Monday, October 18, 2010

Thinking Outside the Butternut Box

I lucked into another butternut squash (three cheers for neighbors with successful gardens!), and subsequently was left with a major decision: What B-Nut recipe do I try next?

Overwhelmed with options ranging from savory soups to sweet pies, I finally settled on the next squash-a-licious recipe to grace the Hungry Spoon kitchen: Southwestern Stuffed Squash, courtesy of Erin at The Healthy Apron.

Although Erin's recipe calls for Acorn Squash, I've made some adaptations (through trial and definitely error!) to make it work with the good ol 'butternut.

I love this recipe, first and foremost, because it's original and least in the squash department. I typically associate squash recipes with seasonings like sage, thyme, and savory, or sweet potato seasonings like cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg. As a result, my squash recipes often remind me of Thanksgiving. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (case in point: amazing risotto), but sometimes I want my squash sans Turkey-Day recollections. This recipe fits the bill-- a Southwestern flare with beans, cumin, a hint of chili powder. Love it!

Bonus: Not only does this recipe get you out of the traditional butternut box, but the ingredient list is short, and you most likely already have the them stocked in your kitchen. Shorter grocery list? I'm in!

Whatever your butternut craving is, be sure to indulge while you can...'tis the season for squash-a-licious treats. If you're feeling adventurous, push the sage and thyme to the back of the spice rack today--let's think outside the butternut box.

Southwestern Stuffed Butternut Squash
*Erin's recipe actually calls for acorn squash, which is much easier and appropriate for stuffing. However, it worked fine with butternut with some modifications :)

Take advantage of squash season! This recipe offers a great recipe using pantry and fridge staples, and it serves two perfectly. Complete the meal with a side salad and homemade cornbread.
  • 2 butternut squash
  • a little butter (or Smart Balance)
  • water
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup refried beans
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Guacamole/avocado and diced tomatoes for topping

1) Preheat oven to 3500 degrees. Cut squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Lightly brush the tops of each squash half with butter or Smart Balance. Prepare your baking dish by pouring just a little water in the bottom of the dish--about 1/2 cup of water. Place the squash in the dish, butter side up, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 - 60 minutes (the time varies vastly depending on your squash. Check at 40 - 45 minutes to see if the squash is tender. You should be able to pierce it with a fork). When squash is just tender, remove from oven and set aside.

2) Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 - 7 minutes. During the last minute of cooking add cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper to onion.

3) Combine onion with remaining ingredients to complete the stuffing mixture.

4) Now it's time to stuff your squash! You can simply stuff the small squash cavity with the stuffing, and serve the leftover filling on the side. Or, you can scoop out some of the squash to provide more cavity/space to put your stuffing (we scooped out some of the squash for more stuffing space--we also stirred some of the scooped-out squash into the stuffing mixture).

5) Once your squash is stuffed, sprinkle the top with additional cheese, if desired. Return squash to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until heated through. Serve squash with guacamole/avocado, chopped tomatoes, and any extra stuffing mix on the side.


  1. It's been a looong time since I've tasted butternut squash. My tastebuds can't even remember it but that photo is making me salivate!

  2. I also love the southwestern flair. This is a lot different than what I usually do with stuffed squash...which is one of the reasons I love the blog world. I'm always learning new things! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Butternut squash is really the best thing ever. I wish I lived next door to your neighbors!

  4. Hey lady,

    You won my fall giveaway!

    Send your address to and I'll mail it out ASAP.

    Thanks for playing,

  5. butternut squash is really good in mac & cheese too. i love this southwestern style though!

  6. Oh my gosh!!! That looks AMAZING! I love love love butternut squash, but I'm so lame, I hardly ever do anything cool with it. (I just slice it, bake it, and dip it in ketchup! haha) And if I just skipped the cheese, it's vegan! I can't wait to try this!

  7. That really does look amazingly delicious! Kudos on the presentation;)

  8. this is a beautiful dish:) and the flavors in here are just perfect! thank you for sharing this.

  9. This looks like an amazing and filling meal! Gonna try it soon!

  10. Yum -- and you are so right about almost always having those ingredients on hand. Now I just need a squash!

  11. oh what a creative idea- this looks so good!

  12. i need someone (ahem) to make me a butternut squash dish!!

  13. I need to jump on the butternut boat! Love anything with black beans...looks delicious!