I have a confession to make. I don’t like squash. Acorn, butternut, even zucchini – the whole lot is better off left in the field as far as I’m concerned. I want to like squash. I really do.

Last night, in a fit of fatigue, frugality (we will not eat out one more time this week), and a perverse sense of healthy eating, I decided to use leftover butternut squash in lieu of refried beans as the foundation for a plate of nachos. Now, I’m not yet willing to say I love squash, but I will say that nacho chips and cheese made me dislike the genus Cucurbita just a bit less.

Let’s get cooking!

1/2 butternut squash

1/3 C cream cheese

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground chipotle

1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, or 2 tsp dried cilantro

1/4 tsp lime juice

1 C black beans

1 green pepper, chopped

1/2 C black olives

1 onion

Shredded cheese for topping

Soak beans overnight.  (If you forgot to soak them overnight, put the dried beans in a pot and cover with four cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, turn off the heat, and allow to soak for an hour.)  Rinse the beans and put them in a pot with four cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for an hour.

Scoop out the seeds from the squash.  Place on a cooking sheet, cut side up.  Brush with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender.  Cool.

Reduce the over to 375 degrees.

Scoop the squash flesh into a medium mixing bowl.  Add the cream cheese, cumin, chipotle, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of kosher salt.  Beat with a hand mixer until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings as you see fit.

Layer nacho chips in the bottom of three pie plates.  In tablespoon scoops, drop roughly 1/3 of the squash mixture on top of the chips in each pie plate.  Divide the beans, green pepper, onion and olives equally among the three pie plates.  Add cheese to taste.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese as melted and the nachos are warmed through.  Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.