Black Bean and Butternut Enchilada Skillet

I have found in my long life that humanity is divided when it comes to butternut squash. Lovers or haters.

Within my own family, 5 out of 7 of us adore the tender, orange vegetable.

The other two who shall remain nameless have been known to cry. Whine. Scatter it all over their plate so it looks like they ate at least a bite or two when none was actually consumed.

And generally create chaos and employ subterfuge to get out of eating it (too bad they live in our family and not eating it at all isn’t an option).

Aside from the fact that this enchilada skillet meal is fast and tasty and totally loaded with goodness, I love it because my two butternut squash haters didn’t complain.

Not even once. Ok, once. But not twice! And that’s a huge victory.

I think it was the initial spying of squash that got their defenses up, but all was forgotten when the squash was complimented and dare I say – enhanced – with black beans, cheese (hello, cheese!), tender tortillas and a smattering of other hearty flavors.

Black Bean and Butternut Enchilada Skillet

Sure, once you scoop it out of the skillet, it looks like complete slop, but for me, this meal is heaven.

The leftovers are out of this world, and the flavor profile (three cheers for black beans and squash together!) is a stellar combination.

Plus, it makes use of the amazing homemade green enchilada sauce posted earlier this week, and since I already waxed poetic about it’s virtues, I probably don’t need to blab on and on about how the homemade sauce took this meal from good to absolutely phenomenal.

Yep, I’m a butternut squash lover, and this skillet meal only reaffirmed that fact.

I can’t go so far as to say the two haters in my family were 100% converted but the fact that they ate without gagging is good enough for me. I’m all about the small victories.

What To ServeIn case you are wondering what to serve this with, it’s a pretty hearty, complete meal in itself, but we enjoyed it with a green salad and a plate of clementines and sliced apples.

Black Bean and Butternut Enchilada Skillet

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies 
Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting
Three Years Ago: Wild Rice Hot Dish {a.k.a. Casserole}

Black Bean and Butternut Enchilada Skillet

Black Bean and Butternut Enchilada Skillet

Make a note that this recipe calls for cooked chicken so plan ahead. You could easily leave out the chicken for a meatless meal if you prefer.


  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive, coconut, canola, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
  • 4 cups diced butternut squash (from a small to medium butternut squash that has been peeled and seeded)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 yellow or white corn tortillas, cut into large squares (I cut each tortilla in thirds and then chopped the strips in half)
  • 2 cups green enchilada sauce (preferably homemade)
  • 2-3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno, if using. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften. Stir in the butternut squash, salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder.
  2. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the squash is tender. If you want a smoother consistency to the squash, continue cooking until it breaks down to a creamy consistency, otherwise you can cook it just until it becomes tender.
  3. Stir in the beans, tortillas and enchilada sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes so the tortillas can soak up some of the sauce and start to cook down just a little bit.
  4. Add the chicken, cilantro and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir to combine and heat through. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and let the mixture sit for 1-2 minutes over medium-low or medium heat until the cheese melts.

Recipe Source: adapted from Ambitious Kitchen (used green sauce instead of red, added chicken, increased the squash a bit, optionalized the jalapeno, stirred in the cilantro, reduced the garlic, changed up the cooking method a bit, and a few other things)

54 Responses to Black Bean and Butternut Enchilada Skillet

  1. Anna S. says:

    I’m planning to make this tomorrow with wheat tortillas and hoping you will see this in time to stop me if that sounds like a bad idea.

  2. KMDuff says:

    This is one of my favorite dinners. I’ve made it multiple times and still love it. Thanks so much for it.

  3. Jamie says:

    So, I made this dish last night and it was the first time in the 28 years of my life that I tried butternut squash! And I loved it! I have been wanting to try squash for a long time now, but wasn’t sure how to prepare it. When I saw this recipe I knew it was going to be delicious! Everything I have made of yours has been awesome! This is just one more dish I can add to the list! Thanks Mel!

  4. Nicole H. says:

    This was yummy, thanks!

  5. Lachelle says:

    My husband who is not a squash eater said “I can eat squash this way.” Thanks Mel!

  6. Tanya H. says:

    I made this with sweet potato and a random yellow squash from my farm delivery instead of butternut squash. Delicious! All but one of my kids devoured it, and the tiny bit of leftovers disappeared before morning.

  7. Lula says:

    I have some trouble with my right hand/thumb so the easiest way I’ve found to fix the squash is: first preheat oven to 350 degrees, next get my husband to cut it in half, (leave the seeds in) put both halves face up on a foil lined cookie sheet cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes flip squash to face down position & cook about 20 more minutes. When the squash is done it is simple to scoop the seeds out and to scoop the squash away from the rind/peel. If you want the squash a bit more firm just cook less time. This makes it very easy for me (and my bum hand) to separate the squash that isn’t very labor intensive. This recipe continues to be a big hit in our house. My mom’s type 2 diabetic and this is a friendly recipe for her. I also serve with blue corn chips on the side for those who like extra crunch. The Verde sauce recipe is a godsend! It is SO easy to make and is cheaper and better tasting than jar bought. Thanks so much for these recipes!

  8. MaMaLaLa says:

    Made this tonight. Very filling. I used sweet potato and microwaved it for 3 minutes like suggested. Will make again. Loved the corn tortillas in the skillet.

  9. Jen M says:

    Made this with sweet potatoes instead of squash and we loved it! I just cooked the sweet potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes before adding them to the skillet & it worked like a charm. This is a KEEPER!

  10. anna says:

    um… yum! Two of my favorite foods. Tip on the squash – stabs some holes in and microwave for a few minutes before peeling and seeding, much easier 🙂

  11. Katie says:

    Made this tonight and it was excellent! Loved the butternut squash! All my butternut squash haters enjoyed this too except for the heat. I used your homemade green chile sauce and although delicious a little too spicy for our weak palettes. Ay suggestions for next time? I used Anaheim peppers and included the jalapeño (without seeds and membranes). I thought Anaheim peppers were mild but maybe I was wrong?? Thanks for another winner. Will definitely be making again if we can scale down the heat.

    • Mel says:

      Katie – oh, I’m sorry the homemade sauce was too spicy! Maybe next time omit the jalapeno completely. I always thought Anaheim chiles were less spicy, too – can you get poblanos? The ones I’ve had are mild and flavorful.

  12. mommy of 4 says:

    so i made this for my family this past weekend. i didn’t have butternut, but i used an acorn squash. my kids and husband liked it all except for the “orange things”. i usually like that kind of squash, but i will actually swap squash for diced potatoes next time. or eggplant or zucchini…i can’t handle stringy squash!! 🙂
    the home made green sauce was awesome though!!
    thx mel!

  13. Erika says:

    This was a hit! I did have to add a bunch of water to the cooking butternut squash as it was sticking to the pan but still not cooked thru so maybe the recommendation to nuke it first would have helped with that. I also ended up cooking it for at least 20 mins to cook it thru. I added over 1 cup of water which evaporated. I also ended up mashing most of the squash with a potato masher lightly to “disguise” what it was from my kids 🙂 It worked great as my son did’t realize what it was til my daughter mentioned at the end of the meal (she had seen it cooking in cubes in the pan). Something else I did was cook it thru the squash in the afternoon when I had time & then covering the pan with foil til dinnertime. Saved me a good 1/2 hr in cooking time after a busy afternoon of after school activities. Healthy, pretty quick & delicious. Thanks Mel!

  14. Mandy Bergstrom says:

    Too funny, I am sitting here eating your “Chicken Tortilla Bake” and reading this recipe. Can’t wait to make it! Love your recipes, and yes, I do feel like a rockstar in the kitchen because of them(:

  15. Eliza says:

    Hi, I made this last night and it was wonderful! The entire family loved it! I substituted tofu for the chicken and sweet potato for the butternut squash as that is what I had on hand. Fantastic – thank you!

  16. Heather S. says:

    One more question, does this reheat well? I would like to make this tomorrow night to have for Wednesday, it sounds like it would reheat very well. Anybody had it as leftovers?

  17. Sandee says:

    so, mel. my squash-hating husband saw me cutting up the butternut and voiced his “concerns.” i assured him that the recipe was from mel (like how we are on a first name basis?) and he asked if i was sure i wanted to make this recipe bc he really didnt want to have to start disliking you after all this time. long story short, after tasting it, he informed me that if he had to eat squash, this was how he wanted it. you havent let me down yet! 🙂

  18. Hillary says:

    I made this recipe tonight and I loved it! I followed the recipe exactly, but bought the green enchilada sauce (used El Pato green enchilada sauce). I have never eaten butternut squash, so I was a bit nervous. This is an excellent recipe!

  19. Heather S. says:

    Two questions, I am trying to save calories, are the tortillas a necessity in this dish or could they be omitted? Second question is green enchilada sauce the same as salsa verde? Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      Heather – sure, I think this could be made without the tortillas. Salsa verde is a little different than green enchilada sauce but in a pinch, I use it interchangeably.

      • Linda says:

        Made this for dinner last night and loved it. Trying to cut back on carbs so used quinoa instead and also forgot to get stuff for green sauce so made red. So yummy. Will have to make again with the green sauce.

  20. Kylene says:

    Whenever I read your recipes I always wonder if you double everything? I have 3 kids, and always need to double recipes (my son and husband eat so much!!). Going to make this for dinner this weekend!! Just curious if you always double your recipes for your family?

    • Mel says:

      Kylene – in almost every recipe on my blog, I’ve posted it how I’ve made it for my family (unless I’ve made a note that I doubled it). So for instance, this skillet meal fed my entire family (five kids, two adults). Granted, my little 18-month old eats like a bird and two of my boys aren’t super big eaters.

  21. Melissa says:

    I made this for lunches for the week. I love it! It will definitely be on my new rotation of your recipes that I make on a consistent basis. Thanks!

  22. Amanda says:

    We made this last night and it is my new favorite squash recipe!!! Loved it!! I am looking forward to making it again soon with the last butternut squash from my garden. Thanks for another winner Mel!

  23. Carina says:

    I just made this and it is fantastic! I have never cooked with butternut squash before and I can’t believe what I have been missing! I think next time I will try microwaving the squash before cooking to reduce cooking time a bit, as I prefer it mushy. Adding lime at the end or A slice at service would be excellent. I used mozzarella cuz that’s what I buy, and it was still good. Also I used dehydrated onion and powered garlic which I just added with the other seasonings, skipping the first step, still good!

  24. katie says:

    I loved this. I used some sweet potato since I didn’t have enough squash and it was delicious. I stab the buttrernut a few times with a knife and then nuke it for a few minutes. The skin comes off a lot easier that way. I love you, Mel, BTW. Yours are the only recipes I know will turn out to be delicious ALL of the time. You are my culinary hero.

  25. Sarah says:

    We made this and loved the flavor combinations. It was a little dense for my taste but it was perfect over some shredded lettuce. And I wouldn’t dream of subbing acorn squash – peeling it is next to impossible.

  26. Julie says:

    Just made this, and LOVE this! Do yourself a favor, squeeze 1/2 lime (or more) some time at the end, it is the finishing touch!

  27. Melanie from SLC says:

    My kids will have a coronary if I make this, but I think I’m going to anyway. It’s good for them to eat food they hate!

  28. Michelle says:

    What do you think about substituting and using acorn/danish squash?

  29. You have convinced me to try this, like you do with pretty much all of your recipes! The hubby is a butternut squash hater, and I’m still trying to change that. Thanks!

  30. Katrina says:

    Your link to the homemade enchilada sauce took me to your recipe for bagels, twice. I can find the post easy enough. Just thought you would like to know so that later on someone can find the correct recipe. Thanks for all the great recipes. We are fans in this family!

  31. Melynda says:

    My kind of meal! Can’t wait to try the sauce, thanks so much.

  32. Rich Robbin says:

    Potatoe. Chunks?

  33. Jen M says:

    So, if none of my family (ahem) will eat any kind of squash, is this dish out for me or is there some other possible substitution?? Sweet potato maybe? I’m not the best at thinking of substitutions, but this looks too good to pass up!

  34. adrienne says:

    looks awesome! you can also buy prepped butternut squash at Trader Joe’s.

  35. TexGirl says:

    I love butternut squash, but hate prepping it. I discovered peeled, pre-cubed butternut squash at Costco a couple of years ago, and have been a convert ever since! Can’t wait to give this a try. Sounds like a great cool weather meal and it’s just starting to cool down here in central Texas – may only get up to 80 degrees today!

  36. Michelle Nowak says:

    Melanie, this looks so good and we have so much fresh produce now I just need to get a squash from the market!

  37. Sheila H. says:

    Love butternut squash and every other winter squash, so bring on the recipes. Have you tried delicata squash?

    There is a tutorial on for peeling and cubing a squash

    Thanks for another appealing recipe that will be made next week.

    • Mel says:

      Hi everyone – thanks for your patience today; I’ve been away from my computer all day! I fixed the link for the homemade enchilada sauce (you didn’t want bagels, apparently, and I can’t blame you).

      Jen M – I think sweet potatoes would sub excellently here but you’ll have to keep an eye on cooking time because they’ll need a longer time to cook than butternut squash.

      Michelle – I think many types of squash would work great in this recipe; let me know if you give acorn squash a try!

      Christi – great question on getting the squash cut up. I have seen already peeled and cut squash at Sam’s Club (and others mentioned Costco and Trader Joe’s) but since I don’t have any of those stores any where near where I live now, I just peel the skin with my potato peeler and get in there with my big chopping knife and go to town. I don’t know if giving it another try has convinced me or what but lately, it hasn’t seemed that cumbersome to chop it up myself.

      April S. – butternut squash definitely has a light sweetness to it (kind of like pumpkin) so if you aren’t a fan of that profile in a dish, this may not be for you.

      Nikeva – yes! I’ve made this a couple of times, one of the nights I used frozen, cubed squash and it worked great – the dish was probably a tad bit more “wet” but not so much that it detracted from the finished meal.

  38. Christi says:

    I have a question, do you have a good way to cube a butternut squash? It seems to take so long that I avoid using it. Which is a shame, because it is so delicious!

  39. Joyce says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe for the Enchiladas. I also found the correct link to the Green Enchilada Sauce listed in the recipe.

  40. April S. says:

    Question – does the butternut squash add a sweetness to the dish? I made a dish once calling for butternut squash and I didn’t care for the way it turned out flavorwise, being both sweet and spicy. I’m not sure if it was possibly the seasonings in it or the squash as I had never eaten butternut squash before. I would really like to give butternut squash another try.

  41. I make something similar; I love the addition of butternut squash. Looks delicious!

  42. Pete says:

    I might be losing my mind, but when I click on the link for the sauce, it brings me to a recipe for homemade bagels. And now I’m craving a bagel.

  43. Kim says:

    This dish looks delicious and easy – I plan to make it soon!

    But more importantly, how can anyone possibly hate butternut squash?!?! 🙂

  44. Looks delicious even though I’m not a black bean fan. Maybe I could swap it for rice or a white bean.

  45. Nikeva says:

    Looks awesomely delicious! Can frozen butternut squash be used in this recipe?

  46. Jess says:

    What a great idea for a simple skillet dinner – and those flavors are fantastic. I can see how this might even sell those butternut-haters on eating some. Pinning this for future dinners!

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