Stuffed Squash that is! Many vegetables can be the perfect vehicle for stuffing practically any kind of filling you can imagine inside. I use lean ground beef in this recipe, but there is also quinoa, brown rice, cous cous, oatmeal, barley, lentils, and the list goes on and on. Grains and such have such a wonderful natural binding ability that using them as stuffing can be the perfect compliment to something as neutral and naturally sweet as summer squash. Plus summer squash cooks relatively quickly which is always a plus.
Another great vehicle for stuffage is bell peppers. Check out my bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, chicken sausage, walnuts and fontina on this post. These are a yummy package. Gotta love that ooey-gooey cheese!
Tex Mex Stuffed Squash
(adapted from Everyday FOOD)
- 4 yellow summer squashes (try to look for ones more conducive to stuffing)
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), diced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 pound extra lean ground beef (96% lean)
- 1 cup canned corn (no salt/sugar added)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for sprinkling
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Halve each squash lengthwise; slice a sliver from the rounded part of each half so it sits flat. Leaving a 1/4-inch border, scoop out halves with a small spoon; roughly chop flesh, and reserve. Place squash halves, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add reserved chopped squash, bell pepper, scallion whites, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bell pepper begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add spices. Add tomato paste to the center of the pan; cook for at least 5 minutes to intensify the tomato flavor. Add beef; cook until no longer pink, breaking up meat with a spoon. Cook everything together for about 15-20 minutes so the flavors really develop and deepen. Remove from heat. Stir in corn and 1/4 cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper.
Dividing evenly, spoon mixture into squash halves. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Place a little bit of water in the bottom of the pan to help steam the squash. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake until squash is tender, 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until top is browned, 10 minutes more. Garnish with scallion greens, a dollop of non-fat greek yogurt and a side salad.
If you have any of the filling left over, use it for a quesadilla/tostada, in an omelet, as a layered casserole or in a taco salad. Lots of possibilities with this easy filling!
Stuffed squash = stuffed tummy :)