Southwestern Ground Beef Stuffed Butternut Squash is an easy weeknight dinner that combines Autumn/Winter squash together with Tex-Mex flavors to create the ultimate comfort food that has everything! Protein, veggies, fiber, carbs, and cheese. It's gluten-free and perfect for meal prep! This recipe features Black Beans, Corn, Tomatoes, Green Onions, mild Green Chiles, Cheddar, and Pepper Jack Cheese.
Southwestern-style ground beef stuffed butternut squash
Ground beef can taste so flavorful when combined with the right ingredients and spices. In this Fall-inspired recipe, the ground beef is cooked in Southwestern spices, then combined with black beans and lots of veggies (corn, cherry tomatoes, green onions, mild green chiles), and stuffed into roasted butternut squash halves. The Tex-Mex savory flavors pair really well with the subtle sweetness of the squash. It's a perfect recipe to make on a rainy night when you crave comfort food - just like this recipe: Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash with Spinach, Pecans, and Cranberries.
Why make it
- It's a budget-friendly recipe that uses easily accessible ingredients, such as ground beef, canned black beans, canned corn, and canned green chiles.
- It's easy enough to prepare on a busy weeknight and is perfect for meal prep.
- And, the presentation is stunning - this dinner looks like Autumn on the plate.
- It's fancy enough to make for entertaining guests during colder Fall/Winter nights!
Why this recipe works
- Flexible recipe. You can use any large winter squash (butternut squash, acorn squash, or spaghetti squash) and stuff it with the Southwestern ground beef mixture.
- Great for meal prep and freezing. Everything in this recipe can be made 1 day or up to 3 days in advance. Then, just reheat it in the oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes or longer until everything is heated through. It also freezes well.
Southwestern ground beef stuffed butternut squash is a colorful and festive meal that can be served either as a side dish or main course. It's vibrant and colorful and will grace any holiday table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Year's Eve! It will surely please almost every taste because this dish uses easy ingredients and is super tasty blending savory and sweet flavors in a perfect flavor combo!
- Butternut squash is the star of the show! This winter squash has a beautiful orange color and a sweet and nutty flavor. Slice each butternut squash in half and roast it in the oven before stuffing it with ground beef.
- Ground beef. Use the leanest kind you can find since you will be draining all the fat and liquid after cooking it anyway.
- Corn. This is a perfect recipe for canned sweet yellow corn.
- Black beans. I used low-sodium black beans that I drained and rinsed really well.
- Green onions are a must-have in this recipe. They have a milder flavor than regular onions and work well in Tex-Mex recipes.
- Tomatoes. I used sliced cherry tomatoes, you can also use regular tomatoes.
How to cut and peel butternut squash
- Safety first! Be careful and pay attention at all times as the squash has a hard exterior that can be slippery. Pay attention to safety and keep your fingers away from the knife to avoid injury. Use a sharp knife and a non-slip cutting board.
- Microwave the butternut squash for about 5 or 10 minutes (or longer) to soften it.
- Cut the top and the bottom parts of the squash on a non-slip cutting board so that you can stand it upright.
- Place the squash standing upright on a cutting board - with a heavier "bulb" shaped end standing on a cutting board. Hold the top of the squash steady with one hand, and use a knife to carefully slice the squash in half always positioning the knife away from the hand and the fingers that hold the top of the squash steady.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and the strands.
The overview of the recipe directions
This is a quick overview of recipe instructions and some step-by-step photos. For a complete and detailed recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.
1) Roast the squash. First, you will slice each butternut squash in half and then roast the squash in the oven at 400 F for about 30 minutes or longer.
2) Cook the ground beef. In the meantime, you will cook ground beef on the stovetop.
3) Add spices and other ingredients to the beef mixture. Then, you will combine the cooked ground beef with Southwestern spices, black beans, and veggies: black beans, corn, sliced cherry tomatoes, mild green chiles, and chopped green onions. And season generously with more spices and salt.
4) Prepare the squash for stuffing. When the butternut squash is done roasting, cut out small indentations in the cooked squash to prepare it for stuffing. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh leaving about a 1-inch border along the sides. See photos for more clarity:
5) Stuff the squash. Add back the scooped-out squash into the Southwestern beef mixture and stuff this ground beef mixture into each squash half.
6) Add cheese on top and bake. Top each ground beef stuffed butternut squash half with shredded Cheddar and Pepper Jack cheese.
7) Roast in the oven at 400 F for about 10 or 20 minutes until the cheese melts.
Can you make it ahead?
Of course! Follow these tips:
- You can assemble the whole dish (including the cheese on top) in an oven-safe large pan, cover it with the lid (or foil), refrigerate it, and bake it within 3 days. Because all the ingredients are already cooked, this dish is perfect for meal prep!
- Another option is to roast the butternut squash up to 3 days in advance and then proceed with the rest of the recipe when you're ready.
Storage and reheating tips
- Fridge. Refrigerate the leftover ground beef stuffed butternut squash in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Reheat in the oven. Reheat it in the preheated oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes or longer until completely heated through. Cover with foil when reheating in the oven.
- Reheat in the microwave oven. You can also microwave the stuffed butternut squash. For the best and fastest results, you can take the ground beef mixture out of the butternut squash, and reheat this mixture and the butternut squash separately. Then add back the ground beef mixture to the butternut squash. Top with more cheese, if desired.
What to serve with it
- Vegetables. Ground beef stuffed butternut squash makes a great combo with green vegetables such as these Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze or green beans with pine nuts.
- Fresh Salad. Serve this winter squash with a simple spinach salad or a basic arugula salad with lemon zest, Parmesan, and pine nuts.
- Arugula Salad with Apples, Cranberries, Pecans, and Balsamic Dressing
- Cranberry Spinach Salad with Cashews and Goat Cheese and Lemon-Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
More butternut squash recipes you might like
- Creamy Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Sausage, Spinach, and Tomatoes
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries
- Sheet Pan Maple-Dijon Chicken with Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts
- Creamy Butternut Squash Orzo with Sausage
- Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Spinach
Southwestern Ground Beef Stuffed Butternut Squash
Roasted butternut squash
- 2 butternut squash (medium size - I used the ones that were 7 or 8 inches long)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- black pepper freshly ground
Ground beef mixture
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 16 oz ground beef
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt or more
- 15 oz canned black beans rinsed and drained
- 15 oz corn kernels cooked, drained
- 4 oz diced mild chiles canned
- 10 oz cherry tomatoes sliced
- 6 green onions chopped
- ½ cup pepper jack cheese shredded
- ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded
How to roast butternut squash
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Prepare the butternut squash. Slice each one in half lengthwise. (Note: you can microwave a whole butternut squash (before slicing it in half) in the microwave oven for 5 or 10 minutes to soften it up). Keep fingers away from the knife to avoid injury. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fleshy strands tangled with the seeds.
- Place butternut squash cut sides up on a baking sheet. Drizzle the cut sides of butternut squashes with olive oil and rub the oil into the squash. Season generously with salt and pepper. Turn the squash over, and place it cut sides down on a baking sheet. (Tip: you can line the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.)
- Roast in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 or 40 minutes on the middle rack.
Make Southwestern ground beef mixture
- While you roast the butternut squash, make the Southwestern ground beef mixture.
- In a large, high-sided skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until completely cooked through. Drain any fat and liquid.
- Add all the spices to the drained and cooked ground beef and mix to combine - chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt.
- Add drained and rinsed black beans, corn, sliced cherry tomatoes, diced mild green chiles, and half of the chopped green onions to the same skillet and mix very well to combine over medium heat.
- Taste and season with more spices and mores salt, if needed.
How to stuff butternut squash
- By this time, you have roasted the butternut squash for 30 or 40 minutes. Remove it from the oven and turn cooked squash halves cut sides up.
- Let it cool slightly. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh leaving about a 1-inch border along the sides. (For reference, I provide the step-by-step photos for this step, above the recipe card).
- Add the scooped out flesh to the skillet with the ground beef mixture and mix to combine. Reheat.
- Divide the ground beef mixture among the 4 halves and stuff the squash until the mixture is leveled or a bit higher.
- Top the ground beef stuffed butternut squash with shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese.
- Roast the stuffed butternut squash in the preheated oven at 400 F for 15 more minutes on medium rack until the cheese mixture melts.
- Top with the remaining half of the chopped green onions.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This was really good.. I didn't have tomatoes, so I used some salsa that had been in the fridge,. I only had one squash,. So I kept half of the meat mixture without the roasted squash in a bowl to use for taco salads later. I also only used half of the corn.
Mary Alice Cobb
We loved this so much, I'm making it again. But I can't recall if you include the juice from the canned tomatoes???
Mary Alice, if using canned tomatoes, I would add some of the juice to the ground beef mixture, without overdoing it. Ground beef stuffing should not be too moist otherwise it will be messy to stuff it into the butternut squash. But a little bit of juice would be beneficial!
Do you think ground turkey would work? Our homemade tacos are usually turkey, so I think it would work. Your thoughts?
Georgia, yes! Ground turkey would work great in this recipe!
Mary Alice Cobb
CORRECTION to my previous comment. Typo!!! I added 2-3 pinches of red pepper flakes.
Ha-ha! I just read your previous comment - 32 pinches of red pepper flakes! 🙂 🙂
Mary Alice Cobb
This was so good!!! Hubby really enjoyed too! Would also be good over a baked potato. I added a dollop of sour cream on the side and 32 pinches of red pepper flakes.
Mary Alice, I love the addition of sour cream and a pinch of red pepper flakes - that's a nice touch!
Do you scrap out the squash before you stuff it? Thanks for your response!
Some of it - along the edges - my recipe has step-by-step photos showing how I scrape out the squash - if you scroll up above the recipe card you will see the visual.
I think I have all the ingredients, will be definitely making it this week for dinner...Can't wait! Thank you, Julia!
Perfect timing, Karen! 🙂
This looks so good! I would like to try this recipe with ground chicken or ground turkey instead of beef. But I love this concept!
Leila, this would be delicious with ground chicken or turkey! Enjoy! 🙂
I am very much enjoying your fall recipes. I am wondering if you had posted one that used sherry vinegar? Pork , chicken or lamb? Now that I finally found and bought the sherry I don’t seem able to find the recipe.
Teresa, I don't think I've used sherry vinegar in my recipes. I've used balsamic vinegar but I am not sure if that would be interchangeable with sherry vinegar. Here is a good Autumn-inspired lamb recipe that uses balsamic vinegar: