I’m big on tacos. I mean, pretty much I haven’t met a taco I haven’t liked. But I also know that a few things — tasty toppings, quality tortillas, really amazing salsas — can make a taco stellar.
On a taco-eating trip to Baja California, I veered away from tacos and became completely obsessed with the tostadas at La Guerrerense (especially the octopus ones). And every tostada was even better when topped with their toasted chile and peanut salsa that was spicy, smoky, crunchy — pretty much it was instant love.
Since then, I reverse engineered that salsa and put it on everything from grilled chicken to seafood and, most recently, on this Squash Tacos with Chile Peanut Salsa recipe.
Squash Tacos with Chile Peanut Salsa Recipe
- 1 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) butternut squash peeled, seeded, and small dice
- 1 medium red onion divided, half finely chopped and the other half cut into wedges
- 8 garlic cloves divided
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for coating the squash
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano plus a pinch for the squash
- Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 dried chile de arbol stemmed (seeds removed if you want it less spicy)
- 1 dried guajillo chile stemmed (seeds removed if you want it less spicy)
- 1 cup roasted salted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or piloncillo sugar
- 8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
- Finely chopped green onions (aka scallions) for garnish
- Limes for garnish
- Roast The Squash: Heat oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine squash, the diced onion, 4 garlic cloves, a pinch of the oregano, a drizzle of oil, pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and toss to combine. Roast, turning occasionally, until squash is knife tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. If desired, toss the squash with green onions before serving.
- Make The Chile Peanut Salsa: Heat a small pan over medium heat and add the chiles. Toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil. When chiles are ready, place chiles in a bowl then cover with 1/2 cup boiling water and set aside while you make the rest of the salsa, at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add peanuts, sesame seeds, 4 garlic cloves, and onion wedges, and cook, stirring, until onions are soft and sesame seeds are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, and transfer to a food processor; let cool to room temperature. Reserve chile-soaking water and set aside. Add chiles, vinegar, oregano, and salt, to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add honey, a pinch of salt, and water as needed until the consistency is the same as yogurt. FYI, the salsa will be looser when it's hot but it will firm up once it cools down. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature.
- Serve The Tacos: To make tacos, fill tortillas with roasted squash, a spoonful of salsa, a pinch of green onion (if desired), and a squeeze of lime and serve.