Butternut Squash, Kale, and Crunchy Pepitas Tacos

Source: Telmo Faria, Tacolicious

Recipe Type: | Seasons: ,

This recipe was demonstrated by Tacolicious chef Telmo Faria for CUESA’s Market to Table program on December 6, 2014.

Serves 4 to 6


Cashew Crema
⅔ cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed (from about 3 limes)
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Pumpkin Seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
⅓ cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups butternut squash, ½-inch-dice
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 cups kale, finely chopped

Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
Garnishes: chopped white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and salsa of choice (optional)


1.    To make the crema, soak the raw cashews in room-temperature water and cover for at least 1 hour. Drain and reserve.

2.    Toast the cumin in a small, dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder (or coffee grinder), and grind finely.

3.    In a blender, combine the cashews, cumin, lime juice, water, and salt. Start the blender on the lowest speed and gradually increase to the highest speed. Blend for at least 1 minute, until it has a creamy consistency. Pour into a serving bowl and set aside.

4.    To prepare the pumpkin seeds, heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pumpkin seeds and sauté for about 2 minutes, taking care that they do not burn. The seeds will begin to puff up and pop. Once they appear toasted, immediately pour them into a bowl. Toss with the cayenne and salt and set aside.

5.    To make the filling, heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the squash and sauté for 6 to 7 minutes, just until the squash starts to soften. Season with the chile powder and salt.

6.    Add the kale and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, until it begins to wilt. Remove from the heat, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed.

7.    To assemble each taco, invite guests to spoon about ½ cup of the warm filling into a tortilla and top with some crema and pumpkin seeds. If guests want more toppings, they can finish off their tacos with onion, cilantro, and salsa.

Reprinted with permission from Tacolicious, by Sara Deseran with Joe Hargrave, Telmo Faria, and Mike Barrow, copyright © 2014, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Photograph copyright © 2014 by Alex Farnum.

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