Gluten-free, vegetarian (and vegan) tacos filled with butternut squash, red onion, corn and jalapeños.
Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people who, upon hearing the words ‘Mexican food’, immediately thinks of one thing: tacos!
It’s a problem, and I’ve added ‘Work out that there’s more to Mexican food than tacos and guacamole’ to my To-Do List.
But for now, I’m thinking that Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner. And you know what else I’m thinking? Tacos! (Everyone loves tacos, right?)
Knowing my limits when it comes to Mexican food (or any Latino cuisine), I decided to take the non-traditional route with these tacos. Rather black beans or other legumes, these tacos are based around a vegetable I know all too well: pumpkin. Well, butternut squash, to be exact (unless you’re in Australia or New Zealand, where ‘butternut pumpkin’ is in fact the correct term).
It’s no secret that I love squash, pumpkin and the whole orange vegetable brigade. So I don’t care that it’s nearly Cinco de Mayo and not Cinco de Noviembre. My squash/pumpkin cravings wait for no season.
Of course, there’s more to these tacos than just butternut squash (I haven’t completely lost it yet). Alongside the butternut is some roasted red onion, corn, lettuce and roasted jalapeños for some much needed spiciness.
Speaking of the jalapeños, you certainly don’t have to roast them. Sliced, pan-fried, however you like them. But for me, roasted is the way to go.
This is the way I roast jalapeños:
- Preheat the broiler (oven grill). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil, and spray the foil with cooking oil spray.
- Halve, deseed and devein the jalapeño peppers – or else they’ll be super duper spicy! Place them skin side up on the baking tray. Broil for 6 – 10 minutes, or until the skins have blackened and wrinkled.
- Transfer the jalapeños to a plastic or ziplock bag. Seal the bag, and let the jalapeños cool completely.
- Remove the jalapeños from the bag. Peel off (and discard) the skins.
Side note: this is the same way I love to cook red bell peppers (capsicums).
Like all tacos, these can easily be tweaked to include whatever you like (or, more importantly, have on hand). Replace the squash with sweet potato, add some roasted garlic, throw in some different vegetables, add some chickpeas, add some salsa – whatever works for you.
And, of course, adjust the number of jalapeños to suit your tastes. Leftover roasted jalapeños can be stored in the fridge, so I’d roast more than you think you’ll need. Or else you’ll risk having under-spiced tacos.
Considering this is a breakfast blog, it probably would’ve made more sense to make breakfast tacos with either eggs or tofu. But once I spotted that butternut sitting in my fridge, it was obvious where this recipe was headed.
Breakfast tacos will have to wait for another day.
- 1 ½ pounds (640g) butternut squash
- 1 red onion
- Salt, to taste
- 6 small corn tortillas
- Chopped romaine (cos) lettuce
- 1 cup cooked corn kernels
- 3 roasted and chopped jalapeño peppers (see notes above)
- Optional extras: Chickpeas, chopped avocado and/or cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease a large baking pan with olive oil, or cooking oil spray.
- Peel and chop the butternut squash into cubes approximately 1-inch thick. Peel and halve the red onion.
- Transfer the butternut squash cubes and onion halves to the prepared baking pan. Lightly spray the vegetables with cooking oil spray, and season with salt.
- Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, turning the butternut squash after 20 minutes. The vegetables are ready once the butternut squash is tender and the bottoms of the onion halves have caramelized.
- Slice the roasted onion halves, making the slices approximately ½-inch thick.
- Assemble the tacos by filling each corn tortilla with some chopped lettuce, corn kernels, chopped roasted jalapeños, butternut squash cubes and roasted onion slices. If desired, also add some chickpeas, chopped avocado and/or cilantro (coriander). Enjoy!
This may seem odd, but I love to bake my tacos after assembling them (which is especially useful if you take a gazillion photos of them!). After assembling, I carefully(!) place the tacos in a greased dish/pan, cover them in aluminium foil and bake for about 10 minutes.