Here’s an impressive centerpiece idea for any Paleo table: savory-sweet roasted butternut squash stuffed with a delicious mixture of beef, bacon, and vegetables, all topped off with caramelized onions for extra flavor. If you’re getting a little bit bored of basic roasted squash, this is one way to pep it up a little without doing a lot of extra work (after all, you were going to need some protein anyway).
This recipe would work better with a larger squash – remember that it has to be big enough to hold a pound of beef plus a bunch of vegetables – but if you can’t find a butternut that’s big enough, you could also go with a pie pumpkin or any other type of squash, or just use two smaller butternuts instead. Alternately, just reserve part of the beef mixture and serve it on the side instead of stuffing it into the squash.
This recipe serves two very hungry adults; if you’re not that ravenous or you’re feeding kids, it could probably go further. If you have any leftovers, it would also be a good one to pack for lunch (assuming you have some way to re-heat it): it’s almost like the Paleo version of leftover casserole or lasagna.
Beef-Stuffed Butternut Squash Recipe
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- 1 butternut squash, cut in half and seeded;
- 1 lb. ground beef;
- 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled;
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced;
- 2 carrots, diced;
- 3 red onions, sliced;
- 1 stalk celery, diced;
- 2 garlic cloves, minced;
- ½ tbsp. cinnamon;
- Cooking fat;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Season the squash with salt and pepper to taste and place in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
- Melt some cooking fat in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add one of the sliced onions, the garlic, the celery, and the carrots.
- Cook until celery is soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the beef, sprinkle with the cinnamon, season to taste, and cook until the meat is browned.
- Add the sliced mushrooms, continue cooking until vegetables are soft, and remove from heat.
- Once the squash is cooked, scrape out some of the flesh from the squash, and mix with the beef and vegetables.
- Stuff the squash with the beef mixture and bake in the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Caramelize the remaining onions in a skillet over medium heat in some cooking fat (this takes about 10 minutes).
- Serve the squash topped with bacon and caramelized onions.