Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash


Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash - a delicious and warming weeknight meal by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

Want to hear the most exciting thing that happened to me this weekend? Finding pre-cut organic butternut squash while doing my grocery shopping. It was so exciting, that I instagrammed it.

Is that totally pathetic? Or would you be just as excited as me?

I think I’m at this awkward age/stage in life where I have no idea what I’m “supposed” to be excited about. Butternut Squash? Partying all night? Both? Neither?

Is it wrong that these days squash makes me happier than wine?

That last question was rhetorical. Yes, it’s wrong. But if loving squash over wine is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Um. While I contemplate my daily life choices, you should contemplate making this spicy ground beef and butternut squash dish. It’s an easy-to-make weeknight dish that’s perfect for this season. It’s kind of like a “dry chili” or a “dry curry” – if you know what I mean. If you don’t know what I mean, then make this and you’ll understand. Promise.

I really love the flavor and heat that freshly ground black pepper adds to a dish, but if you’re not a fan of spicy food, then just halve the amount of black pepper that the recipe calls for. You can also leave out the serrano pepper, or just remove the rib when mincing it. Or just send your serrano peppers to me. We love them here – I always have a minimum of 5 serrano peppers in my fridge. When I get low, it’s time to head to the store.

Once this dish it’s fully cooked, add plenty of freshly minced sage on top – to give it extra fall feel. Yes, fall feel is a thing.

If you’re not a fan of butternut squash (whaat?), you can use a different type of squash or even sweet potatoes instead. I actually have a sweet potato and ground beef curry on the blog if you want to go that route.

But personally, I think you should enjoy all things butternut squash while we’re in the prime of squash/pumpkin season.

Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash - a delicious and warming weeknight meal by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash

Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash

5 from 38 reviews
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  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 Serrano pepper minced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Big pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound peeled cubes of butternut squash* see notes
  • Small handful of fresh sage minced


  • Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and Serrano pepper and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown.
  • Add garlic, spices and ground beef and mix well.
  • Once the beef begins to brown, add the butternut squash and mix well.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid for 10 minutes, or until the butternut squash is cooked through.
  • Remove the lid, add fresh sage and mix well.
  • Serve.


*I bought pre-cut organic butternut squash (at costco) and then cut it into even smaller cubes. You can do this with a regular butternut squash but it'll add to your prep time.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Spicy Ground Beef and Butternut Squash - a delicious and warming weeknight meal by Ashley of MyHeartBeets.com

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Steve says

    Very tasty recipe. Now a regular meal with us. Cannot buy Serrano pepper in my UK village so use any red chilli pepper I get on click and collect. ….sometimes too hot for my wife. Also use dried sage which is fine.

  2. Kasey says

    5 stars
    So delicious! Have made this tons of times and the whole family enjoys 🙂 I usually leave out the nutmeg and serrano pepper so not too spicy, don’t always have fresh sage, and have subbed in other types of squash- always delicious. Thanks Ashley!

  3. Ladyjorns says

    5 stars
    Flavorful, caramelized bits of spicy ground beef and a sweet, starchy veggie. Really, what more do you need?

  4. Mari H says

    5 stars
    Made this tonight in my instant pot- the squash basically dissolved so it was more of a stew. I also added extra minced garlic along with some pomegranate molasses to give it more of a middle eastern flavor. It was amazing! Husband inhaled it. Will keep this recipe for future use.

  5. Rose Martine says

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for wonderful recipes! What I love about your website most of all is that you post not only great recipes and descriptions but also stunning photos of food! Have a nice day!

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