Squash Tacos with Pumpkin Seed Pesto / by lee tilghman

Vegan. Fall. Harvest. Tacos. Yes. You heard it here first.  These are the earthiest, tastiest, heartiest tacos I've ever made, or even tasted for that matter. The combination of roasted fennel, squash, oyster mushrooms and grilled kale make this for a really special, heart-warming lunch, dinner, or afternoon snack.

Serves 3 people

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3 cups oyster mushrooms
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup butternut squash
  • 2 heads of fennel
  • 1/3 avocado
  • Corn tortillas

Instructions:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel your butternut squash, cut lengthwise, scoop out seeds and cut into 1" cubes. Toss in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove garlic, salt + pepper to taste and place in oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
  3. Chop the tops of your fennel, slice diagonally and toss in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Place in a oven-safe glass baking dish and roast for 40 minutes, until brown at the edges and tender to the touch.
  4. Strip kale leaf from the stems and cut into large 3" chunks. Place in a bowl and add 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Place onto a baking pan and roast for 5-10 minutes, until a bit crunchy. 
  5. Wash your oyster mushrooms until running cold water. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat. Add your mushrooms, 1 clove garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Watch carefully- you want to crisp these mushrooms so that they are golden brown, but not burnt! Cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. While your veggies are roasting, make your Pumpkin Seed Pesto (recipe below)
  7. Lay out your corn tortillas. Add a tbsp of pumpkin seed pesto to each tortilla. Then add kale, fennel, oyster mushrooms, butternut squash, avocado, and green onions. Garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot.
  2. Add pumpkin seeds with salt and pepper to taste, stirring constantly, until seeds are puffed and beginning to pop (some will brown, but do not let all of them), should take you roughly 4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and cool completely.
  4. Pulse seed mixture in a food processor with water, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 4 tablespoons oil until mixture forms a coarse paste (not finely ground). Transfer to a bowl and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Keep covered in fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze remainders, if you have any!