Stuffed Delicata Squash

I’m feeling the warm heartiness of squash this week! Can’t help but feel inspired with all my good Instagram foodie influencers posting their favorite fall recipes.

One squash that always makes me go hmmm… is the delicata squash. It always looks so easy and effortless in photos on Instagram but then I buy it and feel underwhelmed. One of my favorite IG accounts for food inspiration is paleorunningmama. A couple of weeks ago she posted her version of stuffed delicata squash and I did not hesitate to save it because finally, finally!, I could see myself making a delicata recipe. I use Instacart for grocery shopping and while I added two squash and ground beef to my cart, I forgot to consult her recipe for the other ingredients and figured based on glancing at the recipe that I would have what I needed. Well, I didn’t. So I had to improvise and used her recipe as a guide to make my own thing. We had an unexpected dinner guest the night I put my recipe together and thankfully, all turned out wonderfully. Here we go…

Ingredients:

1 large or 2 small delicata squash

1 lb. of grass fed ground beef

1 small zucchini, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 small yellow onion, diced

4 slices of bacon

8 oz. of mushrooms, roughly chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Heaping teaspoon of thyme

Olive oil, avocado oil, or ghee

Sea salt & pepper to taste

Optional: chopped spinach, shredded cheese, halved cherry or grape tomatoes

Method:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut the delicata squash lengthwise in half. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Rub the cut side with olive oil, avocado oil, or ghee. Salt & pepper generously. Place the cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook in the preheated over for 20 – 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. While the squash is roasting, in a large saute pan cook the bacon. Remove from pan and reserve 2 tbsp. of bacon fat. Add onion and garlic to pan and cook for 3 minutes on low heat. Add the ground beef and cook through til brown. Add the rest of the vegetables and thyme and cook, stirring frequently until soft but still firm (al dente?), approximately 7 – 8 minutes on medium heat. Chop up your bacon and stir in. If you want some extra greens, throw in some chopped spinach at the end and cook until wilted.

Once the squash is done roasting, plate it cut side up. Use a fork to gently mash and loosen the squash, making a nice bowl in the center. This helps to make it super easy to scoop out while you’re eating it and makes room for your delicious filling. Spoon the beef, bacon and veggie mixture in and serve. This meal is Whole30 and paleo. For those of you who enjoy dairy, this is excellent with some shredded cheese sprinkled on top and broiled until the cheese is melted. I topped with room temperature grape tomatoes, halved.

This is another one of those recipes where you can use what you have. And you will look effortless doing it! The key to a good one pot wonder such as this, especially when cooking zucchini, is to be mindful of your veggies. Do not over cook them. You want them hot, but still with a very slight crunch. No mushiness, unless that’s your thing. Other veggie ideas are finely chopped broccoli, diced tomatoes, diced jalapenos for heat, adding shaved brussel sprouts at the end instead of spinach, finely chopped kale, or to make it vegan, use rice in place of the ground beef and omit the bacon. You can saute the vegetables in olive or avocado oil.

Enjoy!

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