Burger-Stuffed Squash

Buying a side of grass-fed beef is the most economical way for the Primal cook to get their hands on a large quantity of meat – often for less than the cost of comparable quantities of “regular” beef purchased through your local grocery store.  And you’ll have flavorful, healthy, ethically and sustainably raised meat.  The only thing I could argue is better is successfully hunting wild game (something for another post).  There is, however, a bit of a trade-off.  Anyone who has bought a side of beef can tell you that you’ll end up with a lot of burger.  Yes, you get a nice assortment of steaks, roasts, ribs, and other tidbits.  But out of the total hanging weight of the animal, burger will make up the largest single “cut” you end up with in the freezer (as much as 40% of the take-home weight).

So, with all of that burger, you need to have an arsenal of recipes that will hold the interest of your fiercest critics (the family) and keep variety in your meal planning while using up every package of this “budget” cut.  You also need to always be on the lookout for new recipes…or working to develop new ones.  And every once in a while, when working out a new recipe, you might stumble onto something that receives, on the very first try, the response of, “Wow!  This is awesome!”  Just such a thing happened here.  A big thanks to Karen for making this while I was running around with the kids – she did great working off of the quarter-sheet of paper full of ingredients and disconnected half-instructions scribbled all over it that I left her with!

Gather Up:

  • 2 winter squash¹
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp minced carrot tops (yes, you can eat them!)  Substitute fresh parsley if you don’t have carrot tops.
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4~1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp prepared ground mustard (mix with just enough water to form a paste so it doesn’t clump)

Get the oven warming up to 350 degrees.  Split the squash lengthwise, and scrape out all of the seeds and stringy stuff.  Place them cut face down (opposite of how they are pictured here) on a baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven.  Cook them for 35 to 45 minutes, until they are just starting to turn tender but would not normally be considered “done” quite yet.

Meanwhile, brown the burger in a pan over medium heat.  Depending on how lean it is, you may drain some of the fat off when it is done (leave some, however, to keep things moist).  Turn off the heat and add in the almond flour, onion, celery, carrot tops, garlic, and spices.

Mix it all up well.  Set aside and get started on your salad or other side dish for the meal.

When the squash is ready (remember, not “done,” but almost tender), take it out of the oven.  Leave the oven on – you’ll need it in another minute.  Fill the hollow cavities of the squash with the ground meat mixture.  As you can see here, it’s OK if things are heaping a bit.

Put them back in the oven for about 10~20 minutes longer – to heat up the burger fully and to finish cooking the squash so that it is fork-tender.  Serve and enjoy!

If you notice that the burger looks to be drying out a bit much and the squash isn’t quite cooked yet, then drop a little (1/2 tsp or so) bacon fat on top of each (you should keep a small crock or container of it in the fridge for just such occasions) and cover them with some aluminum foil to finish.  Then, next time, adjust your cooking times a little to cook the squash longer before pulling from the oven to stuff with the burger.  These also make great leftovers re-heated for a couple of minutes in the microwave – which would make for a good lunch or post-workout meal.

1 – A footnote on the squash:  You can see here that we used both acorn and butternut squash in this recipe – we happened to have one of each.  Both have incredible flavor and work well for this dish.  An advantage to acorn squash is that it has a relatively large cavity for stuffing compared to the overall size, making for a good balance of stuffing to squash and providing it’s own edible bowl.  The butternut, on the other hand, has a lot more squash “meat,” which can be a bit much to consume in a single sitting.  My recommendation when using butternut squash (and how I will prepare this in the future) is to hollow out a larger cavity once the squash has been cooked but before stuffing it.  You can save the removed squash meat for use in another recipe or to have as an easy snack post-workout (sprinkle a little cinnamon and white pepper on it and heat up in the microwave).  The larger cavity, of course, will require more meat, so you may either use only one butternut squash or increase the amount of stuffing ingredients according to the number of squash used.

2 responses to “Burger-Stuffed Squash

  1. Karen & Casey,

    Loving your website. Our daughter who “doesn’t eat vegetables” loved the spaghetti squash. This recipe looks good too…keep it up!

  2. Pingback: Pork Chops with Grilled Plums and Sweet Onions | Purely Primal