Grilled Pulpo with Mashed Butternut Squash


Well, the holidays have finally come to a close. Some of you may have ended their holiday season on January 1st.  In Spain, as in some other countries, we celebrate King’s Day (celebrating the arrival of the three wise men) on January 6th. The day before, there are lively parades in towns throughout Spain celebrating the 3 Kings. The night is especially appreciated by the children, as good kids anticipate presents brought by the kings during the night while they are sleeping. Kids that may have been a little bad might get a little coal with their presents.

As with any festivity in Spain, we celebrate with food. (Of course!) After the parade, my family gets together and we’ll celebrate with a late evening meal of charcuterie and other delicious treats. The next day, King’s Day, kids awake to presents under the tree. Except that these presents were brought by the 3 Kings, not Santa Claus like here in the US. Later on in the day, the family gets together for another feast at grandma’s house. (This year, there were 28 of us!)

Holidays in Spain are long, but I love the traditions and time spent with family.

Today I made something that is a blend of cultures. Something more common in Spain, and something a little more typical here in the US. This is a seasonal dish, and one that light and tasty. Grilled Pulpo with Butternut Squash

Pulpo is the Spanish word for octopus. It is very common in Spain, and is eaten throughout the year. It can be difficult to find, but even I can normally find it in my local grocery store in my small Maryland town. Sometimes I can find it fresh, and other times frozen. Usually, it is imported from Spain, adding to the authenticity of this dish! I paired it with butternut squash, which is a common and seasonal vegetable, adding a sweet and colorful component to a savory main ingredient. I find the flavors complement each other and also add a good textural comparison.

A lot of you might be a little wary of an ingredient such as octopus, and would probably steer clear of it because you don’t know how to prepare it. But, it’s super easy and I’ll show you how to do it! If you like seafood as I do, you’ll love octopus.

Ingredients: (For 2-3 people)

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 small octopi (1 lb each- this was what was available in my market)
  • 2-3 T brown sugar (30g)
  • 3 T unsalted butter  (30g)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • paprika (optional)

For the Octopus:

Add the octopus to boiling water and and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove them from the heat and let them rest in the still-hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.


You can buy pre-boiled octopus. If you do, I would highly recommend boiling them again for about 20 minutes. Boiling the octopus will ensure it is more tender, and less chewy.

Cut the heads off from the octopi, make sure to remove the hard beak, and then cut the legs. We are only going to continue with the legs.


Cook the legs on a hot grill (or pan) for about 5 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil. Browning them a little will help bring out the flavors. Remove from the heat and season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper, and sprinkle with paprika.


For the Mashed Butternut Squash:

Peel the squash and remove the seeds. Cut into large chunks, then boil  for about 15 minutes, until tender. Mash the squash until smooth, as you would for mashed potatoes. Add 2-3 table spoons of brown sugar (vary to the sweetness you want), unsalted butter, and salt and pepper to taste.


Simple, seasonal, and delicious. Bon profit!

Grilled Pulpo with Mashed Butternut Squash

Pulpo a la Gallega

Hola hola foodies!! Jump to Recipe

I am back from Spain and I have some recipes to post. I had a great vacation time at home with my family and friends.

I wish I would have posted more, but I’ve been really busy and the schedules are crazy over there! Lunch at 3pm and dinner at 10pm. I think the earliest dinner I had it was 9:30, the latest was at 10:45, ai ai ai! Crazy, but I gotta say I do love it. It’s all about gathering with family, relaxing with a glass of wine or sparkling wine, and talking, talking, talking until your eyes can’t stay open anymore and you have to go to sleep.

All of the food is so good. Everything is so delicious! Thank goodness the United States allows you to bring some kinds of food. We brought four different cheeses and some wine and cava, so at least I still have a little taste of Spain.

For today, I’ll post something that you can generally find in the U.S., though it is not as common here as it is in Spain, pulpo (octopus). Today’s dish is called Pulpo a la Gallega. It is a very typical Spanish dish from Galicia (northwestern Spain). It can be served as a tapa or as a main dish.

Pulpo a la gallega

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Course: Appetizer, dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: spanish
Keyword: octopus, pulpo, seafood
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 Ibs Octopus
  • 2 Big Potatoes Optional: skin on
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil For drizzling
  • Paprika (sweet)
  • Salt
  • Sea Salt


  • Add the potatoes, and the octopus to boiling water and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Insert a knife in the legs, If it goes in easily, it's ready to eat. Do the same with the potatoes.
  • Remove them from the pot and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  • Optional: peel the potatoes. I find peeling them after they are cooked is much easier. You can leave the skin on.
  • Slice the potatoes (1/4 inch) and place in a layer on a serving plate. Drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with paprika and salt (NOT seal salt).
  • Slice the octopus into 1/2 inch thick slices and place it on top of the potatoes.
  • Generously, drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with paprika and sea salt.
  • Simple, delicious and ready to serve! Bon profit!
Tried this recipe?Did you make this recipe? Tag @joyofspanishcooking on Instagram and hashtag #joyofspanishcooking


Pulpo a la Gallega