Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans

Have you heard that phrase–anything you can eat, I can eat vegan–? I can’t remember where I saw it. On a t-shirt maybe. Perhaps on someone’s blog or instagram photo. But it really resonated with me because it’s true. There are so many tasty vegan dishes and recipes out there that do an excellent job of replicating non-vegan flavors. So much so, that I wonder why animals are even still used for food.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans

Take these twice baked butternut squash for example. It’s a beautifully creamy butternut squash topped with a smokey “bacon”. But no cows or pigs were harmed to create it. Cashew cheese was used for the creaminess. And coconut flakes baked with liquid smoke were used for the bacon.

Vegan Coconut Bacon

The coconut bacon I used is Cobi’s from Veggietorials. This is the first coconut bacon that I’ve ever made. And it will probably be the only recipe I ever use because it is the perfect combination of smokey, sweet, salty and spicy. Since the first time I made it (mentioned in my “picture an hour” post), I have made it several times.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon

adapted from Martha Stewart


  • 4 butternut squash (about 4.5-5 pounds)
  • 5 large kale leaves washed, tough cores removed and torn into smaller pieces
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup cashew cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbs chopped chives
  • 3-4 tbs panko crumbs
  • olive oil
  • garlic and onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • enough coconut bacon (or any vegan bacon) to top each squash half to your liking.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans


Preheat oven to 450 F. Wash the butternut squash and microwave them for about 3 minutes to make them easier to cut. Halve all the squash and sprinkle each half with a little salt and pepper. Place the squash halves (open sides up) in a pan (I ended up using two pans) with about 1/4 inch of water and bake covered for about 25-35 minutes (squash should be tender when pierced with a fork).Β While the squash is baking, steam or saute the kale leaves with the garlic and set aside.

Take the squash out when done baking and turn oven down to 425 F. When the squash are cool enough to handle, carefully scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl leaving a small border of butternut squash in each half to help it keep its shape. Mash up the flesh with a fork. Then thoroughly mix in the cashew cheese, chives, kale and salt and pepper to taste. Fill the emptied butternut squash halves with this mixture. In a small bowl, mix the panko crumbs with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous pinch of garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper. I used my hands to mix everything well to make sure all the panko was seasoned.

Sprinkle the panko mixture on the stuffed butternut squash and bake uncovered at 425F for about 20-25 minutes until warmed through. Finally, top with as much coconut bacon as you desire!

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans

This dish is a combination of so many flavors that I love. Subtle sweet squashiness from the butternut squash. A slight cheesiness from the cashew cheese. And a touch of smokey saltiness from the “bacon”. It also has wonderful contrasty textures. From the creaminess of the butternut squash filling to the crispy panko and chewy coconut bacon.

This is one of those meals that I try really hard to eat slowly otherwise I might inhale it all at once. So with each bite, I close my eyes and let all the contrasting flavors and textures mingle awhile before I dive in for another. I may or may not make audible moans of pleasure while eating this dish.

What are some ways you like to cook/eat butternut squash?

34 thoughts on “Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon

  1. acookinthemaking

    WOW that looks so good!!! I wish you could have seen my face when this post popped up in my feedly. I probably looked like that whistling wolf in the old cartoons, except without the sound effects (I am at work, after all).

    I have been wanting and wanting to make coconut bacon but I can never seem to find those big flakes at any stores. At some point I’m going to just have to break down and order them online!

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks so much! That gives me warm fuzzies to hear that :-).

      I was skeptical about coconut bacon at first, but then I tried the phoney baloney brand and fell in love. But then I found out that I could make it at home and found Cobi’s recipe….her recipe was life changing. No joke. Neal loves the stuff and whenever I make a batch, I can find him secretly stealing some from the jar.

  2. coconutandberries

    I really need to get on this coconut bacon thing! I know I’m going to love it! Busy few days ahead but hopefully very soon! This dish looks so good- creamy cashew cheese, sweet squash and salty bacon- flavour combo perfection πŸ™‚
    My favourite butternut recipe for so long has been this butternut lentil salad with tahini dressing but I love how it melts down in stews too like in this Ethiopian split pea dish

  3. Hannah

    I’ve had butternut squash on my mind lately, and all of the sudden theres like 4 butternut squash recipes in my feed. I guess I’m not the only one! I’ve never seen one twice baked, but it looks incredible.

    I’ve got to check this coconut bacon out. People are raving about it, but I’ve been apprehensive to buy or make any. My husband is a weirdo about coconut! Does it taste coconutty?

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks Hannah! The bacony flavor is what dominates the coconut bacon but there is some coconut flavor. I find the coconut flakes I use are kinda thick and sorta have some sweetness to them already that really makes for a great “bacon” as it gets chewy and there is sweetness to contrast the savory and spice.

      And hey, if your husband doesn’t like it, you can just hoard it all for yourself πŸ™‚

  4. Caitlin

    Since winning a butternut squash and making soup with it a couple of weeks ago I’ve become a bit obsessed with it (I don’t know why, but I don’t normally eat very much butternut squash). I even put some on my pasta carbonara last night – just because I want to eat as much as I can of it this autumn. These look great!

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Oh my gosh! How cool that you won a butternut squash! I am the same way when I discover a new veggie that I like…I become obsessed with it. I try to find new ways to eat so I can eat as much as possible. I can imagine butternut squash going really well in carbonara.

  5. Andrea

    What a great combination, and you’re killing me with the coconut bacon. We’ve become addicted to it and the only store that carries it is always out. I have to start making my own. I love butternut squash in Thai curries. Or even just plain, roasted. I’m making it in an Ethiopian recipe tonight.

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yup, I knew I was too frugal to buy coconut bacon on a regular basis so I had to find a good recipe. I got really lucky because Cobi’s recipe is the first I’ve tried and it is killer!

      Butternut squash in Thai curry sounds really delicious! I’ll see if I can get Neal to work on that as he is the in-house expert on Thai curries.

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks! Based on our personal experience, the homemade is pretty different from the Phoney Baloney stuff at least in texture. It’s been awhile since I had it but I think it’s pretty different in taste too. I think it is in part to the coconut flakes we use. We use flakes that are kinda thick and have some sweetness in it already. So when used for coconut-bacon it ends up having some chewiness (along with harder crunchy bits) and sweetness that contrasts the savory smokey flavor. I liked Phoney Baloney’s coconut bacon but I like Cobi’s recipe because of the above. Plus it’s cheaper and has a little kick to it!

  6. flickingthevs

    Coconut bacon is one of those things that I keep seeing on other people’s blogs and thinking ‘wow, I need to make that right now!’ Do you need fresh coconut or will dry work?

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      We used dried for ours. I thought that was what people used but maybe I’m wrong. But using the dried, kinda thicker flakes works well for us. We also use some that have a little sweetness in it. All of that lends itself to a chewy-in-some-places sweet and savory coconut-bacon!

  7. chow vegan

    I finally got to try coconut bacon for the first time – it’s so good! Now I’m going to have to make it home along with that twice baked butternut squash – it looks amazing! πŸ™‚

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you! Oooh, are you addicted to coconut bacon now like we are? πŸ™‚ It’s so incredibly easy to make so any coconut-bacon addictions can be fed pretty cheaply and easily πŸ™‚

  8. Pingback: November 9, 2013 | Mommy plus 5

  9. Pingback: Christmas Dinner Recipe: Twice-Baked Butternut Squash with Cashew Cheese, Walnuts and Cranberries | The Vegan Word

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