Recipes

Fall Farmers’ Market Tacos

Cara Mangini

The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini

We all love tacos—let’s face it. There is a childlike excitement that comes with strategizing their assembly. For the cook, I think there’s even more fun in determining which fillings and toppings will make the cut for the table (the more toppings, the better). Your entire family can enjoy shopping at the farmers’ market for ingredients, depending on the season. In the summer, I use zucchini, corn, and red potatoes with toppings like radishes and Tomato and Peach Salsa. In the fall, I turn to sweet potatoes, thin-skinned delicata squash, and the last of the season’s peppers, topped with queso fresco and finely sliced cabbage. Guacamole and a tomatillo salsa will enhance almost any filling you can dream up. For sides, black beans, along with rice or quinoa, do the job. Best of all, taco leftovers rival the real thing—highly anticipated the whole next day.

Ingredients

Tacos

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 dried chipotle (stemmed) or chipotle in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1 large delicata squash (about 1 pound), cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 poblano, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Generous handful of fresh cilantro leaves and thin stems, coarsely chopped
  • Small flour and/or corn tortillas, warmed
  • Black Beans with Lime (optional)

Toppings

  • 1/2 small red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Freshly crumbled queso fresco, feta, or goat cheese
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Classic Guacamole or sliced avocado
  • Roasted Tomatillo Salsa or store-bought salsa verde or roasted tomato salsa

Method

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the chipotle. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it burn. Add the squash, sweet potato, ½ teaspoon of salt, cumin, and 3/4 cup of water. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes and squash begin to soften, about 6 minutes.

Add the onion and poblano and season them with another 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and browned on the edges, 6 to 8 minutes more. Add the lime juice and cook, stirring, until it is fully incorporated, 1 minute. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the chopped cilantro.

Serve with the warm tortillas, Black Beans with Lime, if using, and a selection of toppings.

Notes: Use 2 dried chipotles or chipotles in adobo if you like extra heat.

You can substitute peeled and diced kabocha for the delicata squash. Butternut squash also works but it will take a bit longer to cook, so sauté it for a few minutes before adding the sweet potato and water.

Throw end-of-the-season cherry tomatoes into the skillet toward the end of cooking and allow them to blister and burst. It makes for a quick kind of on-the-spot salsa.

Excerpted  from The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Matthew Benson.

Yield

Serves 3 to 5