My babe and I took this weekend as an extra long one to go for an adventure in Seattle, where we had so many wonderful meals out (most of which involved chopsticks). Some of our favorites were a sushi omakase (chef's choice coursed meal) at the sustainable sushi house Mashiko and a meal of amazing house-made soba noodles at Miyabi 45th. I'd highly recommend visiting those spots if you ever find yourself on your own Seattle adventure!
Amazing meals aside, we're both always itching to get back in our own kitchen after being on vacation where we're eating out on a regular basis. Babe made some AMAZING tempeh green curry as his first foray back in the kitchen, and I spent the better part of a day slowly working through the creation of this recipe while taking advantage of long cooking times to get some housework done.
Now, for the tacos!
Tacos are pure heaven in my mind, and they grace our table on a rather regular basis as they can be a quick affair. While often the answer to what we put inside of our tacos is based simply on the status of what we can find in the fridge (there is always something that can be taco-i-fied in the fridge), these black bean and squash tacos are totally worth planning for!
Black beans and squash are a match made in heaven, so when spiced to be paired together there isn't much that could possibly go wrong. The instructions for this recipe have you start with dry beans, and cook them with spices to ensure they're extra flavorful. That said, I understand completely that we don't always have the time to start from dry beans (or we don't plan that far ahead), so I've included an alternative note at the end with instructions for making these tacos with canned beans. Follow those instructions and you'll have dinner on the table in one hour flat with very little hands-on work!
This recipe can be made totally vegan, vegetarian, or (as I prefer it) with some bacon grease depending on your diet and what you have on hand. As written, you'll have dinner for two, but the recipe can be doubled, tripled, or more if you want to serve more or have left overs. You can even just use one larger squash rather than lots of delicatas in that case!
1 cup dry black beans
1 Tbsp Better than Bouillon (or other bullion cubes)
1 big pinches dry rubbed sage
1 bay leaf
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 delicata squash, cut to 1/2 inch cubes (you can peel the squash or leave the skin on. the more mature the squash, the tougher the skin is going to be when it comes out of the oven).
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground chipotle
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt & pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a medium onion, cut to a small dice
1 Tbsp bacon grease or butter (or oil if you're vegan)
fresh masa for homemade tortillas, or corn tortillas
cilantro, lime, and grated cheese for garnish
- First, you'll want to soak your beans. You can cover them in cold water and let soak overnight or for at least 8 hours, or you can cover them with boiling water and let them soak about 1 hour. Either way, make sure to add about 1 tsp of salt to the water.
- Strain and rinse soaked beans, then put in a medium pot along with bouillon, sage, bay leaf, cumin seeds, and some salt and pepper. Cover the beans and spices with water at least 2 inches above the beans then place over medium high heat. Give the bullion a stir using a fork to help break it up a bit. Once the water has come to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let cook for about an hour and a half, until the beans are very soft. Strain excess water and set aside until you're ready to cook the meal (this can be done days ahead of time!).
- About an hour before you want to eat, toss the squash cubes with olive oil, paprika, chipotle, cayenne, and a little salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the squash is soft and lightly browned on the edges.
- Heat a medium pan over medium heat, adding bacon grease/butter/oil when the pan is hot. Sautee onions and garlic in the oil until they're translucent and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Then add the cooked beans and 1/2 cup of water. Let simmer to reheat the beans, then use the back of a spoon to smash the beans to your desired consistency. I just like to smash some of them, but if you're into smooth refried beans you can even puree the beans to a smooth texture!
- Now, we're ready to assemble! If you're making homemade tortillas, cook based on the package's instructions. If you're using store-bought tortillas, warm them up in the oven wrapped in foil or in the microwave wrapped in a towel.
- Top each tortilla with a scoop of beans, some squash, cilantro, cheese, and a squeeze of lime juice!
Canned Beans Alternative!
Lets be honest... sometimes you just don't plan ahead to actually cook your own beans. I like to keep canned black beans and chickpeas on hand for those days when I'm craving beans but don't have any cooked or the time to cook them! Here's how to make delicious beans without cooking them yourself!
Skip the bean cooking step, and just add 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, and 1 pinch of sage when the onions and garlic are cooked. Stir briefly until it starts to smell delicious (about 20 seconds), then add your canned beans and the water. Follow the rest of the instructions as is. Super easy and super fast!