Sunday, February 7, 2016

45. Spaghetti Squash Tacos with Rajas


I have been trying to think of vegetarian taco fillings that are quite different from anything I've tried yet.  With over 50 recipes left to go for this project, I'm trying not to do any close repeats!  I got the idea for this taco from a dinner fundraiser that we attended a few weeks ago.  There were three entree choices - chicken, beef, and vegetarian.  At events where dinner is served on a large scale at one time, I find that sometimes the vegetarian options tend to be better - maybe because there are fewer of them prepared?  I don't know . . . maybe that's just my personal experience!

Anyway, the vegetarian option was stuffed spaghetti squash.  It sounds pretty good, right?  Well, it was all right.  It was stuffed with a dry-ish Mexican rice concoction.  I thought it could have been much more inventive.  However, it made me remember spaghetti squash!

I decided to go with a lightly seasoned spaghetti squash mixture topped with rajas, a creamy roasted chile concoction that is decadent and delicious!  I decided that this taco also needed some crunch.  I wanted to top it with toasted pumpkin seeds, but our local grocery store was out, so I used toasted almonds.  Either would work!

Here's the recipe:

Spaghetti Squash Tacos with Rajas

Serves 4 to 6 (about 8 to 12 tacos with extra squash)


For the squash:

One 3 to 4 lb. spaghetti squash

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

For the rajas:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into strips

Here are my peppers . . . pre-roast!  :)
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. whipping cream
1/3 cup finely grated cheese (pepper jack or cheddar)

I used the same pepper-laced cheese that I used in recipe 44..
1/4 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted

12-24 corn tortillas, depending on their size and whether you plan to double them up


1.  Start the squash mixture:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Poke several holes in the spaghetti squash with a small sharp knife.  Place the squash on a baking sheet.  Bake for about an hour or so (or until easily pierced with a fork).  Remove from the oven and set aside.  Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  Slice lengthwise down the middle.  Using a fork, remove the squash "strings" from the shell and place in a medium bowl.

2.  Finish the squash mixture:  Heat the oil and butter in a small skillet over low heat.  Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.  Add the cumin and chile powder.  Stir and remove from the heat.  Pour the mixture over the spaghetti squash, along with the salt.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.

3.  Make the rajas:  Heat the oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and lower the heat a bit.  Cook until they are soft and somewhat browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the chile strips and corn and stir to combine.  Add the cream and bring to a gentle simmer.

Add the cheese and continue to cook and stir until the mixture is thick and bubbly, about two to three minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Keep warm. 

4.  Prepare the tortillas to your liking:  There are a few different ways you can do this.  When I am making tacos with soft corn tortillas, I heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  I place a large sheet of aluminum foil near the pan.  I heat each tortilla in the skillet for about a minute or so on each side, or until it softens and begins to brown.

After each one is done, I place it on the foil and immediately start the next one.  I stack them on top of one another as I work.  When I'm done with the whole batch, I wrap them completely in the foil and place them in a 250 degree oven until I'm ready to assemble the tacos.  They always stay hot and soft!  If there are leftovers, I heat fresh tortillas for the next meal.  

5.  Gently reheat the spaghetti squash mixture:  I put mine in the microwave for a minute or two.  Once it is hot, add the cilantro and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  

6.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  (You can double them up if your tortillas are very thin.)  Spoon some of the spaghetti squash mixture down the center of the tortillas.  Spoon on some of the rajas mixture.  Garnish with toasted almonds and a sprinkle of ancho chile powder.  Enjoy!

I was really happy with these!  I almost thought they would be TOO decadent with the buttery spaghetti squash and the creamy rajas.  I wouldn't exactly call them low fat or anything, but they weren't over the top.  They were flavorful, interesting, and delicious.  Steve was impressed - he's the type of person that might not be thrilled by the prospect of spaghetti squash tacos, but he said they were some of the most unique I have made so far.  In a good way, I think!  :)

My spaghetti squash was about 3.4 pounds.  There was (and probably will be if you make this) leftover squash mixture, but I think it would be great as a side dish - just reheat! 

There's really not much I would change about these - if you're in the mood for something vegetarian, go for it!  

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Did you try them?  What did you think?  What should I make next?

Thanks for reading!

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