Delicious vegan quinoa and butternut squash tacos packed to the brim with spicy avocado salsa! These amazing gluten-free tacos are the perfect meatless meal.
WHOA now, butternut squash tacos are daaaamn delicious. Fred and I are pretty obsessed with these bad boys, but I think we both agree that the super spicy avocado salsa really pulls this all together. There are so many different flavors and textures from the quinoa to the crunchy blue corn taco shells that it’s hard not to devour everything! I was really excited to add butternut squash because they’re in season, incredibly affordable and super-duper easy to cook.
The best advice that I have for cooking butternut squash is to be patient and give yourself enough time. Depending on the size and quantity of squash you’re cooking, they can take anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour to fully cook, but it’s SO worth it. If you know that you’ll want the squash to be ready for a certain meal, either give yourself at least an hour before hand to cook them in the oven, or cook them the night before and reheat them on the stove. I’ve actually tried it both ways and it worked out really well.
The inspiration for this recipe was a beautiful display of spicy peppers at the farmer’s market in Dupont Circle. If you live in the DC area, you should definitely check it out since there is more organic produce there than anywhere else. We ended up spending only $5 to buy over 20 different peppers and we used three different kinds in the salsa. Fred added avocado to the salsa because avocados are basically my favorite food and they’re totally necessary with tacos. Feel free to switch up the ingredients, but you have to try the butternut squash, it’s amazing!
What’s your favorite squash? I was a pretty die-hard delicata fan, but I’m starting to understand the hype around the other varieties. Yay, autumn!
Quinoa & Butternut Squash Tacos with Spicy Avocado Salsa
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: 6 tacos||Total:|
- 1 butternut squash, cut in half and de-seeded
- 1 cup tri-color quinoa, cooked
- 15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
- 6 blue corn taco shells
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the salsa
- 1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
- half a large red onion, diced
- 1 habanero pepper, de-seeded and chopped into small pieces
- 1 lemon drop pepper, de-seeded and chopped into small pieces
- 1 thai chili, chopped into small pieces with the seeds
- handful of cilantro, chopped
- handful of purple basil
- juice from 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the butternut squash, flesh down. Evenly coat in olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin. Bake for roughly 50 minutes to an hour until the squash is super tender and easily separates from the skin.
- While the squash is baking, cook 1 cup of quinoa, then add in the black beans. Set aside in a bowl. You'll most likely have extra quinoa and black beans left over!
- To make the salsa, grab a large bowl and add the avocado, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, purple basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Gently stir to make sure everything is evenly coated.
- Add in the three spicy peppers and gently stir. Either use a spoon, or carefully use your hands (wear gloves if you have them!) and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.
- Once the butternut squash is fully cooked, scoop out the flesh into a large bowl and gently mash it with a fork. You can add additional cumin powder if you like.
- Lightly toast the taco shells in the oven at 350 F for 5 minutes.
- To assemble the tacos, add a layer of butternut squash, then a layer of quinoa and black beans, then top with a layer of spicy avocado salsa.
Be patient with the butternut squash! You want it fully cooked and really tender.