Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos

spaghetti squash tacos // chattavore

My first experience with spaghetti squash was many, many years ago.  I had been watching a short-lived series on Food Network called The Calorie Commando, where chef Juan Carlos Cruz, whom I had watched on a weight-loss competition show on TLC or Discovery-long before the days of The Biggest Loser-would make over your favorite recipes to make them “light”. (As a side note, Cruz was sentenced in 2010 to prison time for putting out a hit on his wife….so you won’t find any evidence of him on the Food Network website.  It has been wiped clean of all traces of this man.).

So anyway, ol’ Juan Carlos has a viewer who wrote in about their addiction to pasta.  So what did he do?  Well, he made spaghetti squash and meatballs (turkey meatballs, probably).  I remember being intrigued, so I bought a spaghetti squash and tried it, leaving out the meatballs.  Naturally, Philip and I were starving half an hour after eating our bowl of squash “noodles” topped with marinara and cheese.  And this, my friends, is when I decided that I was not into the whole “Oh, eat this [completely different food item] and just pretend it’s something else” deal.  Spaghetti squash is not spaghetti.

spaghetti squash tacos // chattavore

Still, spaghetti squash is good, so as long as I’m not closing my eyes and attempting to fool my brain into thinking that I’m twirling up long strands of al dente pasta, I’m perfectly happy to eat it.  When I saw the recipe for spaghetti squash and black bean tacos in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I knew that I would be making those soon….and I did.  And they were fantastic.  You see, anything goes when it comes to tacos, and you don’t have to try to pretend that spaghetti squash is “like” anything else.  It’s just its own person, stuffed in a tortilla with some other good stuff and making you want more.

This recipe is about as simple as recipes get.  Bake the squash, rinse the beans, chop some stuff, heat some tortillas.  I even took a shower while the spaghetti squash was in the oven.  Indeed, the most difficult part of the process was cutting through that blasted rock-hard squash (who wants to buy me a vegetable cleaver?).  Double tortillas are helpful because the sauced squash is a little wetter than your average taco filling, but if you don’t want to go that route just be sure everyone has a fork and you’ll be fine.

Tacos on Chattavore: As much as I make tacos at home, you’d think I’d have more recipes…but I don’t. I’ll have to work on that. There are these chicken teriyaki tacos with egg roll wrappers, and these fish tacos (you’ll have to forgive the photos on these…this is a very early post!).

spaghetti squash tacos // chattavore

Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos

Serves 10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 5 minutes
From book The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1 Large spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds (halved and seeded)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 10-20 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cup very well rinsed and drained black beans (I cooked my own, or you can use one 15-ounce can)
  • 4oz crumbled feta or queso fresco
  • 1/4 cup diced white or red onion (I left this out because raw onions make me cry)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges (optional, for serving)
  • hot sauce-I used sriracha (optional, for serving)
  • sour cream (optional, for serving)

Note

As I mentioned in the post, we like to double up on our tortillas.  If you also like to do this, go with 20 tortillas.  If you'd rather make each taco with just one tortilla, you'll only need 10.  Also, have I told you guys my sour cream trick?  If you put sour cream in a sandwich bag, you can snip off the corner and "pipe" it onto your tacos like icing!

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a sheet pan and place the spaghetti squash halves face-down in the oil. Bake for about 40 minutes.
Step 2
Allow the squash halves to cool until you can handle them (I actually don't let them cool completely, just until I can hold them with a kitchen towel without the heat seeping through the towel). Use a fork to scrape the strands of squash out of the skins and place in a large bowl.
Step 3
Toss the spaghetti squash with the lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt until thoroughly coated.
Step 4
Warm the tortillas (I do this over my open gas flame but you could heat them for about ten minutes wrapped in foil in your 375 oven). Divide the spaghetti squash among the tortillas and top each with two tablespoons of black beans, some crumbled cheese, chopped cilantro, and onion. Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce if desired.

spaghetti squash tacos // chattavore

Comments

  1. Kathy says

    Hmmmm. I HAVE used spaghetti squash as a substitute for “real” spaghetti noodles. As a diabetic, it IS a healthier alternative. (Even though the squash is still a carb option.) But I agree with your post, Dear Chattavore. It is just its OWN PERSON! No need to pretend it is anything else. I zap mine in the microwave; cut in half, de-seeded. A little water in the dish; stack one half slightly on the other; cover with plastic wrap with a corner lifted to breathe; on high for about 15 minutes. This recipe looks fabulous and I look forward to trying it.

    • Chattavore says

      I haven’t tried it in the microwave….as I am sure you have figured out, I tend to love anything dripping in olive oil or butter :) Yes, there’s nothing wrong with using it as a substitute for pasta as long as one does not expect that it’s going to actually mimic pasta in anything but form. I’ve seen it recommended to try spaghetti squash as a sub for a child who would eat nothing but noodles. Really?!?!?! No noodle-loving kid is NOT going to figure that out…but as long as we know that we’re dealing with squash, not pasta, we’re good.

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