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Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash

Spicy ground beef with butternut may be your new best friend when you see how quickly this family favorite come together on a busy weeknight.

Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash

Flavorful, caramelized bits of spicy ground beef and a sweet, starchy veggie is fitting for any meal of the day. Throw an egg on it and call it breakfast. Serve this Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash with our True Food Kale Salad if your body’s craving some dark leafy (and tasty!) greens.

We love this dish because it can be whipped up in a hurry. Aside from already being a super simple dish, we have some shortcuts you may not have considered…

How to make spicy ground beef and butternut squash – quick

This spicy ground beef and butternut squash is a great recipe to have in your regular meal plan rotation. Not only is it delicious enough to satisfy most picky eaters by dialing up or down the spice, but it’s also a no-brainer solution for quick weeknight dinners.

Sure, you can probably save a bit of money by buying a whole butternut squash and cutting it yourself, but pre-cubed squash can be stocked in your freezer waiting for a night that you need dinner on the fly. Then all you need is an onion, a pound of ground beef, and some kitchen drawer spices (bonus if you have a jalapeño handy). This meal will be on the table in 30 minutes or less.

How to thaw ground beef fast

The slow method of defrosting ground meat is to place it in the refrigerator about 1 day before you intend to use it. This method is great if you have planned in advance. But what about the rest of us procrastinators?

You have two options to thaw ground meat faster…

Frozen ground beef that’s been frozen in one-pound packages can be defrosted in about one hour in a bowl of cool water. If you’re extra short on time, the speediest way to defrost ground beef is in the microwave. Place the meat on a plate and microwave on its defrost setting (about 50% power) for 2 to 3 minutes, rotating and flipping the beef every 45 seconds, until it is fully thawed. Once the beef is fully thawed, cook immediately.

Whether or not you can safely refreeze ground beef after thawing and prevent bacteria issues depends on how you defrosted it. If you decide not to use your ground beef after defrosting it in the refrigerator, you can safely stick it back in the freezer within 48 hours. But if you use cold water or the microwave to defrost your meat, it’s best to cook it first before refreezing it.

Adjusting this dish for extra picky eaters

If you have a partner or kid who will be turning up a nose at spicy food or squash, there’s no need to bypass this recipe. The spice in this dish comes from the jalapeño, so it’s just as easy to leave it out or serve it on the side.

And if butternut squash is a no-go, you can do half (or all) with pre-cubed and cooked potatoes or even riced cauliflower, both also available in most frozen aisles of the grocery store.

Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash

  • 4.9 stars
  • 25m
  • 35m


  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 handful fresh sage
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 lb butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 lb ground beef


  1. Dice onion. Mince garlic and sage. Deseed and mince jalapeno pepper. Peel, deseed, and dice squash into small cubes (if you aren't using pre-cut frozen squash).
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add onion and jalapeno pepper and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown.
  4. Add garlic, spices, and ground beef and mix well.
  5. Once the beef begins to brown, add butternut squash and mix well.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid for 10 minutes, or until the butternut squash is cooked through.
  7. Remove the lid, add fresh sage, and mix well.
  8. Serve.


  • 4
  • 432
  • 37g
  • 20g
  • 3g
  • 21g
  • 6g
  • 107mg
  • 4g
  • 844mg

Read Reviews
See what other people are saying about Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash

  • Great way to use that extra winter squash. Tastes great, and a good savory option for winter squash.

  • Tasty and quick. Like the flavors and how easy it is to throw together.

  • quick & easy but not basic. Even my toddler ate it.

  • Tasty With Modifications. This recipe turned out very tasty after I added more time to fully cook the butternut squash. It needed an extra 20 minutes to get to my desired level of doneness—soft and easily pierced with a fork. I also added a tbsp of ghee for a more buttery, carmelized flavor. Next time I’ll also plan to add a half teaspoon of ground chipotle, which is my favorite spice to pair with squash. Gives it a nice smoky, spicy flavor.

  • one of my favorites. This is in high rotation during fall and winter. I love the flavor and ease of cooking.

  • Simple and Delicious! I loved how easy this was without lacking in flavor. It could very easily be adapted to different spices if you want to mix it up. I cut my butternut squash in small bitesize pieces and didnt have any trouble getting it to cook quickly. I will be making this again.

  • so good

  • Easy Weeknight Meal. Nothing highly perishable in this dish. Great for nights when i didnt make it to the store. Everyone loved it. Very flavorful!

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