Monday, July 20, 2015

Stuffed Squash Boats- Gluten Free

If you've ever grown squash in the summer time, you know that the number of squash can easily get out of hand.  This simple recipe (which can be made with squash or zuchinni) is more of a starting point than a recipe.  Don't have ground beef? Try Italian Sausage.  Don't like cheddar? Try parmesan.  Hate chili powder? Leave it out.  You get the idea :-)

Start with 3-4 summer squash.  Rinse them.  Dry them.  Cut off the ends, and cut them lengthwise.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and most of the flesh.  Grease a baking sheet and lay out the squash halves.  Pre-heat the over to 375 degrees.

The filling begins with 1 diced onion sautéing over medium heat.  While that sauté, chop 4
cloves of garlic and throw them in.  I actually did not use any oil, because my pans are non-stick and the ground meat offers plenty of fat, but feel free to add oil if you need to.  Sauté the veggies until they are starting to soften.  You could also add celery and/or carrots- that would be cool and nutritious of you.

Next, add about a pound of ground beef.  Mash it, stir it, and break it up as it cooks.  You might even turn the heat up a little.  Throw in a dash of salt and pepper, and, if you like it, chili powder (about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste).

When your meat is pretty browned but not done through, you can add in some spinach (or kale, or swiss chard, or.....oh, you get the idea).  The Mister in this household was recently diagnosed with severe anemia, so now I add spinach to everything, just for good measure.  Stir it around until it 'wilts'.

Take the pan off of the heat and throw in a generous handful of cheese (about 3/4 of a cup) and stir it around until it melts.  I prefer cheddar- it melts well and adds nice flavor.  The cheese helps 'bind' the filling so it doesn't fall out of the boats!

Grab a spoon and start filling your squash.  Don't worry if you have too much filling, I tuck the extra filling around the squash in the casserole dish.  Top each boat with a little more cheese, because, well, I like cheese.

Put it in the oven uncovered for about 30 minutes (until a fork goes into the squash pretty easily).  Pull it out, plate it up, and enjoy!  We had it with salsa and sour cream with a side of chips.

And to prove you can't please everyone, here is the Mister's after plate- yup, he ate the meat right out and left the squash!  Good thing I put some spinach in that filling!

The short version:

Serves: 3       Active time: 20 minutes    Total time: 50 minutes

Olive oil or cooking spray
3-4 Summer Squash (try to choose ones with big 'bellies')
1 medium white or yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (diced)
1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups chopped baby spinach
1 cup cheddar cheese (divided into 3/4 cup for filling and 1/4 cup for topping)
Salsa and sour cream for serving (optional)

1. Grease a square baking dish.  Preheat over to 375 degrees.  Rinse squash, cut off ends, and cut lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds.
2.  Add onion to pan over medium heat.  Cook 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic.  Cook another 2-3 minutes.
3.  Add ground meat, salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Break up meat with a spatula as it cooks.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until meat is nearly done.
4. Add spinach.  Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes until wilted
5. Take pan off heat.  Add 3/4 cup of cheddar.  Stir until melted.
6.  Use a spoon to fill squash boats.  Tuck extra filling around squash.  Bake until squash is fork tender, about 30 minutes.
7.  Serve with salsa and sour cream- enjoy!


  1. Sounds so easy. However, is it ok to use ground turkey instead of beef?

    1. Of course! But you might want to use some olive oil, since it is leaner!