Butternut Squash Soft Tacos with Mole-Inspired Chocolate Sauce

First, I’ll apologize for that terrible pun/homage to Wayne’s World. I just couldn’t help myself!

That being said, when presented with butternut squash and chocolate, the first question that popped into my head was, “Well, do I do a sweet or savory dish?” Easily I could have gone either way, and I’d still love to try a chocolate and butternut dessert, but since I’ve done two sweets already I figured I’d challenge myself with something less expected. I immediately thought of my first foray into mole, a Mexican chocolate-based chile sauce, that I attempted this summer. I made a mole rojo (red mole) with pulled chicken, and while it was really good, it took like… 6 hours. It was a little intense. For this, I decided to do a roasted butternut squash taco with a quick-mole… a recipe that I completely made up on the fly and was much faster. If I do say so myself, I think it turned out!

Since mole uses unsweetened chocolate, causing it to have bitter notes, and sesame and pumpkin seeds, giving a toasty nutty flavor, I thought that it would pair very well with the sweet earthiness of the butternut squash. To tie the flavors together, I decided to create an apple cabbage slaw to enhance the sweetness and play off the traditional pairing of winter squash and apples.

Another reason that this recipe was especially exciting to me is that I just love watching butternut squash go from this:

To this:

Mmmmmm roasty goodness.

Warm whole wheat tortillas were a great vessel for all of the sweet, tangy, nutty goodness. Lots of fiber and heart healthy fats make this a dinner I’d have more than once in a blue moon.

Butternut Squash Soft Tacos with Mole-Inspired Chocolate Sauce
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Prep Time: 
Cook Time: 
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Serves: 12
 

Ingredients
Mole-Inspired Chocolate Sauce
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1½ Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 6 oz (1 can) tomato paste
  • 1½ Tbsp jam (I used an agave-sweetened wild berry version)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cabbage Apple Slaw
  • 1 small head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large apple, julienned
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 medium whole wheat flour tortillas
  • Optional: sesame seeds and/or pumpkin seeds to garnish

Instructions
  1. Cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. In a 400F oven, roast the squash for about 45 minutes until it has browned and become soft. Allow to cool before handling.
  2. While the squash is roasting, saute the garlic in ½ Tbsp of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium low heat until it becomes soft and fragrant. Add the sesame and pumpkin seeds and cook until they become toasty, about 5 minutes. Place the garlic and seeds in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pot. Then add the poblano pepper and saute until it begins to brown, about 5 more minutes. Add the tomato paste, vegetable broth, jam, cinnamon, cloves and chili powder. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree the sauce until smooth. Strain the liquid, rinse out the pot, return the sauce to the cleaned pot.
  4. Bring the sauce to a simmer again and stir in the agave nectar. Break the chocolate into the sauce and stir until it has melted.
  5. For the slaw, combine the cabbage and apple in a large bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl to create a vinaigrette. Toss the vinaigrette into the cabbage and apple until evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to use so that all of the flavors meld together.
  6. When the squash is cool enough to handle, peel the skin and slice into pieces about ½ inch thick.
  7. To assemble, warm the tortillas (I did mine in a 250F oven for about 15 minutes). If you like, you can also reheat the squash a bit as well. Place a few pieces of squash in the tortilla, then top with some slaw and a bit of the chocolate sauce. For a little extra crunch, garnish with sesame seeds and/or pumpkin seeds.

Notes
1 taco = 7 Weight Watchers PointsPlus

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 taco Calories: 223.1 Fat: 8.6 Saturated fat: 2.1 Unsaturated fat: 4.3 Carbohydrates: 33.9 Sugar: 7.6 Fiber: 13.3 Protein: 6.1 Cholesterol: 0

 

While the suggestion came from Merri and Dad, so of course I had to make this for them, I also invited over one of the masterminds behind the Munchie Mashups concept, one of my main men, Boone. It made for a great night of good eats and good company, especially since he brought his new puppy, Danny (who has superpowers… or, well is being trained to). All in all, it was an excellent addition to the Munchie Mashups: San Francisco Edition collection. Dad even called them “heavenly.” Awwwwww :)


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