I have been wanting to make these for a long time, because it dawned on me that this combination of ingredients would make great tacos, without trying to fake any meat or cheese. I love the combination of sweet, savory, spicy, smoky, and citrusy that you get with these, they are bursting with flavor! As with a lot of my recipes these days, they are a great thing to make on your day off and eat for the rest of the week, as the components all hold up quite well and make great leftovers. I really love the tiny organic corn cantina tortillas if you can find them, it’s usually the only size used by the Mexican food trucks here in Los Angeles, so it feels more authentic. I had been looking forward to the opening of this restaurant called Gracias Madre here in town for weeks, and in the meantime, I decided to try my hand at some fresh and flavorful plant based tacos. I actually made these the night before we went to try out Gracias Madre for my birthday, so I could get ideas and see if I wanted to change anything based on the experience. The food at the restaurant was fantastic! Nonetheless I think these tacos turned out great without any tweaks, if I do say so myself, Ole!
Butternut Squash and Black Bean Cantina Style Tacos With Chipotle Crema
1 serving of 4 mini tacos, easy to scale to your needs
1/2 cup butternut squash, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1.5 tbs organic raw sugar
1 tsp cumin
Sprinkle of nutmeg
Sprinkle of salt
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 cup of cashews, soaked overnight in water on the counter or boiled in water for 20 min.
Juice of 1 lime plus 1 lime cut into wedges
1 tbs dried chipotle powder (or 2 whole chipotle peppers!)
1/2 tbs agave nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt (might need more after you taste it
1/2 cup water
4 mini organic corn tortillas, (4″ diameter)
1/2 cup cooked black beans
2 tbs olive oil
1 sprig cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 large avocado, cut into thin slices
Hot sauce as desired
Preheat oven to 400. Cube the butternut squash and put into a small bowl with the sugar, cumin, nutmeg, and salt, drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil, and toss to coat. Drizzle the 2nd tbs of olive oil onto the pan and spread it around, then throw the squash on there. Spread the squash out evenly, the farther apart the pieces are from each other, the better- they will roast instead of steam this way. Cook this for 10-15 minutes, tossing about half way through. Keep an eye that they don’t burn with this tiny dice!
In the meantime, add the cashews, chipotle, lime juice, agave, and salt to a food processor and blend, slowly adding in the water a little splash at a time and allowing it to integrate. Keep adding the water until you get a saucy consistency; you want it to be thick, but you should be able to drizzle it off a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Slice the shallot very thinly, as thin as you can. Heat up the 2 tbs olive oil in a small pan and throw the shallots in there over medium heat and give the pan a few shakes. Allow them to just sit there for about 30 sec., then scrape a stir them gently until they are caramelized and golden.
I think tortillas are best if you microwave them in a stack for about 15 sec, they get warm and soft.
Lay out each tortilla and add two tbs of the butternut squash and two tbs of black beans to each. Next lay a slice of avocado on each taco. Sprinkle on a few slices of the crispy shallots and a sprinkle of cilantro. Drizzle on a tablespoon of the Chipotle Crema and a splash of hot sauce if you like.
Serve with the lime wedges on the side and enjoy a tall cerveza while you are at it.