A happy Diwali to all with this scrumptious vegan Butternut Squash Cashew Halwa, and here’s hoping it puts joy in your hearts and light in your lives. 🙂
Diwali is a very special time for Indians, including us, the millions of people in the Indian diaspora scattered around the world. We love festivals and festivities of all kinds, and Diwali is the biggest one of them all — the mother of all festivals, lasting five days or even more. It’s hard not to get excited.
Jay, who’ll be spending his third Diwali in the United States this year, is always a little saddened by the fact that there aren’t any lanterns out in porches and no loud firecrackers that turn night into day. But he has been diligently and enthusiastically helping me put little oil lamps in the windows, and this year he’s got Halloween to look forward to, so all’s good.
Diwali is a time for lots of great food, a lot of it sweet, and in Indian kitchens the flurry begins weeks in advance. Sweets like laddoos and burfis and savory foods like chivda and chaklis are cooked and stashed away for the big day, to be eaten and shared.
Since most Indian sweets make liberal use of dairy products, including milk, butter and ghee, I’ve made and shared with you, over the nearly 9 years that Holy Cow! has been around, vegan versions of Indian sweets that are just as tasty and do not involve any animal products. Like this Butternut Squash Cashew Halwa which is made without any milk or ghee.
I love this halwa because it’s not just uber delicious, it’s also rather pretty to look at. Butternut Squash is not a vegetable eaten nor — I think — available in India, but if you can’t find it, just about any winter squash will work great in this recipe, including pumpkin.
I also love that this halwa doesn’t take hours to make, like some Indian sweets do. It does involve some stirring and watching, but the halwa comes together in under 45 minutes, leaving you with plenty of time to enjoy your Diwali or the rest of the day.
Stay tuned after the recipe for more Diwali delicacies to sweeten your day.
Vegan Butternut Squash Cashew Halwa
- 20 oz butternut squash grated
- 1 cup cashews soaked with 1 cup water for 30 minutes then blended into a smooth paste
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp green cardamom powder
- Cashews and raisins for garnish (optional but nice)
- Heat 1 tbsp oil and add the butternut squash. Stir-fry over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the squash starts to soften.
- Add sugar and cashew cream, stir well, and continue to cook, stirring, for about 30-35 minutes or until all of the liquid has disappeared and the halwa is thick and gooey.
- Stir in the cardamom powder and take off heat.
- In a small saucepan or skillet, heat the remaining 1 tsp oil
- Add cashews or raisins if using, and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the raisins puff up and the cashews are lightly golden.
- Pour over the halwa and mix.
- Serve at room temperature or cold.