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Butternut squash is a mighty, mighty cucurbit. Why? Because it’s so versatile. After recently inheriting several of these from a local farm, we cooked it in just about any form to see what can be done with it. The best result? Tacos. We also made potstickers and they were awesome, but that’s for another post. We know a lot of people who love tacos, but the traditional dish while undoubtedly delicious, can pack a serious amount of calories, salt and fat. There are also folks among us who choose not to consume meat, or can’t due to dietary restrictions. So sticking to our plan of eating things that are healthier for us, but without sacrificing flavor, we decided to sub the meat with butternut squash, throw in some spices and see what happens. The end result was flavorful and delicious. We didn’t miss the meat at all.
We really enjoyed pairing these tacos with an American IPA, not only because it’s our hands down favorite style that we pursue with some serious ardor, but because the sweetness of the squash and the spiciness of the fresh, crisp jalapenos really meshed well with the style and our palates. You can also try pairing it with a sweet and malty amber/red lager; a pale ale will also do very well. Don’t forget the Belgians, a Belgian-style Dubbel will pair well because the dish is very light and super low on fat. We used one of those calorie counting apps to see where these guys would clock, and while there is likely some wiggle room (depending on how heavy you are with the toppings), we estimated each taco to be about 130 calories each. We call this a win in our kitchen.
Begin by peeling (hate this pain in the ass part with bitter could-be-doing-something-better-with-my-time passion) the squash. Cut lengthwise, clean out the seeds and dice into small cubes. Finely dice the onion, heat the olive oil in a frying and sauté it until it becomes clear and begins to brown lightly. Add the diced squash. Once the squash softens, add your dry spices. Stir well and sauté until the squash is cooked. Add the garlic and cilantro, cook 2-3 more minutes, stirring gently and take it off the heat.
While the squash cooks, gently toast the tortillas in a separate frying pan. Toasting gives them flavor. You may need to play around with the level of heat until you get the temperature just right. You don’t want to over-toast them, so they can still be pliable.
Assemble the tacos by adding 2-3 tbsp of the filling and a bit of each ingredient in this order: cheese, tomato, yogurt and jalapenos. Squeeze a bit of lime over the whole deal and serve.
Cheers and Enjoy!