By Team Dirty
Sep 17, 2022,
Everyone loves tacos. Omnivores, plant based peeps, kids, those relatives you only see once every five years… So, it’s not exactly hard to create a crowd-pleasing taco, but we’ve made it even easier. Our Oil-Free Roasted Squash Butternut Tacos are satisfying, healthy, and so delicious you’ll want to eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not to mention, these plant based babies are gluten-free, nut-free, and a snap to make. Yum!
What you’ll need
For roasting the squash
Butternut squash: these gourds are often featured in seasonal autumn recipes, but you can find them in most grocery stores year-round, and they’re too tasty to only enjoy occasionally. Try to find a medium-sized one for this recipe. You can also use fresh pre-cut or thawed frozen squash if available.
Lemon Tahini Dressing: this dressing is one of our most beloved recipes. We use it to coat the squash for roasting without oil. You won’t use the full recipe, so save the leftovers to drizzle over salads and veggies, or drink from the jar—it’s that good!
For the tacos
Corn tortillas: we like these for their delicious depth of flavor. Toasting creates some almost nutty flavors that lend themselves well to the roasted squash. If you’re looking for sprouted corn tortillas, they can often be found in the frozen section of natural supermarkets. You can use flour tortillas if you prefer.
Salsa: if you’re purchasing jarred salsa, we recommend finding one with low sodium and, if possible, no corn syrup, oil, added sugar, or other additives. Fresh salsa can sometimes be found in the refrigerated produce or deli section. If you prefer to make your own, try our yummy Salsa Fresca.
How to make Oil-Free Roasted Squash Butternut Tacos
First, preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Now, make yourself a batch of the Lemon Tahini Dressing and try not to get distracted licking the blender clean (those blades are sharp!).
Once you’re done, it’s time to get your squash ready for roasting. Using a large, very sharp knife, cut both ends off and then cut in half lengthwise (from top to bottom). Be super careful when cutting the squash and keep your fingers clear of the knife. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds (save these for roasting if it suits your fancy) and use a peeler to remove the thick skin on the outside of the squash.
Pro tip: squash can be damn tricky to cut. If you’d rather not fight your produce, prick the skin with a fork a few times to allow steam to escape and microwave it whole for three minutes (be careful removing). Or if you’re old school, place the squash on a sheet pan and pop into the hot oven for about 20 minutes. Allow it to cool a bit so it’s easy to handle, then peel and chop with ease. Your squash may roast a little faster if you’ve done this, so keep an eye on it.
Cut into cubes. You want your pieces to be uniform enough so everything roasts evenly and small enough to fill the tacos without overstuffing. We like ½-inch cubes.
Place the cubes into a mixing bowl and add your dressing and black pepper. Stir to coat all the squash.
Transfer to your baking sheet and spread out so that the squash is in a single layer. If there’s no room for you to spread the squash out, you may want to use two pans so air can circulate around the squash better. If the cubes are too close together, they’ll steam rather than roast and we won’t get any yummy caramelization.
Roast for 20 minutes, then give everything a stir and, if you’re using two pans, switch their positions. Roast for an additional 10–15 minutes. You want the squash to be fork-tender and nicely browned.
While your squash is roasting, prepare your other taco ingredients.
Dice your avocado, chop your lettuce and cilantro, slice your limes, and heat up the pinto beans (these can be rinsed and warmed right from the can). If you’re making fresh salsa, get that together.
Once the squash is ready, toast your tortillas by placing them in your toaster, toaster oven, or oven for about one minute (any temperature is fine since we’re removing them fast, but if your oven is very hot, keep an eye on them). Alternatively, you can heat them in the microwave by putting on a microwave-safe plate with another plate placed upside down on top. Microwave for about 45 seconds. You want them warm and flexible, but not too crispy or they’ll become brittle.
Smash some avocado onto your tortillas with a fork and top with some lettuce. Add a spoonful of your beans, then some squash, salsa, and a bit of cilantro. Squeeze a little lime on top and/or drizzle with more Lemon Tahini Dressing. Plate your Oil-Free Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos up and bask in the compliments and requests for seconds.
Enjoy any time
One fun way to serve these is to do a taco bar. Set out all the ingredients and let everyone build their own perfect tacos. There may be more dirty dishes, but everyone will enjoy themselves so much you won’t mind. Better yet, assign dish duty to someone else. 😉
We love eating these babies for breakfast. Yes, you read that right. You’ll be full, satisfied, and energized all morning long. They’re even yummy when eaten cold. If you roast the squash on Sunday, it will keep in your fridge all week, and whipping these suckers up will be super quick. Weeknight dinner win!
Store leftover squash in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
For the squash
- 3 cups butternut squash, cubed (430 g)
- ¼ cup Lemon Tahini Dressing (linked below)
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper (about 5 turns)
For the tacos (these measurements are guidelines, adjust to your liking)
- corn or sprouted corn tortillas (how many will depend on the size of the tortilla and how full your tacos are, but 7–10 is a good range)
- 2 medium avocados, diced (300 g)
- 3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped (140 g)
- 3 cups canned pinto beans, drained, rinsed, and warmed up (450 g)
- 1 cup fresh or jarred salsa
- ¼ cup cilantro, minced (optional / 5 g)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
Roast the squash
- Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or silicone baking mat(s).
- Make the Lemon Tahini Dressing and set aside for now.
- Cut both ends off the squash, then cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and remove the peel with a sharp knife or peeler. Be SUPER careful when you do this. When all of the peel is removed, cut the squash into ½-inch cubes.
- Place the squash into a mixing bowl, add the Lemon Tahini Dressing and black pepper, and stir to coat all the pieces.
- Transfer the squash to the baking sheet(s) and spread out in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes then flip all the pieces over and bake for an additional 10–15 minutes, until the squash is tender and golden brown.
Now assemble your tacos
- First, warm your tortillas by popping them into your toaster / toaster oven / oven for about 1 minute, or you can place the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and place another plate (upside down) on top, and microwave for about 45 seconds. Either method will make them warm and flexible, but not crispy.
- Smash some avocado onto your tortillas and top with a handful of lettuce. Add a spoonful of pinto beans, followed by some roasted squash, salsa, and cilantro, if using.
- Squeeze a little lime juice and/or extra Lemon Tahini Dressing over the tacos and serve up some plant powered joy!
Have you tried these Oil-Free Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos? Are they your new favorite breakfast? Let us know in the comments below.
May all your meals be crowd-pleasers.
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Molly’s tips for setting up a crowd-pleasing taco bar
Note: this recipe originally appeared on our blog back in 2015. Molly loves these tacos for breakfast! Read Plant Based Breakfast Basics: 8 Helpful Tips to see why eating leftovers for breakfast is a complete game-changer!
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