Taco Tuesday for October 2020: Butternut Squash and Chorizo Tacos, Apple Pico De Gallo & Black Beans
Fall is here y’all! I am so excited about this months Taco Tuesday! It includes a combination of fall colors, flavors and ingredients. I put a fall twist on Mexican flavors and the results were magnificent! My goal was to take traditional Mexican or Spanish dishes and incorporate items such as: butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, corn, kale, goat cheese, apples, tomatoes etc. These vibrant dishes will help you celebrate those taco tuesdays for the month while also feeling all those fall vibes.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHORIZO TACOS ON CORN TORTILLAS:
Have you ever thought about putting butternut squash on tacos before? No? Me either, until now! I don’t know why I haven’t tried this sooner, I really have been missing out! They taste delicious, they are filling and they have great health benefits. Butternut squash itself is almost 90% water which makes them extremely hydrating. They are so vibrant and when sautéed in olive oil and spices they come to life!
The one thing I love about this dish, is that these tacos can easily be customizable to your liking. You might have noticed from my previous recipes that I like providing options and recipes that are customizable. I want my recipes to appeal to a variety of people and I understand that dietary restrictions are very important. With that being said, these tacos can be turned into vegetarian tacos by simply eliminating the chorizo and doubling up on the butternut squash portions. If you are not a butternut squash fan, you can eliminate that part and opt for straight chorizo tacos or you can eat them as suggested with both! The world is your oyster! You get three taco options within one recipe.
When I think of fall I think of: pumpkins, corn fields, greens, delectable cheese platters with meats, crackers and nuts and farms just to name a few. I took those thoughts and tied all of those items into these tacos by:
The tortillas being corn instead of flour.
Changing up the typical shredded lettuce that goes on tacos and replacing it with a leafy green. I marinated kale in lime juice and salt which provides that punch of tang and wilts the kale a bit so it isn’t so tough and flavorless.
Toasted pumpkin seeds as a garnish on top gives the tacos that crunch and toasty bonfire aspect to the taco.
The goat cheese provides a creamy yet slightly sweet aspect.
When all ingredients are combined and eaten as one, it is a fiesta in your mouth!
FALL APPLE PICO DE GALLO:
I received an extremely thoughtful package in the mail just in time for me to create my October Taco Tuesday dishes. It was from another small business owner and friend of mine out in Colorado. Their company is All the Good Stuff and they are a farmers market delivery service. They work with local farms and small businesses/vendors to help bridge the gap between local businesses and people who can’t make it to farmers markets. Their goal is to help people buy local and provide the ease of knowing exactly where their goods and produce are coming from.
I am not sure if you know, but when you buy local you are supporting local farmers and families that are in need of us, especially during a time like this. It also helps eliminate food waste which is a bigger issue than you might think. They ship produce and non-perishables locally and they ship only non-perishables around the country. Click the link above to check them out and I highly recommend supporting their growing business! They have some really great items!
The package they sent me contained a variety of apples and some local honey. When I saw the package it literally jumped for joy! A few of my previous recipes I’ve created contain fresh vegetables and fruits that were grown and purchased from local farms. It was a place where I was able to pick the fruits and vegetables straight from the ground or their vines. I absolutely love going to the farm and doing that. I try to when I can, but it is not always easily accessible. So, when I received more farm and locally grown produce it made me so so happy. I knew immediately I could and needed to use these right away. My October Taco Tuesday recipes were the perfect opportunity. So, I decided to make a fall apple pico de gallo that is fresh and sweet with a kick of heat. It is the perfect Mexican fall side dish or topping that has the potential to be highly addictive, its SO good! I paired the fall apple pico de gallo with Trader Joe’s adorable fall leaf chips and they were a match made in heaven!
The honey that is incorporated into this recipe is also made locally. A fun fact about the little busy bees that make this product for us is that the bees come to Colorado in the spring and summer and then they go back down to Florida in the winter. The honey is from a company called Winter Park Honey and they have a location in Colorado and Winter Park Florida. This honey is so authentic and special to me, plus it has hints of lavender in it which makes it so unique! I am extremely grateful to be able to work with other entrepreneurs and small business owners that make our world a better place.
BLACK BEANS WITH FIRE ROASTED TOMATOES:
These black beans are creamy, spicy and burst with flavor. They are the perfect side dish to any taco Tuesday meal. The best part: they come together so quickly and are easy to make with just a pinch of this and a pinch of that.
Sometimes side dishes can get overlooked because you are so focused on making the main dish and then you can end up resorting to frozen vegetables, microwaveable rice cups or an easy salad. Well, all of those options can step aside because this is an easy side dish option that is created from canned goods, yet is still homemade plus tastes and looks as if it were made from a restaurant.
Black beans are a great healthier side dish option because they benefit us in so many ways that you might not know. They help maintain healthy bones, lower blood pressure, ward off heart disease, manage diabetes, contribute to healthy digestion and even weight loss! When they come straight from the can, they are flavorless and can be hard to choke down. But, thrown in some diced tomatoes for extra texture, spices for flavor and limes and cilantro for colors and they become a more appreciable side dish that you and the family will love!
Serves 5+, INGREDIENTS: For the Butternut Squash and Chorizo Tacos
2 Cups butter nut squash, diced
1.5 Lb. chorizo, casting removed
Homemade taco seasoning (OPTIONAL, recipe below)
Goat cheese, original flavor
Marinated kale (3 kale stems, leaves removed, fresh lime juice from one lime and 1/4 TSP Salt. Mix in a bowl and place in the fridge to marinate and cool)
1/4-1/2 Cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 Yellow onion, minced
1 TBSP minced garlic
INGREDIENTS: For the Taco seasoning (Optional, you can always use store bought/pre-made taco seasoning)
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP minced onion, dried
1 TSP garlic powder
1 TSP cumin
1/2 TSP oregano
1/2 TSP parsley flakes
1/2 TSP red pepper flakes
1/4 TSP black pepper
1/2 TSP salt
To make the Marinated kale, remove the leaves from their stems and place in a bowl. Squeeze fresh lime juice over and sprinkle salt. Mix well and place in the fridge to cool and marinate until ready to construct tacos.
If you are making the taco seasoning, mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Butternut squash might already come pre-cut in cubes, however I like to make them smaller so they do not over power and take over the taco. So, dice your butternut squash pieces until you have two full cups.
Heat 2 TBSP olive oil over medium to low heat. Add pumpkin seeds and cook for 3 minutes until crispy, toasty and golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the same pan, add onion and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until translucent and fragrant.
Add chorizo and season with 1 TBSP taco seasoning. Cook for 5-6 minutes until no longer pink.
Add butternut squash and extra 1/2 TBSP taco seasoning. Place the lid on and cook until tender another 5-7 minutes. Mixing every so often during this time. You want the butternut squash tender and not mushy. While this is cooking, heat your corn tortillas over low heat for 1-2 minutes per side.
When fully cooked through, remove from heat.
To build the tacos, place about 1 TBSP of the butternut squash and chorizo mixture in a corn tortilla. (I recommend using a slotted spoon so you do not have juices spilling everywhere). Top the meat with a few pieces of marinated kale, then goat cheese crumbles and garnish with your toasted pumpkin seeds.
Serves 5, INGREDIENTS: For the Apple Pico De Gallo
1 Honey crisp apple, diced (makes about 2 cups)
1 Tomato, diced
Fresh lime juice from one lime
1/2 Cup red onion, minced
3 TBSP jalapeño, minced
1 and 1/2 TBSP cilantro, minced
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP honey
1/4 TSP black pepper
1/2 TSP salt
Prepare your ingredients: dice apples, dice tomato, mince red onion, mince jalapeño, Mince cilantro and cut lime in half for juicing.
Place all prepared ingredients in a bowl. Add apple cider vinegar, honey, black pepper, salt and lime juice.
Mix well and place in the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with your choice of chips on the side.
Serves 5, INGREDIENTS: For the Black Bean and Fire Roasted Tomato Side
1 Can black beans, do not drain
1 Cup fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 Cup red onion, minced
Fresh lime juice from half of a lime
1 TSP garlic powder
1/2 TSP cumin
1/4 TSP paprika
1 TBSP adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Heat a pot over medium heat, add all ingredients to the pot. Stir to mix well.
Once boiling, bring the heat down to low. Place the lid over the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve right away as a side dish to your main meal.
PRETTY PLATE ITEMS USED: