Smitten Kitchen cookbook adventures: redux

(It’s been a while since I posted, though I’ve kept cooking, delightedly, out of the SK cookbook. But these I couldn’t resist.)

Spaghetti squash and black bean tacos with queso fresco

Y’all, if squash tacos are wrong, I don’t want to be right.

I used to be a taco purist. I was raised in New Mexico, which like most US-Mexico border states has its own sub-type of Mexican cuisine, and things other than meat or maybe beans, and some sort of melty cheese, don’t enter into the taco equation. Fish tacos? No. That is crazy talk. California crazy talk.

Even when I started cooking vegetarian tacos, I wanted a mixture that at least looked as much like beef as possible, which is why I like using black lentils in my lentil tacos.

It wasn’t until I moved to San Francisco and then Portland that I became corrupted had my horizons expanded and started eating crazy things like tofu tacos and soy curl tacos. Still, these things attempt to appear like meat. They’re seasoned. They’re meat substitutes. Robo Taco even calls theirs a vegan al pastor, and al pastor is pretty much the most non-vegetarian thing there is.

But then I had potato tacos. Potato? In a taco? And then I went to Austin, where breakfast tacos are a thing (a thing I was and am slightly obsessed with, although for some strange reason I did a terrible job of documenting this obsession), and I had awesome, weird tacos of various sorts.

And then I saw this recipe, and I was hungry for something with squash, and I love squash with black beans (okay, so I have made squash empanadas before, but those aren’t tacos! really they aren’t!) it looked super duper easy to make for lunch tomorrow. And it is. And then I couldn’t resist trying one and I ate it right up without bothering with a plate.

So I might be wrong. But I’m happy there, in Wrong Land. Please don’t come and get me.

In all seriousness, this is an easy recipe and SO GOOD. I skipped out on the cilantro garnish (it’s the middle of winter, there’s no good-looking cilantro around) and chose scallions instead (it’s a double dose of onion, but it works). I used taco seasoning I had on hand instead of adding cumin and coriander to chile powder. I did use canned beans, but this recipe would, I am 99% certain, be about ten times more awesome if only I had access to leftover SK black bean ragout. So you should do that. And I got feta, which is a suggested substitution. No queso fresco at Whole Foods, not a huge surprise. It takes these even a bit farther from the taco classic, but we’re already out here in Wrong Land, so don’t worry, buy some feta. Or goat cheese. Something crumbly and white. And then put some Aardvark on it, like you do.

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