Bean & Butternut Tacos with Green Salsa

Beans and roasted butternut squash make an outstanding vegetarian taco filling. For the best flavor, use fresh, good-quality chili powder and Mexican oregano. Look for both at Latin markets or in the bulk spice section at well-stocked natural-foods stores.

Ingredients:

Salsa

  • 8 ounces tomatillos
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced white onion
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Tacos

  • 4 cups diced (1/2-inch) peeled butternut squash
  • 3-4 small dried red chiles
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled, smashed and left whole
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, plus 1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin seeds (see Tip), divided
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans, drained (see Tip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded and chopped red or green cabbage
  • 8 teaspoons crumbled queso fresco (see Note), or feta cheese

Directions:

  1. To prepare salsa: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cook the tomatillos in the boiling water until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Toast garlic cloves, jalapeño and onion in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned, fragrant and soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic. Remove the jalapeño stem and remove seeds if desired. Combine the tomatillos, garlic, jalapeño, onion and avocado in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Stir in cilantro, salt and pepper. Set aside for topping the tacos.
  4. To prepare tacos: Preheat oven to 400°F.
  5. Put squash in a medium bowl and, using kitchenshears, finely snip chiles to taste into small pieces (seeds and all) into the bowl. Add garlic, oil, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt and whole cumin seeds; toss to coat. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until soft and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Peel and finely chop the garlic when cool enough to handle; stir into the squash.
  6. Meanwhile, combine beans in a small saucepan with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt, ground cumin, chili powder and pepper. Heat over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
  7. Warm tortillas one at a time in a dry large cast-iron (or similar heavy) skillet over medium heat until soft and pliable. Wrap in a clean towel to keep warm as you go. Spoon 1/4 cup of the warm beans into each tortilla; divide the roasted squash evenly among the tacos and top each with cilantro, cabbage, 1/2 cup of the salsa and cheese. (Refrigerate the remaining 1/2 cup salsa for up to 2 days.)

Source: EatingWell September/October 2009

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Categories: HEAL, Healthy Recipes, Uncategorized

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