On Saturday, we had a girls’ night at our place, so I was in the kitchen all afternoon stirring and cooking for the feast ahead. When this group of women get together I know two things: there will be much laughter, and we will eat VERY well. Both were true on Saturday, and by the end of the evening I was stuffed and feeling the food coma. I woke up this morning still feeling full and a little lethargic from all the food the night before.
We have to get a little creative cooking for this gang of feisty feminists – we’ve got me with my gluten-free lifestyle, and Kris who’s vegetarian. But is is a problem? – absolutely not! Even if the contestants on Top Chef seem completely stunned to have to cook a gluten-free or vegetarian meal, it’s certainly not a problem for our crew. I lose a little respect for chefs who show up to a competition without a stunning vegetarian or allergy-free menu in their back pocket – it’s not that hard!
For this gluten and meat free gathering, I focused on using up the three butternut squash that were hulking in the fridge. I wanted to go beyond the typical varieties of squash soup, and something heartier, and a little spicy. I decided to make some refried beans, and then roast the squash for tacos with homeade tortillas.
The tacos went over very well – there were groans of pleasure, and every single tortilla and bite of squash miraculously disappeared. The balance of the spicy chipotles with the sweet squash was perfect. I topped the tacos with Mexican cotija cheese, which is a bit like parmesan – a dry, hard cheese with a nice nuttiness and quite salty. In addition to the cheese, we topped the tacos with cilantro and oven caramelized onions. And I enjoyed the tacos so much, I did a re-run tonight, as I still had more squash in the fridge, and some leftover beans. If you love butternut squash, give this a try for a different way to utilize the bounty of autumn.
Butternut Squash Tacos
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
1 T olive oil
2 T chipotle en adobo puree
1/2 tsp salt
oven roasted caramelized onions
grated cotija cheese (use feta if you can’t get cotija where you live)
Serve with homeade tortillas (or store-bought) and beans.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with olive oil.
- Place the cubed squash in a large bowl, add the olive oil, chipotle puree and salt and toss to coat. Pour the squash onto the oiled sheet pan and spread the squash in one layer. Roast for 30 minutes, stir, and roast for 30 more minutes until the squash begins to caramelize.
- Serve the roasted squash with warm tortillas, cotija cheese, caramelized onions and cilantro.
- Caramelized Onions: To make the caramelized onions, slice two onions and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Spread onions on an oiled sheet pan, and roast at 350 degrees for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when a the onions begin to get a little bit crisp, and the onions taste sweet. Because the onions need to roast at a lower temperature, make these before you roast the squash.
Homeade tortillas: 55 cal/each 4″ tortilla
Roasted Squash: 114 cal per 3/4 cup serving