I have tried a couple of your recipes and they do taste divine. I love the way you illustrate with the photos of step by step cooking. I am from Trinidad so I can identify with the different dishes, seasonings, methods. It brings back such good memories of my mom’s cooking, together with a warm, homey feeling.

    You are doing a great job. Take care and Best cooking.

  7. Debra
    March 12, 2013 / 8:40 pm

    Add some cumin /gerra and ginger for the most delicious flavor, I make it same as your recipe with the two added ingredients with sada roti or fry bake yummy…debra

  8. kellz
    January 20, 2012 / 1:02 pm

    Love pumpkin and dry shrimp but its hard to find pumpkin and dry shrimp where i am living too. So I'm gonna try this one.. yum i can already taste it!!

  9. Oldst Owns
    July 18, 2011 / 7:01 pm

    Excellent fare. Dosti roti or paratha for me with this.
    Keep them recipes coming

  10. trini
    December 29, 2010 / 4:37 pm

    I make this recipe as a soup with chopped ginger, cumin and a hint of yellow curry. A base of yellow split peas cooked to mush to start it off. No ketchup or worchester sauce in the shrimp seasoning. It's pretty good eating.

  11. Brandon
    December 7, 2010 / 6:44 pm

    Tonight is second time making this dish and it's cold outside. It will be great! Thank you for the recipe.

  12. Gayle
    October 23, 2010 / 9:57 pm

    I sprayed cubed squash with olive oil, sprinkled with sage and baked it 15 min before starting. after adding cooked tender squash cubes, I didn't cook much more so as to not allow squash to become muchy. We really liked the new combination of tastes.

  13. Sprat
    September 18, 2010 / 1:02 pm

    I enjoyed this recipe…and did mine a bit differently and served it in the butternut squash …boat stylee!

    Was delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:45 pm

      thx for stopping by and leaving your comment. always appreciated.

  14. Antonette
    June 21, 2010 / 12:22 pm

    I love this recipe, will try it as I love both shrimp and squash. Will let you know how it turns out.

  15. Amoy
    April 15, 2010 / 5:07 pm

    will try it Chris

    • April 17, 2010 / 11:50 pm

      don't forget to drop by again and let us know how it turns out for you

  16. Debbie Munro
    April 6, 2010 / 2:43 pm

    Chris….. your dishes are so simple to follow with the illustrations….I could almost smell and taste the stuff as I scroll down! …lol! keep up the good work. I would really love to get the recipe for Keish (not sure of the spelling). Thanks

  17. March 12, 2010 / 8:00 am

    hi chris nothing could beat the taste of pumpkin and shrimp with some nice hot sada roti, and don’t forget either lime pepper sauce or some kutchela at the side , a dish to die for , stay tuned bye for now……

    • admin
      March 14, 2010 / 8:57 pm

      Taramatteelalla, lime pepper sauce with mine please. I have a small bottle my mom made for me that I save for such occasions. It’s amazing on soups as well.

      happy cooking


  18. debbe
    December 9, 2009 / 8:04 am

    i try this and love it

  19. sgoddis
    November 19, 2009 / 4:51 am

    I forgot to ask how many servings would you say this the above recipe is good for? I am cooking for 12!

  20. sgoddis
    November 19, 2009 / 4:49 am

    Getting pumpkin to cook is next to impossible in Canada, but its really easy in London. Cilantro on the other hand is next to impossible now….I am cooking this for a party this weekend. I let you know how I get on

    • April 17, 2010 / 11:23 pm

      Hope it turned out well for you and your guests.

  21. INDIRA
    November 11, 2009 / 1:01 am

    will try looks tasty …i’m sure my grammy will like this as she always calls me on Sunday asking “Ninny (her nickname for me) what u cooking today”.

    • April 17, 2010 / 11:22 pm

      Say hello to Ninny for me and be sure to get a recipe off her to share with us.


  22. October 8, 2009 / 9:06 am

    Cynthia, the recipe originated from pumpkin, but since getting good cooking pumpkin here in Canada is a chore, it evolved into using squash. Funny enough, growing up on the islands I loved pumpkin and hated squash.. not it’s reversed.
    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..How to make green Mango Chutney. =-.

  23. Toronto-ess
    July 20, 2009 / 6:03 pm

    I will try this!

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