Smoked and Spicy Stuffed Turks Turban Squash

Mar 07, 2012 44 Comments

Over the past few years I’ve tinkered around with squash recipes creating some winners like the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and BBQ Acorn Squash as well as a few questionable tasting squashy things.  Interesting enough I had never tackled the infamous “Turks Turban” squash, something that in my opinion looks more like a table decoration than an eatable food.  Seriously…look at those things.  Who decided they were food and why should I believe them?

Turks Turban Squash. Photo By: Dyogi

Well, it turns out that a Turks Turban showed up in one of our most recent CSA deliveries and I was forced to face the inevitability that the time had come to attempt to make a meal from this variety of squash.

The answer of how I proceeded into the unknown is simple: I gutted the bastard, smoked it on the grill til it could no longer breathe, stuffed it with a gluttonous combination of meat, roasted veggies, and Mexican spices, then cooked it one more time and topped off the mixture with red chili sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.

The result was a cornucopia of layered flavors that meddled into one rich, hearty, and spicy squash dish.  Good stuff all around from which any leftovers can be combined with chicken broth and additional veggies to make one tasty soup the following day.

Have no fear and give it a try yourself.

BTW: For those WW people out there, I’m told by my better half that this dish without the cheese and with non-fat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) is only 4 points per serving.

The Necessities:

  • 1 Turks Turban squash
  • 2 Red peppers
  • 1 ½ medium sized red onions
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 3 Ribs of celery
  • 3-4 Garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Mexican spice mix (any mixture found at your local store will do)
  • 1 tbsp Fresh oregano
  • 1 bunch of Fresh Cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1 lb Lean ground beef
  • 1 cup Tomatoes (cherry, diced, or whatever is available)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Woodchips for smoking
  • ¼ Red chili sauce (optional)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream or non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Lime


*Note: If you don’t feel like grilling and smoking the squash, everything can be prepared in the oven.

  • Set up your grill for indirect grilling, preheat to medium-high, and presoak your woodchips (if necessary).
  • Similar as you would to cutting into a pumpkin, cut the top off the squash and clean out the guts/seeds.

  • Place the Turks Turban squash on the cool side of the grill, add your woodchips to the coals, smokerbox, etc, and close the lid.
  • Continue to add woodchips as necessary to keep a constant flow of smoke and rotate the squash every 15 minutes or so that it evenly cooks.
  • While the squash is cooking, toss the red peppers, one red onion, and the jalapeno on the grill to roast, rotating as necessary and removing with charred.
  • Actually cooking times will vary, but it should take around an hour for the squash to cook and soften.  Use the fork poke test to determine doneness.  Remove when cooked and set aside to cool.

  • Roughly or finely chop up the celery and remaining red onion.

  • Toss em into a large frying pan over medium heat.  Drizzle with olive oil or non-stick spray to lubricate and light season with salt and pepper.

  • Cook the veggies until slightly soft, then incorporate the ground beef and garlic, making sure to completely break up the meat.
  • Season with salt and pepper and cook until the meat is no longer pink.

  • Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5-10 minutes, then remove the pan from heat.

  • While the meat and veggies are cooking in the frying pan you can tend to the stuff off the grill.  Scoop the squash out of the Turks Turban’s shell like so and place in a large mixing bowl.

  • Skin and roughly chop up the roasted red peppers, red onion, and jalapeno, removing seeds from the peppers.
  • Toss em in with the squash, add 1/4 of cilantro, the oregano, and Mexican spice mix.

  • Stir until thoroughly combined.

  • Incorporate the beefy veggie mixture, seasoning with salt, pepper, and other spices to taste.

  • Return the squashy mixture to the Turks Turban shell.

  • Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes in an oven at 350 degree or indirectly on the grill.

  • Plate the squashy goodness, topping with red chili sauce, cheese, sour cream (or yogurt), cilantro, and a squirt of fresh lime juice.

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44 Responses to “Smoked and Spicy Stuffed Turks Turban Squash”

  1. Eri says:

    You cant go wrong with these ingredients! It looks fantastic, I’m sure it can be done in the oven but it looks perfect on grill!

  2. ChgoJohn says:

    Foolish of me, I know, but I’ve steered clear of these squash. Now, though, I really want to give it a shot, especially stuffed like this. it sounds incredible!

  3. chappy81 says:

    This is off the topic, but I was wondering if you had any tips on making a lemon caper sauce?

    • sportsglutton says:

      Hey Chap…hopefully this isn’t too late to be of use for you. For a lemon caper sauce, I’d melt some butter in a pan (slight brown it if you like), drain and rinse the capers, then add them to the butter, squirt in lemon juice and if you have it a small amount of white wine or vermouth. You should be good to go. cheers!

  4. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    Thank you for making me laugh…and drool. This looks fantastic. I’ve never had TurksTurban squash but I guess there’s always a first for everything.

  5. Tina@flourtrader says:

    I have not ventured into cooking with these type of squash since they are less commonplace than the butternut and acorn. However, this does look like a tasty recipe for them, so I may have to rethink that position. I do like that these are grilled and they make an awesome presentation. Squashy goodness…yes I do need to try this out.

  6. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide says:

    Wait I’m not we am I? Looks awesome.

  7. ceciliag says:

    This is a great idea, I love it all cooked in the pumpkin like that! c

  8. Joanne says:

    HAHA! I love your description of what you did with it. I can’t wait until I can participate in a CSA, sounds challenging and fun!

    • sportsglutton says:

      CSA are always a challenge, but never in a bad way unless the CSA provider is stuck in a rut handing out the same things every week. I highly recommend signing up for one!

  9. hotlyspiced says:

    It’s great when you get your box delivered and then find something in there you wouldn’t normally cook. It does put you to the test. Glad you had a good result with those Turks!

  10. says:

    this sounds so incredibly delish. apparently i’ve been living under a rock, because i’ve never heard of turks turban squash. i’ll have to keep an eye out for it in the CSA. i’m also getting my squash on at the moment, cooking up a chicken, butternut squash + quinoa stew. it’s got a few minutes left to cook, but so far, it’s smelling/tasting delicious!

  11. Mary says:

    This looks and sounds delicious. I’ve never seen a turban squash before either. What a cool looking vegetable!

  12. Stacie Chadwick says:

    I’m still marveling at the concept of your site. Sports and food. But good food. Not burnt queso and chips. You really inspire me to want to cook. But not today. Maybe tomorrow. Unless you blog about football on Thursday, and then I’ll want to strap on a pair of shoulder pads and man-up. =)

    • sportsglutton says:

      LOL. Today’s is the day of libations, but there will definitely be a sports post on Friday to get you all fired up. And a serious thank you for the compliment.

  13. bitsandbreadcrumbs says:

    What an interesting way to cook a squash, and I’ve never seen a recipe featuring a turk squash. This has just gotta be super tasting with all of these wonderful ingredients and that smokiness. Great idea!

  14. Eva says:

    Sounds wonderful Jed! I’ll have to keep a lookout at the market for one of those squashes! What is CSI?

    • sportsglutton says:

      Hi Eva, Did you mean CSA? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, we are part of group that purchases produce in quantity from local organic farmers and receive a bundle of food each week. It’s healthy and much more reasonable that shopping at Whole Foods for us.

      We also purchase all our meat from a local farmer by paying for a pig and cow to be raised for us. The quality is phenomenal and the cost works out to less than $4 per lb for the meat.

      • Eva says:

        Wow, that’s totally amazing, Jed (yes, CSA, that was a bad typo, sorry). What an incredible opportunity, I’m going to check for something like this in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).
        My friend from Vancouver calls Whole Foods: Whole Paycheck!

  15. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time says:

    I’ve also seen these in the store before but never bought one because I had no clue as to how to cook or or what kind of flavor it has. I am glad to see that you went savory though. It looks delicious (especially with cheese and sour cream).

  16. Sissi says:

    It looks fantastic and what a funny squash name! I have never heard about it.

  17. Sam's Sports Brief says:

    That looks delicious! Now I’m hungry!

    If you would like to join the Bloggers’ Fantasy Baseball League, just leave a comment on my blog, hit me up on Twitter or send me an email through the ‘contact me’ page on my blog-

  18. beerbecue says:

    “[G]utted the bastard, smoked it on the grill til it could no longer breathe, stuffed it with a gluttonous combination of meat…”. Sic semper vegetabilis!.

  19. zestybeandog says:

    How beautiful! What a aesthetically pleasing presentation! Way to go!

  20. Liz says:

    What gorgeous squash! I’d love a pile of those on my table as a centerpiece…but I’d also love to try your yummy looking recipe. And thank Liz for the lightened up version :)

  21. Bluejellybeans says:

    Wow, Jed!
    Great great recipe, seriously… I’m not a registered weight watcher, but I need to watch my weight for sure (especially now that I’ve quit smoking), so thanks to Liz for the tip 😉

  22. Meenakshi says:

    Lol! Those turks turbans do look more like halloween centrepieces! But I love what you have done with them: anything, and I repeat anything filled with meat is awesome. I just realized that if taken out of context, the previous sentence could be…ummm…a tad inappropriate. But you get the rift! The squash looks delicious.

  23. thedrivencook says:

    Love the colors- looks delicious!

  24. Karen says:

    Such a great post…your writing was terrific. I don’t know if I would cook one but I love them in a fall centerpiece because of their great color.

  25. Sally and Bob says:

    Absolutely luscious! I made it today. My husband raved and said it was the most delicous thing he’d ever put in his mouth! Did you happen to notice every ingredient in this holds some nutritional value? Nutricious and delicious!

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