Delicious Ground Beef and Butternut Squash Recipe: A Versatile and Nutritious Meal Idea

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving a comforting yet nutritious meal? Ground beef and butternut squash make the perfect pair for a hearty dish that’s both satisfying and wholesome. This dynamic duo brings together the rich, savory flavors of seasoned beef with the sweet, nutty notes of roasted butternut squash.

Not only is this combination delicious, but it’s also packed with nutrients. Ground beef provides essential protein and iron while butternut squash offers a good dose of vitamins A and C. Whether you’re preparing a cozy weeknight dinner or looking to impress guests with something unique, this recipe will quickly become a favorite in your kitchen arsenal.

Ingredients

To craft this delightful dish, gather the following ingredients for a perfect blend of flavors and nutrients.

Ground Beef Requirements

  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Butternut Squash Preparation

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Additional Seasonings and Garnishes

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

Necessary Equipment

To prepare your delicious ground beef and butternut squash dish, you’ll need the following equipment. Ensure you have these items on hand before starting to streamline your cooking process.

  • Large Skillet: A large skillet is essential for browning the ground beef and sautéing the vegetables. Opt for a heavy-bottomed skillet to ensure even cooking.
  • Cutting Board: Use a sturdy cutting board to chop and dice the onions, garlic, and butternut squash safely.
  • Sharp Knife: A sharp chef’s knife will help you efficiently cut through the tough skin of the butternut squash and finely mince garlic and onions.
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula is perfect for stirring ingredients without scratching your cookware.
  • Measuring Spoons: Accurate measurements are crucial for seasoning. Keep measuring spoons handy for adding spices like cumin, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes.
  • Measuring Cups: Measuring cups will help with precise ingredient quantities, such as olive oil or any additional liquids you might use.
  • Mixing Bowl: Use a mixing bowl to combine any pre-prepped ingredients before adding them to the skillet if needed.
  • Peeler (Optional): If you prefer peeling your butternut squash before dicing it, a vegetable peeler will make this task easier.

Having all necessary equipment ready not only simplifies preparation but also enhances your overall cooking experience.

Instructions

Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a delicious and hearty ground beef and butternut squash dish.

Prep Work

  1. Peel and Dice Butternut Squash: Use a sharp knife or an optional peeler to remove the skin. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  2. Chop Onion and Mince Garlic: Finely chop one medium onion and mince three garlic cloves.
  3. Measure Spices: Measure out 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for easy access during cooking.

Cooking Ground Beef

  1. Heat Olive Oil: In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add Onion and Garlic: Sauté the chopped onion for about 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Brown Ground Beef: Add 1 pound of ground beef to the skillet, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula as it cooks. Cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Season Beef: Sprinkle cumin, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt (to taste), and black pepper (to taste) over the cooked beef mixture.

Incorporating Butternut Squash

  1. Combine Ingredients: Add diced butternut squash to the skillet with the seasoned ground beef mixture.
  2. Cook Until Tender: Stir occasionally and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until the butternut squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Garnish And Serve: Once cooked through, garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro before serving hot.

Assembling the Dish

Now that your ingredients are prepared, it’s time to bring everything together into a delicious and satisfying meal.

Layering Ingredients

  1. Base Layer: Start by spreading the cooked butternut squash evenly across the bottom of your baking dish.
  2. Middle Layer: Spoon the seasoned ground beef mixture over the butternut squash, ensuring it is distributed evenly.
  3. Top Layer: If you are using any additional vegetables or cheese, sprinkle them on top of the ground beef layer.

Finishing Touches

  1. Herbs and Spices: Garnish with freshly chopped herbs like parsley or cilantro for added flavor and visual appeal.
  2. Bake (Optional): If you prefer a baked dish, place it in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10-15 minutes until everything is heated through and slightly browned on top.
  3. Serve: Serve hot with your favorite side dish or enjoy it as a standalone meal.

Cooking Time and Temperature

Cooking ground beef and butternut squash to perfection involves careful attention to time and temperature.

Preparing the Butternut Squash

  1. Preheat Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Roast Squash: Peel, seed, and cut the butternut squash into 1-inch cubes. Spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat evenly. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized at the edges.

Cooking Ground Beef

  1. Sautéing: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Brown Beef: Once the oil is hot, add 1 pound (450 grams) of ground beef to the skillet. Break it up using a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  3. Seasoning: Season with salt, pepper, one teaspoon of paprika, half a teaspoon of garlic powder, and half a teaspoon of onion powder. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until fully browned.
  4. Drain Excess Fat: If necessary, drain any excess fat from the skillet after cooking.
  5. Mix Together: Once both components are cooked, combine the roasted butternut squash cubes with the ground beef in the skillet.
  6. Simmer Briefly: Stir well to mix all ingredients together thoroughly and let them simmer on low heat for an additional 5-7 minutes so flavors meld together nicely.

Using correct cooking times ensures that your ground beef is juicy yet fully cooked while your butternut squash retains its natural sweetness without being mushy or underdone.

Step Time Temperature
Preheat Oven 400°F (200°C)
Roast Butternut Squash 25-30 mins
Brown Ground Beef 8-10 mins Medium-High Heat
Simmer Combined Dish 5-7 mins Low Heat

Serving Suggestions

Ground beef and butternut squash make a delightful combination that can be served in various ways to suit your preferences. Here are some serving suggestions to elevate your meal:

  • Over Rice or Quinoa: For a hearty and nutritious meal, serve the ground beef and butternut squash mixture over a bed of rice or quinoa. The grains will absorb the delicious juices, enhancing the overall flavor.
  • In Tacos: Fill soft or hard taco shells with the ground beef and butternut squash mixture. Top with avocado slices, shredded cheese, and a squeeze of lime for a Mexican-inspired dish.
  • Stuffed Peppers: Hollow out bell peppers and fill them with the cooked mixture. Bake in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 20 minutes until the peppers are tender.
  • With Pasta: Toss the ground beef and butternut squash with cooked pasta for a quick weeknight dinner. Add grated Parmesan cheese on top for an extra burst of flavor.
  • On Toast: Spread mashed avocado on toasted bread slices and top with spoonfuls of the warm ground beef and butternut squash mix for a savory open-faced sandwich.

These serving options provide versatility so you can enjoy this flavorful dish in multiple ways throughout the week.

Conclusion

Ground beef and butternut squash make a dynamic duo in the kitchen, offering not just great taste but also impressive nutritional benefits. Whether you’re a busy parent or a culinary enthusiast, this dish is adaptable enough to fit into any meal plan.

The recipe’s flexibility allows you to enjoy it in numerous ways, making it an excellent choice for meal prep. By mastering the steps and optimizing cooking times, you’ll consistently produce a dish that’s both flavorful and satisfying.

Experiment with different serving suggestions to keep your meals exciting throughout the week. This combination promises delightful flavors and health benefits every time you prepare it.

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