Squash boats are flavorful, nutritious, and beautiful.** This makes them a great main dish for: 1.) holiday tables, 2.) dinner even when it’s not a holiday but you are craving a satisfying blend of fall flavors, and… 3.) breakfast. You may question me on this last one, but don’t knock it until you try it. I find them a delightful and hearty way to start the day.
**See photo below for proof, and if you think it is ugly please feel free to keep that to yourself. 😉
My goal with this “recipe” is to inspire your culinary creative juices. Adjust amounts, add or take away ingredients, and have a jolly good time with it! After all, a recipe like “Beany Squash Boats” screams fun!
Beany Squash BoatsCourse: MealsDifficulty: Easy
These Beany Squash Boats are a beautiful and delicious main dish. The recipe is more of a roadmap – switch up amounts and flavors to suit your taste!
Winter squash – I recommend a squash like delicata or kabocha. To make 6 servings, I use 3 delicata squash and end up with leftover filling. See note below.
1 large yellow onion
1 Tbs olive oil, plus extra for brushing the squash
1-lb ground meat/”meat” – plant-based meat, beef, turkey… your call!
8-oz. mushrooms of choice
15-oz. (1 can) fire-roasted tomatoes
1.5 cups (15-oz.) beans of choice – I used a mix of pinto, black, and red kidney
1 bunch green onions
1 cup cooked leftover grain of choice – brown rice, quinoa, etc. If you don’t have any grains leftover in your refrigerator, you can prepare some for this dish, or you can make the recipe without. However, the grains do a nice job of soaking up the tomato juices.
Garlic cloves, to taste
Red chili flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cheese, to top – An aged white cheddar or Pecorino Romano goes well with these. Mozzarella would be a good choice if you want something milder.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (~205 degrees C) and start preparing the squash (see step 2).
- Rinse winter squash and carefully cut in half lengthwise in the case of delicata, or into quarters if using a large, round squash like kabocha. Note, if you are using a small kabocha, just cutting in half should be fine, and it will hold the filling better. Both delicata and kabocha are thin-skinned squash, so you do not have to peel the skin. Scoop out the seeds and save for roasting if desired. Brush the squash with olive oil. Salt and place on a sheet tray. If the oven hasn’t finished preheating yet, don’t worry about it. Just go ahead and pop it in the oven – this is not like when you need the oven to be perfectly preheated for baked goods. Roast until squash is easily pierced with a fork. Depending on your oven, the size of your squash, etc. this could take anywhere from 20-60 minutes. Embrace the uncertainty in timing (and life), and keep an eye on the squash.
- While waiting for the squash to roast, prepare the filling. Dice an onion and sauté in a large pan over medium heat with 1 Tbs olive oil and a pinch of salt and chili flakes. Add garlic now if you want mild flavor, or later on the recipe if you prefer a stronger garlic kick. Stir occasionally.
- Prepare other produce while waiting for onions to cook. Rinse mushrooms and cut into halves or quarters, depending on the size of your mushrooms. Rinse and chop green onions. Drain and rinse beans. Shred a little (or large) pile of cheese.
- When the onions have turned translucent, add meat of choice, along with another pinch of salt. Stir to incorporate with the onions. After the meat has started to brown, add the mushrooms and cook for a couple minutes, until mushrooms start to release their moisture and reduce in size. Pause and remember your squash is in the oven (read: confirm it isn’t burning).
- Add the beans, green onions, fire-roasted tomatoes, and your grain of choice. Cook until everything is heated through. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- When the squash are done, fill with your mixture and top with cheese. Return to the oven on broil. Watch to make sure cheese reaches that nice, melty, crispy status without crossing over into the burnt realm (which happens very fast on broil).
- Remove from oven and serve. Leftovers store well in the fridge.
- Winter squash like delicata and kabocha are amazingly sweet, dense, and thin-skinned (so you can just eat the skin – saving the time of peeling and meaning no food waste!). I’m partial to delicata for this because I feel like 1 squash boat – equating to half of a squash – makes for the perfect serving size.
- There is a good chance you will end up with leftover filling, but is that really a bad thing? I feel like stuffed squash never have enough stuffing, so I like to serve a little filling on the side or save leftovers to enjoy the filling by itself as a meal later in the week.
- If fire-roasted tomatoes are hard to find, you can use regular tomatoes and add extra red chili flakes and/or spices. If you can find them though, they are delightful! Something like Ro-tel (diced tomatoes with chilies) could also work.
I would love to hear how you made this dish your own! Please comment below. 🙂
There is something so satisfying about beans and squash, pumpkin, and/or sweet potato. Here are a couple other ideas if you agree!