While all tacos generally come in the same shapes and sizes, the same can’t be said of their ingredients. Tacos are simply one of the most versatile foods around. Few dishes are as accommodating to fusion-style experimentation as a plate of tacos. The one thing that unites all tacos, however, is the tortillas they’re wrapped in, and even those have seen countless variations.
Michelle, a resident at AMLI 2121, created a version of this recipe that truly showcases the versatility of the dish, including a whole lot of fall flair. Forgoing meat altogether, Michelle instead here relies on a hearty helping of butternut squash and black beans to provide the protein. Couple that with hefty tablespoon of brown sugar, and you’ve got a nice fall flavor permeating throughout. Feel free to use what tortillas you wish with this recipe, but we recommend the hibiscus tortillas Michelle used for a little variety.
This recipe was submitted as part of AMLI’s annual fall social media contest. Enter this year’s fall social media contest, My AMLI View, by submitting the best view photo from in or around your AMLI community. Be quick! Entries stop being collected this Friday, Oct. 20.
Michelle won a gift card to Williams-Sonoma. Other winners received gift cards to Blue Apron and two grand-prize winners received a dinner party with a private chef and up to 10 of their friends. Find the winning recipe below, along with a short interview with Michelle.
Michelle’s Sweet & Spicy Butternut Squash Tacos
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes (or store-bought pre-cut)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. ground cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1½ T brown sugar
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus a bit more to drizzle on the roasting pan
8 hibiscus corn tortillas (blue, yellow, or white corn tortillas would work just as well)
1 cup black beans, drained and washed
½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
1 pomegranate, deseeded
1 lime, cut into wedges
Interview with the cook
1. How many days of the week do you typically cook?
I cook at least three times a week and usually plan to make enough to have leftovers for the next day. It’s so much easier to eat healthy food when you cook at home!
2. Who do you usually cook for?
I cook for myself and my boyfriend, who also lives at AMLI 2121. He’s new to cooking but has affectionately become known as my sous-chef.
3. What was the inspiration for your AMLI EATS recipe? Is there a story behind it?
My recipe was inspired by my local Texas culture—Houston cuisine has a lot of Hispanic influences and tacos are a natural favorite (especially when they have a spicy kick). I also visited Mexico City earlier this year and wanted to incorporate some of the flavors I was introduced to there (that’s where I got the idea to top my tacos with pomegranate seeds!).
4. What is your favorite cuisine to cook? Why?
I don’t really have a favorite type of cuisine to cook because I like to be constantly trying new things from different cultures. Mexican, Greek, Indian, Italian, French…you name it! Since I also love traveling, trying foods from other countries is a great way to “visit new places” without buying a plane ticket.
5. Where do you shop for ingredients? Are there any local stores that have great deals, produce, or other items you use to cook?
My favorite places to shop are HEB and Central Market. Both have delicious fresh produce and their bulk ingredients sections are perfect for when I don’t want to buy a full container of a unique spice I will likely only use once.
6. What is the one thing you couldn’t do without in your kitchen?
My bottle of olive oil is essential—I use it in nearly everything I cook. It lives on my kitchen counter right next to the stove and has an easy-pour spout for quick access.
7. What’s the best part about cooking at your AMLI apartment?
The main reason I chose to move to AMLI 2121 was for the kitchen space. Cooking is a lot more enjoyable with my big island where I have plenty of room to spread out!