Roasted Squash Tacos with Pomegranate & Chili Almonds

Serves 2

Who says routine has to be boring? Following a relaxing staycation here in the city we’re mid-way through the week, back at work as if we never left (I say this with utmost affection, honest). While I do love the holiday season, by the time the New Year rolls around I’m happy to get back into daily routine. Today’s post is perfectly suited, as it is a staple in our weeknight dinner repertoire.

We probably eat tacos, of one form or another, once a week. For this reason, I’d wager to guess this might be the first of several taco posts to come on the site. They are most often filled with an assortment of roasted veggies, or whatever else needs to be used up in our fridge. They are always accompanied by a healthy serving of fresh guacamole, a staple in our home.

Tacos are perfect for a weeknight supper because they are quick and rarely require an after work trip to the grocery store – provided you keep taco shells on hand. I also think we make them so often because 1) if you make the guacamole first (and make a little extra) you can snack on it while you prep the rest of the meal; and 2) leftover roasted veggies and nuts can quickly be transformed into a healthy, satisfying lunch for work the next day: toss with greens or cooked grains, a splash of fresh lime juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. Instant salad.

You can be flexible with this recipe. Feel free to substitute ingredients for what’s in your own fridge. Prepare the guacamole, almonds, and any other toppings while the veggies roast and you’ll be surprised how quickly this makes it to the table.

Happy 2015 everyone!

Ingredients

  • 1 each, zucchini, delicata squash, and red onion (all medium size)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • pinch sea salt
  • 8 small soft white corn taco shells (or your preference)
  • ½ cup grated aged cheddar or asiago cheese (omit for vegan option)
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds (for a quick method to extract seeds, check out this post)
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Chili toasted almonds (recipe below)
  • Guacamole (your favourite, or recipe below)
  • 2 thick slices of lime

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Slice the delicata squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds*. Cut the delicata, as well as the onion and zucchini into about a ¾ inch dice.

Leaving the zucchini aside, place delicata and red onion in a medium roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, ground cumin and coriander, chili flakes, and a pinch of salt.  Place in the preheated oven to roast for about 12 minutes.

After the 12 minutes remove pan from the oven and stir in zucchini. Return to the oven and continue to roast, another 10-20 minutes, until veggies are cooked through and begin to colour. The onion should be soft and caramelized, the zucchini golden, and the delicata edges will be slightly crisp and brown.

At the same time you return the veggies to the oven to finish cooking, place the taco shells in an oven-proof pan (a small cast-iron works well) with a tightly fitting lid. The lid ensures the shells won’t dry out. You can alternatively wrap them in foil. Place in the oven to warm through, about 10 minutes.

While the veggies roast, remove seeds from pomegranate, grate cheese (if using), chop cilantro, and prepare guacamole and almonds per instructions below.

When the vegetables are finished, and the taco shells are warm, remove from the oven. Divide the taco shells among two plates (four each), with two taco shells stacked on top of one another so that each plate has two double tacos. Doubling them will help to keep the contents together once filled.

Divide vegetables among the tacos, sprinkle with cheese if using, cilantro, pomegranate seeds, and roasted chili almonds. Garnish with a slice of lime and serve with guacamole.

As mentioned above, toss leftover taco fillings with greens or cooked grains for a salad lunch the next day.

 *Note: delicate squash is great because the skin isn’t tough and it has a mild flavour, qualities that make it not only edible, but palatable.  Squash with edible skin reduces prep time and provides added fibre.

Chili Roasted Almonds

  • ½ cup sliced, natural almonds
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp Mexican chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp each, hot smoked paprika and garlic powder
  • Pinch of sea salt

Place almonds in a medium cast iron pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and watch for colour to develop on the almonds. They should be golden brown within a few minutes, so watch carefully to ensure they don’t burn. Once golden, remove from heat and stir in olive oil, along with spices. Finally sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Feel free to adjust seasonings to meet your preference. Stir well to coat and set aside until ready to serve.

Guacamole

  • This is great for using up avocados that are almost too far gone.
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • ½ chopped fresh jalapeno, or a pinch of dried chili flakes (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp finely minced red onion (optional)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • Sea salt to taste

Mash all ingredients together in a medium bowl, or pulse in a food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve.