Stuffed Butternut Squash with Beef & Kale topped and a Cinnamon Tahini Sauce makes an easy and healthy flavor-packed meal. Comes together in 50 minutes with 15 minutes of active cooking time. Full of protein, carbs, and healthy fats and is paleo, gluten-free, and Whole30 approved!
Last updated on February 5, 2020. This post was originally posted in October 2017 and sponsored in partnership with Whole Foods Market. All opinions expressed (as always) are my own. I only partner with brands I trust and personally recommend – thank you for your support in helping make Eat the Gains possible!
Say hello to my new favorite healthy comfort food – beef stuffed butternut squash with cinnamon tahini sauce!!
I know the flavor combination might sound a little strange, especially with the sauce but trust me.
First, it has some sweetness from the butternut squash. Then the beef brings some savoriness, it has greens from the kale, and cinnamon and red pepper flakes for a little spice. Finally the sauce brings it all together with some sweet, savoriness, and acidity.
And it makes an all around healthy balanced meal – carbs from the squash, fat and protein from the beef, and veggies from kale, onion, and squash.
If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, you see we eat ground beef pretty regularly – it packs protein and fats and I can cook it up in less than 10 minutes for a quick and easy dinner.
But since I used to be a pescatarian, I’m particular about the that beef comes into our house. Shopping at Whole Foods Market, I don’t have to worry – they have animal welfare quality standards that covers every meat in their meat department.
Animals are never given any antibiotics, no added growth hormones, no added preservatives, have required inspections for animal welfares, and Whole Foods Market is committed to transparency and traceable from ranch or farm. They make finding great sourced meat easy for you.
Stuffed Butternut Squash with Beef & Kale
This stuffed squash might look fancy, but it’s super easy to make and only a handful of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry or fridge. They come together in about 50 minutes, with only 15 minutes of active cooking time. Perfect for a hearty and comforting healthy weeknight dinner or to serve for friends and family at a party.
Here is what you need:
- butternut squash
- ground beef
- garlic powder
- red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
First start off by prepping your squash. Cut in half length wise and remove the seeds. I like to drizzle the flesh with a little bit of oil and salt and pepper to give it in some while it cooks. Roast flesh side down for 40-45 minutes until soft and the flesh gives a little when you poke it.
While the squash cooks, make the tahini sauce (see below).
When the squash has about 10 minutes left, make the beef. Heat up a large cast iron skillet and add a little oil. First saute the onion for 2-3 minutes until softened. Then add your ground beef and some salt and pepper and break it up with the back of a spoon. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
Next add your kale and saute for another 2-3 minutes until wilted down and the beef is cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and spices and mix well to combine.
The squash should be about done. Remove from oven and flip over. Evenly distribute the ground beef mixture among the squash. Finally top with the tahini sauce and enjoy!
Cinnamon Tahini Sauce
It’s not an ETG meal without some kind of sauce and I am absolutely obsessed with this cinnamon tahini sauce. I know what you are thinking – sounds weird and why would I want to put that on my ground beef. But you won’t regret it – it’s sweet and savory with a little acidity and the perfect compliment to the ground beef and butternut squash.
Here is what you need:
- coconut aminos
- lemon juice
Simply add all the ingredients to a small glass or bowl and mix well to combine. If needed you can add more water if you want a thinner consistency. You want to be about to drizzle it on top of the squash.
Can you eat the skin of Butternut Squash?
Butternut squash has a thick and sometimes waxy skin. When it is cooked, it becomes a lot softer and more tender. Technically all winter squash skin is edible, but some are more desirable than others (the smaller the squash, the more soft the skin will be and easier to eat). While you can eat the skin of butternut squash (and I have!), it is best to just scoop out the flesh while eating these stuffed butternut squashes and leave behind the skin.
Meal Prep Stuffed Butternut Squash
Stuffed squash is a great option to make for meal prep. You can do it one of two ways:
- Make the squash and sauce beforehand – roast the squash and make the sauce a few days before you want to eat. Store in the fridge and when you are ready to eat, simply heat up the squash and make the ground beef mixture.
- Make everything at once – on your meal prep day, make all the components and store all the components separately in the fridge. When ready to eat, just heat them up individually and top with the sauce. You can also assemble individual meals and heat it all up at once (without the sauce).
Substitutions for Beef Stuffed Butternut Squash
One of the best things about stuffed butternut squash is that you can customize it to your liking. Feel free to make the recipe your own with whatever you have in stock in your kitchen. Here are some good substitutions or add-ins you can add to the recipe:
- ground meat – feel free to use any kind of ground meat you like. Turkey or chicken would work great!
- squash – any kind of squash will work – acorn, delicata, buttercup, kabocha, or carnival. Sweet potatoes would even be delicious if you don’t have squash!
- spices – the easiest way to change up the flavors in dishes is to change up the spices! Some good ones off the top of my head would be onion powder, paprika, or curry powder, but any spice mixture you like!
- veggies – if you want to up the veggies more, add in whatever chopped veggies you like! Easy ones to add would be peppers and mushrooms.
More Paleo Ground Beef Recipes
Stuffed Butternut Squash with Beef & Kale
- 2 small butternut squashes, cut in half and deseeded (1200-1300 grams each, raw)
- 1 pound ground beef (I used 85% lean)
- 4 cups packed kale, chopped (140 grams)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (60 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- avocado oil, for greasing
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drizzle some avocado oil and salt and pepper on the flesh of butternut squash. Place cut side down and roast for 40-45 minutes until soft.
- Make the sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Add more water if needed. Set aside.
- When there is 10 minutes left on the squash, make the beef. Heat a large well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add oil if needed. Once hot (about 1-2 minutes), add onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add ground beef and salt and pepper and break it up with the back of a large spoon. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kale and cook for another 2-3 minutes until wilted and beef is cooked through and no pink remains. Add cumin, garilc powder, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper and stir through.
- Remove squash from oven and let cool a minute. Evenly distribute ground beef mixture over squashes and top with tahini sauce. Enjoy!
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