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.
- 8 ounces tomatillos
- 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- ¼ cup sliced white onion
- ½ ripe avocado, diced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 cups diced ( ½-inch) peeled butternut squash
- 3-4 small dried red chiles
- 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled, smashed and left whole
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, plus ½ teaspoon ground toasted cumin seeds (see Tip), divided
- 2 cups cooked pinto beans, drained (see Tip)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ cup finely shredded and chopped red or green cabbage
- 8 teaspoons crumbled queso fresco (see Note), or feta cheese
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.
Toast garlic cloves, jalapeno and onion in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned, fragrant and soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic. Remove the jalapeno stem and remove seeds if desired. Combine the tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, onion and avocado in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Stir in cilantro, salt and pepper. Set aside for topping the tacos.
To prepare tacos:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Put squash in a medium bowl and, using kitchen shears, finely snip chiles to taste into small pieces (seeds and all) into the bowl. Add garlic, oil, ½ teaspoon oregano, ¼ 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.
Meanwhile, combine beans in a small saucepan with the remaining ¼ teaspoon oregano and ¼ teaspoon salt, ground cumin, chili powder and pepper. Heat over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
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 ¼ cup of the warm beans into each tortilla; divide the roasted squash evenly among the tacos and top each with cilantro, cabbage, ½ cup of the salsa and cheese. (Refrigerate the remaining ½ cup salsa for up to 2 days.)
Make Ahead Tip: The salsa can be prepared ahead (Step 1-3). Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes. Let cool. Grind into a powder in a spice mill or blender.
Ingredient Note: Queso fresco, also known as queso blanco, is a soft, slightly salty fresh Mexican cheese. You can find it in Latin markets and many supermarkets.
Tip: How to Cook a Pot of Beans ?
1. Pick over 1 pound dry beans to remove any pebbles or broken beans and rinse well under cold water. Place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak for 4 to 24 hours.
2. When you’re ready to cook the beans, heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 small chopped onion, 2 to 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 chopped celery stalk (optional). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pan. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. If at any time the liquid level drops below the beans, add 1 cup hot water. When the beans are nearly soft, stir in 1 to 1½ teaspoons salt. (Do not drain: beans are best stored in their cooking liquid and the li
Makes about 6 cups.
Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.
Serving size: 2 tacos
Per serving: 379 calories; 9 g fat(2 g sat); 15 g fiber; 65 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 204 mcg folate; 3 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 12,787 IU vitamin A; 38 mg vitamin C; 160 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 468 mg sodium; 1,020 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (256% daily value), Vitamin C (63% dv), Folate (51% dv), Iron (22% dv)
Carbohydrate Servings: 4½
Exchanges: 3½ starch, 2 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1½ fat