Tacooooos! Call me crazy but I wasn't a huge fan of tacos until several years ago. I was always a burrito and nacho girl but now my taste buds have expanded and I can fully appreciate tacos. Recently I had the opportunity to visit Guerilla Tacos in Los Angeles. Yes, I'll admit, I wanted to visit because of the "The Chef" show on Netflix. Their signature sweet potato tacos just looked so unique and delicious. I had to try it. I will say, the tacos were delicious but it was essentially just steamed sweet potato with a good salsa. Inspired by their vegetarian taco, I decided to make my own version using butternut squash. Here are roasted butternut squash tacos with halloumi, pickled onions, roasted pasilla peppers, and a pine nut salsa verde. Dare I say, I think these are even better than Guerilla Tacos.
Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos with Halloumi
- 1 red onion finely sliced
- ½ cup boiling water
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoon chives chopped
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 3 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ cup pine nuts toasted
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 8 ounces halloumi sliced
- 2 pasilla peppers sliced
- 8 tortillas
- Make the pickled onions. Combine ½ cup boiling water with ½ cup distilled white vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over the sliced red onions in a medium bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss together the sliced butternut squash with 2 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, and ½ teaspoon oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, flip and roast for another 10 minutes or until tender. Keep warm.
- Make the salsa verde. Combine all of the ingredients together including ½ cup chopped cilantro, ½ cup chopped parsley, 2 tablespoon chives, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 3 tablespoon lime juice, ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, 1 tablespoon garlic, and 1 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Cook the halloumi until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm. In the same pan, saute the sliced pasilla peppers until charred, about 4 minutes.
- Wipe the pan clean and heat the tortillas until softened.
- Assemble the tacos. Fill the tortillas with the roasted butternut squash, halloumi, charred pasilla peppers, pickled onions, and salsa verde. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
These roasted butternut squash tacos with halloumi are not your typical tacos. There's no meat, no shredded Mexican cheese, no guacamole. But don't let that deter you from trying them! I promise you, they are still delicious in every way.
Let's start with the main component, the roasted butternut squash. Peeling and slicing squash can be a pain in the butt so to make it easier, I like to microwave it for just a couple of minutes. Wrap the squash in clean kitchen towels and microwave for 4-5 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. This will par-cook the vegetable and make it easier to peel and cut. You can also steam it for about 10 minutes. Roast the squash with a blend of spices including chili powder, paprika, cumin, and oregano, flipping halfway through to get both sides caramelized.
Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. We're skipping the traditional tomato salsas and going with a fresh and vibrant salsa verde with pine nuts instead. Hand chop the herbs or use a food processor and combine them with lime juice, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. You can make the salsa verde the day before.
Pickle some onions, pan-fry the halloumi, and saute some pasilla peppers and you're ready to assemble the tacos. I always use corn tortillas but flour tortillas would also work.
Before I showed my husband the meal, I told him I was going to make vegetarian tacos for dinner. Now he is a huge fan of Mexican food and loves his meat tacos. So when I told him that they were going to be vegetarian, he was a little disappointed. However, as soon as he took a bite into these roasted butternut squash tacos with halloumi, he was a changed man. Let me tell you, these are the ultimate vegetarian tacos. I truly loved every component from the salty cheese to the savory squash to the bright salsa to the sour pickles. Meat tacos who?
For more taco inspiration check out these crispy shrimp tacos!