TGIT and black bean butternut squash tacos

black bean and butternut squash tacos

Thursday may be the new Friday here but that’s only because the four-day week feels like a six-day one, filled to the brim with problem sets, labs, and papers. Did I mention that it was my first midterms week?

Five thirty never felt so good, and as I left my last class yesterday I had the irresistible urge to come home to my nice upper-west side apartment building for a nice long unwind with a glass of red wine, a new recipe from the food network, my cat, and a foot massage from the loving husband.

 Instead, I waited 20 minutes for the elevator to reach the fifteenth floor (where my dorm room is), as each person insisted on getting off every other floor, climbed up two flights of stairs, and collapsed (finally!) on the dingy floor, sans wine, boyfriend (ha, ha), and most tragically of all, sans cat. And so I made the best of things, packing my reusable grocery totes and walking 3 blocks to the nearest supermarket, lugging a butternut squash back to the dorm and hijacking my friend’s suite kitchen. Because even if I am only a stressed-out 18 year-old, at the very least I can have some black bean and butternut squash tacos.

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Tacos

Makes: 4 servings

Adapted from foodnetwork.com

  • 1 can refried black beans
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt (approx 1 t), pepper (approx ½ t)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 soft corn tortillas
  • sour cream for serving (for vegan recipe, simply use soy sour cream or omit)

Warm the refried beans gently over low heat. Cut the butternut squash in half crosswise at the narrowest point. Cut each half in half again lengthwise. Peel each section with a vegetable peeler or a flexible sharp knife. Use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds and strings. Cut into 1/2- inch dice. Heat large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add olive oil. When it smokes, add squash cubes and toss well. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, cumin and black pepper. Sauté over high heat, tossing frequently, until browned outside and tender but not mushy inside, about 10 minutes.

To serve, heat tortillas until soft and warm. Assemble tacos by spooning in black beans, topping with sautéed squash and sour cream. Roll up and serve 2 per person.

black bean and butternut squash tacos

Notes:

This recipe lived up to its promise—it was indeed simple, although cooking the squash takes a little time (not as much as I imagined, but it’s not an instant meal). And there’s something inherently therapeutic about sautéing warm sizzling squash, inhaling the spicy perfume.

Overall I would call it an interesting and tasty combo, although I will admit the flavor wasn’t mind-blowing (but the browned butternut was delicious!). Perhaps squash needs a sweeter compliment?

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