Cottage Pie with Butternut Squash

Oh my goodness…I am still ranting and raving about this one.  I could have just been incredibly hungry…it’s quite possible…but I’m pretty sure this is one of the best dinners I’ve made in a while.  This is another one that would be filed away in the Fall category.  It is warm and absolutely comforting.  This meal is savory but aromatic and sweet at the same time.

You could make this dish in quite a few ways.  I have always been in a love affair with butternut squash.  It’s simply my favorite.  I prefer butternut squash over pumpkin, acorn, etc.  I decided to make a cottage pie tonight — which is typically topped with mashed potatoes.  In the paleo world of course, our version of mashed “potatoes” is mashed cauliflower…which can be great…but that’s not really what I wanted.  Instead of white potatoes I could have used sweet potatoes, but still…I wanted it to be a bit more savory with only a hint of sweetness.

I made up my mind that butternut squash would be the perfect choice.  This meal was inspired by a recipe from Everyday Paleo, where she makes a fabulous pumpkin souffle.

I will forewarn you — this meal is a little bit labor intensive.  It is not difficult in any way, but it takes a little more time because it is made completely from scratch.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, seeded and halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 a medium-sized sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef, grass-fed if you can
  • 3 good handfuls of spinach, chopped
  • a few sprigs of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. butter, full fat from grass-fed cows!
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 egg whites

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Start by preparing your squash and sweet potato.  Place squash cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet and scatter cubed sweet potato around.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until both are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat coconut oil over medium heat.  Add onions, and cook a few minutes until they’re translucent.
  4. Add ground beef, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Cook until browned.
  5. Add spinach and basil.  Stir to incorporate and then move away from heat.
  6. By this time you will have removed your squash/potatoes from the oven.  Let them cool slightly — enough to where you can scoop the good stuff out.
  7. In a food processor – combine squash, potatoes, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Process until the mixture is very smooth and consistent.
  8. Place three egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  With a hand mixer beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  This will take some time!
  9. Start by adding only a bit of the squash mixture to the egg whites.  With a rubber spatula FOLD the squash mixture in.  Do not stir or be heavy with it — you want the mixture to remain airy and light.
  10. Now continue adding the squash mixture — a bit at a time, not all at once until it is completely incorporated.  Note** You want to add a little at a time because if you put it all at once the weight of the squash mixture will take the lightness away from your egg whites.
  11. Spread the beef/spinach on the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish.
  12. Carefully spread your butternut squash souffle mixture over the meat and even out to the edges.
  13. Bake in the 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the top has browned a bit and is firm.

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2 Responses to “Cottage Pie with Butternut Squash”

  1. Lisa says:

    This looks delicious. I’d like to make it this weekend but I was wondering what I could sub for the butter. Thanks!

  2. jennifer says:

    You could honestly leave the butter out all together and it would still taste great! If it’s dairy you are trying to avoid — try ghee!

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