Spaghetti Squash Tacos
I know there are many of you who have been patiently waiting for this recipe ever since I showcased it in my weekly menu post last week. Thanks for being so patient and I hope that these tacos make your wait worthwhile. I love it when I find a new family approved and easy weeknight meatless dinner (that was a mouthful). It’s so nice because I try and strive to have at least 2-3 meatless dinners a week, if possible. I want to make meatless nights fun and tasty and full of variety for the family, not boring and something that no one looks forward to. I truly have found the best recipes since I started my meatless search, and these tacos along with my Paul McCartney refried bean tacos are keepers!
I was originally hesitant to try these tacos because even though I like spaghetti squash, I don’t LOVE it as a substitute for good old pasta, (I’m truly a carb girl) and neither does my family. We eat as a substitute once in a while because its healthy. So, I finally picked up my reserved copy (after months of waiting) of Smitten Kitchen’s new cookbook from the library. I opened it up and this particular recipe grabbed my eye. Deb’s photo was amazing and really made me want to eat these tacos. I also loved that Deb was not a huge fan of spaghetti squash being a substitute for pasta either. She did feel differently about spaghetti squash when she made these tacos though. The squash really captures all the flavors from the chili spices and lime and it pairs wonderfully with all the toppings, plus it looks so pretty. I felt that if Deb and I were both in agreement that spaghetti squash is not a great substitute for pasta, then I might agree with her about these tacos, so I was game to give these a try.
I decided to make these up for lunch one Sunday afternoon, as I didn’t want to commit my family to eating these for dinner if they weren’t a success. Just so you know, John wanted no part in these tacos. He was not going to try them, and that was that. Well, I have to tell you that the kids and I raved about these tacos at lunch that John peered into the kitchen and decided he could take a small bite, that small bite led him to eating not one, but two tacos. I was one happy mama because I now had another meatless taco recipe to add to my weekly menu.
Spaghetti squash tacos
recipe from Smitten Kitchen cookbook
Makes enough for sixteen 6-inch tacos
- 3 pounds spaghetti squash (either one large or 2 small) – You don’t want to go any larger than 3 pounds because there won’t be enough seasoning to flavor your squash mixture
- 2 tablespoons (about 1 lime) freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained very well
- roughly 1/4 cup finely diced red or white onion – I used a red onion here, as it has more flavor and adds a pop of color as well.
- crumbled queso fresco or Cotija cheese – both are so similar in taste and texture that it doesn’t really matter which one you use
- fresh cilantro leaves
- 10-16 6-inch soft corn tortillas
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prep and cook up your spaghetti squash. Here’s the cliff note version on how to roast up spaghetti squash. Rinse your squash, cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, throw about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on each half and roast both halves face down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the squash halves in the pre-heated oven until tender and easily pierced with a fork, 45-60 minutes, or longer depending on the squash. Remove from the oven and set aside until they are cool enough to handle. I have more detailed step-by-step instructions on how to cook a spaghetti squash here. If you prep the squash via the step-by-step instructions, make sure you don’t add any salt or pepper to the squash halves for this recipe.
While the squash is cooking away, prep your ingredients. Squeeze your 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice into a small bowl. In another small bowl mix together the 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, set aside. Dice up your red onion, wash up the cilantro and trim off the bottom stems, rinse and drain your black beans and throw your cheese into a bowl. We’re setting up a taco bar baby!
When the squash is finished cooking, let it cool for a few minutes so its easier to handle. Working over a large bowl, gently scrape out the flesh with a fork. Compost the skin. Add the 2 tablespoons of lime juice to the bowl with the chili spices and whisk to combine.
Pour the chili and lime mixture over the squash strands and toss well to combine. I used a pair of tongs here so that I could really get everything mixed well together. You will notice that the color of the squash will change from a golden-yellow to an orange color.
You can heat up your tortillas at any time, either while your squash is cooking, cooling or after it’s been mixed together with the spices. You can heat up the tortillas one of three ways.
Throw the tortillas on the grill, and grill them until slightly charred and pliable, about 20
seconds per side.
Don’t feel like turning on the grill? Then turn on your stove. Set your burner to low and put the tortilla on top of the grate and cook for about 20 seconds per side, or until you get it browned to your liking. Use a pair of tongs to flip the tortilla.
Don’t have a stove with burners? That’s ok. Just heat up a dry, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Warm and slightly blister each tortilla, about 30 seconds per side.
You don’t have to heat up the corn tortillas, but they taste SO much better when you do, seriously, give it a try.
Now comes the fun part, assembling the tacos! Sprinkle each tortilla with a layer of black beans.
Throw some of the squash mixture on top of the beans.
Throw on some cheese and red onions.
Top it all off with some fresh cilantro. We love eating the cilantro leaves and the top of the stems, but you can also just chop up the leaves serve it that way as well.
There’s your finished product! Its just so vibrant and colorful, I love it!
Serve them up to the kids and watch as they disappear. They’re really are a kid friendly taco because the flavors are pretty mild, not too spicy at all. My kids love the both the Cotija and queso fresco cheeses. Both are super mild, but full of flavor.
Going, going, gone!
Hopefully your kids will give you the thumbs up as well.
This truly is an easy weeknight dinner to throw together. The only part that takes time is the roasting of the squash. The prepping and chopping can all be done while the squash is roasting away. I hope this recipe makes it into your taco Tuesday rotation.