The season is upon us. The farmers are piling the squashes up in their baskets at the farmer’s market, and the harvest looks glorious and full of all those Autumn colors that give me the warm fuzzies. Perhaps it’s why I have food on the brain. Oh no, I remember why: I just love food.
I love this food, and after the first bite, so did Mr. Savvy. This is one of those dishes that is easily made with leftovers and odds and ends that you have lying around. It can be gluten free or vegetarian or very easily, but probably isn’t a good candidate for a vegan or dairy-free meal — the cheese plays an integral role. Go ahead and skim through the ingredients, and then hop to the notes at the bottom of the recipe if you want to make some changes.
Stuffed Butternut Squash
- 1 whole butternut squash, at least 1.5 lbs.
- 1 onion
- a few tablespoons of oil
- ground turkey
- fresh radish greens or spinach
- salt and pepper
- cayenne pepper
- nutritional yeast (optional)
- mozzarella cheese (or other cheese of choice)
Wash your butternut squash and slice in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulpy innards. Place the squash cut side up on a baking pan, drizzle with a little oil, and pop into the oven for 30-40 minutes at 350°F until the squash is cooked mostly through but not browned. This can be prepared ahead, even to the night before, so that your squash is ready to go the next day.
Once the squash is done cooking, heat the oil in a skillet on the stove. Chop your onion into small dice (1/4″ pieces if you can manage it) and cook it in the oil until the onion is soft and translucent. Add your meat and break it up while cooking until there is no pink left and your meat is in small crumbles. Give your greens a rough chop and add them in to the mixture. Add salt and pepper, cayenne, and nutritional yeast to taste and remove the mixture from the heat.
At this point, scoop some flesh out of your butternut squash and add it to the meat mixture, stirring until the squash is well incorporated. The point here is to make some room in your squash for the stuffing mixture, because once you’re done mixing your meat mixture, scoop it into the squash and place slices of mozzarella cheese over the top. Put the whole thing in the oven for another 10-20 minutes at 350°F until the cheese is browned and bubbling, and the squash is cooked through. Serve hot.
Notes: I have some pretty serious food limitations, so I had to use ground meat as my stuffing mixture, but you’re welcome to switch it out for rice, quinoa, couscous, TVP, seitan, or some other choice stuffing base. If you want to increase the recipe, go ahead and add cooked rice in directly to your ground meat, toss in a few more vegetables like asparagus and carrots and mushrooms — whatever you have lying around. The recipe is very forgiving.
What makes this recipe work is the contrast of the sweet butternut squash with the peppery stuffing, and then the salt of the mozzarella cheese. As long as you have those three factors, this recipe should work out for you. It’s fairly time-consuming because you have to pre-cook the butternut squash, but I mentioned that that could be prepared ahead and refrigerated, which should make things a little easier.
©2010 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where I can tell I’m turning into my Memere because whenever I write these recipes, I want to say things like, “cook it until it’s done.” Memere used to say that all the time.