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Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans

A few miles from my house on the corner of a busy street filled with rundown strip malls and auto body shops sits my culinary north star: the taco bus. It is parked at the back of a small, potholed lot. A portable carport plastered with mariachi posters leans against the side and serves as a patio. Inside, the seats have been removed and low stainless steel counters and short stools line the foggy windows. At the back, a lone chef warms small white corn tortillas on a hot griddle before carefully topping them with carnitas, a squirt of hot salsa and finely chopped white onion. Each order comes with a grilled jalapeno, thinly sliced radish, and a choice of three salsas.

It is heaven.

Vegetarian pickings are slim at the taco bus, so I dreamed up these tacos for Jon. Small cubes of homegrown butternut squash and onions are dusted with chile powder, cumin, and coriander and roasted until they are sweet and caramelized. Warm corn tortillas and black beans, stewed with tomatoes and roasted jalapenos from the garden, form the foundation of the tacos. A topping of cojita cheese and lime add in salty and sour notes. They are the perfect warm up for a chilly night and my favorite way to use the vegetables I stocked away in the freezer earlier this fall.

Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans
Butternut squash has a tendency to go all mushy when roasted, because the squash cubes steam when they are crowded into a pan. I’ve found that scattering the squash in a thin layer across the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet helps the pieces develop crunchy, caramelized bits. Because this recipe calls for so much squash, I divide it between two pans and rotate them in the oven halfway through the roasting process.

You’ll need:
½ of a medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes (about 5 cups)
½ cup white onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
1 ½ teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped (or 1 15-ounce can fire roasted, diced tomatoes)
2 15-ounce cans black beans
2 jalapenos
1 serrano chile (if you like spicy beans)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
12 small corn tortillas
½ cup crumbled cojita cheese (or feta)
Lime wedges

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high. Place the jalapenos and serrano (if using) into the pan and cook until the skins are charred and blistered in spots. Remove the pan from the heat and set the peppers aside.

In a large bowl, toss the squash and onions together with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander, 2 teaspoons of the chile powder, and 1 teaspoon salt over the squash and onions and toss until well coated. Divide the vegetables between two rimmed baking sheets and spread them out in a thin layer, so each piece has a bit of room between it and its neighbors. Place into the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges of the squash and onions begin to brown. Rotate the pans and give the vegetables a quick stir halfway through.

Meanwhile, peel, stem and seed the chiles before chopping them finely. Then, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two before pouring in the tomatoes. Allow the tomatoes and garlic to bubble briskly for five to ten minutes, or until the tomatoes reduce down to a loose sauce. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the chile powder over the tomatoes and then stir in the chiles and the beans with their liquid. Cook the beans over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring carefully so you do not smoosh them. When the beans reach your preferred consistency, remove them from the heat, stir in the cilantro, and adjust the seasonings.

To assemble the tacos, spread a few spoonfuls of strained beans (I use a slotted spoon) onto a warm tortilla. Place a mound of roasted squash and onions on top of the beans. Shower the tacos with crumbled cojita cheese, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Yummy Vegetarian Tacos

The squash before they became tacos!

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40 Responses to “Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans”

  1. 1
    gialuna Says:

    Wow. That sounds so yummy good!

    This coming spring, the hubby and I will be making our first attempt at raising the bar from growing tomatoes in pots to raised beds/major veggie gardening. Without question there will be Butternut squash among other treasures. I’ll be making this recipe much sooner than that, you can bet on it. Thanks!

  2. 2
    Wendy Says:

    Oh, gosh. Those look so good. I’m on a butternut squash craze right now and butternut squash tacos are right up my alley. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3
    Andrea Says:

    Those sound just amazing. And they look amazing, too. I flippin’ love butternut squash and I think this would be a great way to sneak it by the fiance! Thanks!!

  4. 4
    Willi Says:

    Gialuna–How exciting you’re going to make the jump to raised beds! If you have any questions as you get started, let me know! Wendy and Andrea–I’m with you on being crazy for butternut squash. We had a bumper harvest, so I’ve been cooking it all sorts of ways!

  5. 5
    robyn Says:

    This looks so delicious!

  6. 6
    Adriana Says:

    Sans the cheese and these are vegan! The squash is lovely!

  7. 7
    Ara Says:

    I just want you to know that you’ve convinced me to expand my garden this year. I live in south Florida and can garden most of the year, and I usually have two 4′ x 8′ beds and some containers going (always organic), but the yard is going to get a new look this year. I think next weekend I’m going to start with some butternut squash going up my fence just the way you’ve described with the wire lathe. Tried summer squash last summer and 2 plants spread out of the bed and into the yard which our dogs enjoyed munching on and what they missed the yard guy got.

    You’re recipes look quite delicious, too, though I’ll never get away with that much vegetarianism in my house – the hubby is a definite meat-and-potatoes guy. He is used to having gardens, though, as he grew up with them in Tennessee.

    I can’t tell you how long I’ve been dreaming of having chickens for eggs, but I don’t think I can pull it off – 3 long-hair dachshunds prevent that – I’ll never be able to control the puppy yapping.

    Thanks for inspiring me to step up the gardening effort.

  8. 8
    matt wright Says:

    These look awesome! I am always looking for new ways to use butternut squash, and I never thought of taco’s. Great stuff.

  9. 9
    rochester grad student Says:

    Oh my gosh! I just made this recipe today for my boyfriend! It was AMAZING!!! THANK YOU!

  10. 10
    joan nova Says:

    Great recipe…concept, flavorings, execution!

  11. 11
    martha galloway Says:

    It is a cold winter day in Reno so I think it is the perfect time to make the tacos. I hope they taste as good as I know they do in your kitchen. You have such a great knack for putting the right flavors together. Martha

  12. 12
    Shelby Says:

    I found this recipe by searching “taco” on tastespotting, hee. Made these for a cinco de mayo gathering last night and they were beyond yummy. Loved by both meat and non-meat eaters.

  13. 13
    Two Weeks of Menu Planning Says:

    [...] Butternut Squash Black Bean TacosTuesday: Soup & Corn muffinsWednesday: Veggie Fajitas with Black BeansThursday: Mushroom & [...]

  14. 14
    Butternut Squash Tacos are so very yummy « Attempts at Rhyme, Reason, and Fighting the Demons of Ignorance Says:

    [...] Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans [...]

  15. 15
    Back to healthy Says:

    [...] Pepita Salad (I’ve been wanting to make this ever since Amy recommended it.) Friday: Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans (these are SO [...]

  16. 16
    stetted · Menu Plan Monday: June 29 - July 5 Says:

    [...] Butternut squash tacos (from [...]

  17. 17
    5 More Vegan Recipes an Omnivore Will Love Says:

    [...] get enough of these and said that the beans alone were worth making. The recipe can be found here, at DigginFood. One warning though: They are spicy!! I’d recommend starting with half the [...]

  18. 18
    Menu planning July 27 - 31 Says:

    [...] Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans (vegan) [...]

  19. 19
    Well, Who’d Have Thought? « What’s Happening At My House Says:

    [...] night I cooked Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans, a recipe which was mentioned in Graceful Creative’s  menu plan a couple of weeks [...]

  20. 20
    Menu planning (for a cleanse) Says:

    [...] butternut squash tacos with spicy beans [...]

  21. 21
    gardenmentor Says:

    Just started my butternut harvest of ’09 and am so excited to try this recipe. Saw it last year and got motivated to grow more winter squash just for it.

    I thought I’d seen something on your site about best ways to store winter squash over winter, but I can’t find it now. Have you/will you do such a write up? I know you kept butternuts a long time last winter!


  22. 22
    Lucky Me | DigginFood Says:

    [...] a windstorm. Seriously, that takes dedication. Luckily for me, he accepts payment in the form of butternut squash tacos made with squash grown on the still standing [...]

  23. 23
    Buffe Evans Says:

    my mouth is watering right now at 7:50am! I will definitely make these soon. ;)

  24. 24
    Delicata Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Bean Salsa « Where energy and creativity meet Says:

    [...] going to post a recipe on here today.  Tonight’s internet recipe was based off of another internet recipe and I made some changes I thought I’d post in [...]

  25. 25
    Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer Says:

    I love butternut squash but no one else I know has even tried it. I’m sure they wouldn’t know what it even is. That looks absolutely yummy.

  26. 26
    20 Tasty Things To Make With Squash: {Recipes} : Says:

    [...] Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans: Butternut squash has a tendency to go all mushy when roasted, because the squash cubes steam when they are crowded into a pan. I’ve found that scattering the squash in a thin layer across the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet helps the pieces develop crunchy, caramelized bits. Because this recipe calls for so much squash, I divide it between two pans and rotate them in the oven halfway through the roasting process. Found at DigginFood. [...]

  27. 27
    Viv Says:

    I want to thank you for this recipe, it is so good! I grew a bumper crop of butternut squash this year, butternut rugosa, which is huge, (as in 10 pound squash) so I do appreciate delicious ways to prepare it!

  28. 28
    Simple Winter Recipes | DigginFood Says:

    [...] Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans [...]

  29. 29
    swaukbird Says:

    This sounds delicious. What is the number of serving typical for the butternut squash tacos recipe? Any tips on making parts of it in advance of a large dinner?

  30. 30
    Willi Says:

    This recipes serves 6. For a large dinner I would make the beans up to two days in advance and also peel and cube the squash. The on the day of I would chop the onion, add it to the squash and roast the squash while I heated up the beans, chopped up some extra cilantro, and crumbled the cheese. I often serve a spicy cabbage slaw on the side.

  31. 31
    Food « Some Things I Know Says:

    [...] Butternut squash and spicy black bean tacos [...]

  32. 32
    Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Black Beans | threetwentyeight Says:

    [...] food and I love squash. The two don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but checkout this recipe from DigginFood. Maybe with a little hot [...]

  33. 33
    LadyJayPee Says:

    It’s out of season, but for some reason I had to have these! I used sweet potatoes, rather than butternut squash. It was so good! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  34. 34
    Brianna Says:

    i just made these for my daughter. we had a squash that was given to me from a friends garden and didnt have any ideas on what i should do, i looked this web site up and decide to make it, it was beyound wonderful and this is coming from a person who dosnt like squash

  35. 35
    Willi Says:

    Brianna–I am so glad that you and your family liked them. They are a favorite at our house too :)

  36. 36
    lauren Says:

    haha great! i have everything i need! i am going to make these RIGHT NOW (once i can will myself up, but very soon, i assure you)!

  37. 37
    The Top Ten Seeds and Recipes for Your Garden and Table | Seattle Seedling Says:

    [...] Favorite recipe: Butternut squash tacos with black beans [...]

  38. 38
    A week of clean, healthy eating « DC Orbiters Says:

    [...] for new healthy choices for our dinners including spicy black bean and butternut squash burgers, sweet potato and black bean salsa tacos, and loaded sweet potatoes! Stay on the look out for new menu choices that are clean [...]

  39. 39
    Justin Says:

    Apparently you have visited my dreams and posted this knowing I would find it five years later. Thank you, I will be making this tomorrow for diner.

  40. 40
    2013 Harvest CSA Share Week #20, October 16th | Your CSA Says:

    [...] Tacos with Spicy Black Beans: Made with white onion, cumin, coriander, ancho chile powder, salt, minced garlic, skinned, seeded and chopped tomatoes (or a can of fire roast diced tomatoes), cans of black beans, jalapenos, serrano chile, cilantro, small corn tortillas, crumbled cojita cheese (or feta) and wedges of lime. Found at DigginFood. [...]

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