Tacos are so versatile, and universally liked, or I presume so! How can one not like tacos? They can be filled with meat or simple sautéed veggies, with various fixings, making it such an easy weeknight dinner! We have tacos atleast twice a week, since they are filling, but at the same time light on the tummy, easy to prep on a weeknight, and kids eat it without much fuss cause they are so flavorful! One of our favorite restaurants to visit in the Bay Area is Tacolicious! They have a great menu, amazing tacos, and yes! Fantastic drinks to go with the food! Their chips and salsa are highly addictive!
I am loving all the winter produce right now, with the pumpkins, and the different squash varieties like butternut, delicata, acorn, kabocha etc. My absolute favorite way of eating them is roasted with olive oil and spices. I love eating the roasted squash as is, with a dressing like a tahini dressing or a creama, or I make puree and use it to make soup or pasta out of the puree.
I made these winter tacos, with roasted delicate squash, quinoa, pickled red cabbage and red onions, avocado, pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds, salsa, drizzle of a cilantro-jalapeno crema and a squeeze of lime! The delicate squash is roasted in olive oil, salt, pepper, ancho chilli powder, smoked paprika, and chipotle in adobo sauce. I roast it for 30 minutes, along with some red bell pepper and red onion as well. The squash can be roasted a day in advance to keep it ready to go on taco day!
The quinoa is toasted on a pan first for 5 minutes, with olive oil, finely chopped red onion, a garlic clove, and spices like cumin powder, ancho chilli powder. Then add in water to cook it completely and soften it.
I make the Jalapeno Cilantro Creama, by roasting the jalapeno over the gas using tongs, and turning it every 30 seconds until all sides are charred. I put it in a small bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes. I peel the black skin off. Now I add greek yogurt, lime juice, japaleno, cilantro, salt and one garlic clove in a small blender and blend until smooth. This forms an excellent crema and can be made a day ahead or over the weekend for the week.
Once the squash and crema are made in advance, the tacos become very easy to assemble, to make it a quick weeknight meal. Plus they are super healthy and super delicious too. We love to eat seasonally, and get the full flavor of the fruits and vegetables in season. It makes the food so much more tastier.
Hope you get to try these tacos! If you do, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on the blog post.
Happy November and cooler weather! Looking forward to a mini break during thanksgiving, especially cause you can feel the holiday vibes around in the air. Hope you all are feeling it too!
- Makes about 20 small tacos
- Small corn tortillas
- 1 delicata squash, remove skin.
- 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
- 1 bell pepper cut into small square pieces
- ½ red onion cut into thin slices
- 1 tsp ancho chilli powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce, diced small
- Pickled Red cabbage and onion:
- 1 ½ cup thinly sliced red cabbage
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Cilantro-Jalapeno Crema:
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 jalapeno
- ½ cup cilantro, washed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the Quinoa:
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- ¾ quinoa
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 clove of garlic grated
- ¾ tsp ancho chilli powder
- ¾ tsp cumin powder
- 1 ½ cup water
- For Garnish:
- 3-4 avocados sliced thin
- 4 limes cut into wedges
- ½ cup spiced pumpkin seeds(I got this from Trader Joes)
- Cilantro for garnish
- Radish slices for garnish
- For the squash:
- Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the squash into ½ inch slices and cut each slice into one-third. If you want you could cut the squash into squares as well. In a small baking pan, add in the squash, bell pepper, red onion, olive oil, ancho chilli powder, smoked paprika, chipotle in adobo sauce, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Put the tray in the oven for 30 minutes. It will roast beautifully. After the first 15 minutes, you can switch around the squash mixture to brown it evenly. Remove pan and let cool.
- For the Pickled Red Cabbage/Onion:
- You can make this while the squash is roasting or make it a day in advance. Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and let sit and marinate. Keep mixing every 15 minutes if this is a quick pickle, to marinate it all over.
- For the Cilantro-Japaleno Crema:
- Roast the jalapeno over the gas stove, and keep turning every 30 seconds upto 4 minutes as to not to burn it. Put it in a small bowl, covered with plastic wrap and let the steam cook it. Once cooled after 15 minutes, remove the black skin off the jalapeno. In a small blender, add in the yogurt, lime, roasted jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper and blend till smooth. This can be made a day in advance.
- For the quinoa:
- In a small saucepan, on medium heat, add in the oil. Then add in the quinoa and toast it by sautéing it continuously for 5 minutes. Then add in the onions, garlic, ancho chilli powder, cumin powder and water. Cover it and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Watch it occasionally and stir it. If after 10 minutes there is still water left, cook it for another 5 minutes until all the water has ben absorbed. Use a fork to fluff up the quinoa.
- For assembly:
- Warm up the corn tortillas on a pan or straight on the gas stove to get the burn marks. Add in a bit of the squash mixture, add in the quinoa, pickled red cabbage and onion, drizzle of the cilantro-jalapeno crema, add in the avocado slice, spiced pumpkin seeds. Drizzle a squeeze of fresh lime, garnish with cilantro and radish!