The change of seasons is a strange time in food blogging circles. Right now the Southern folk like me in Australia are starting to feel the first brisk mornings and cooler evenings of Autumn and beginning to pull out slow cookers and gaze at recipes for pie, baked vegetables, scones etc. Meanwhile our friends in the Northern hemisphere are warming up – casting off winter coats and starting to cook tacos, salads, things with coconut and citrus and spice. It’s a bit disconcerting when you read food blogs pretty much every day for food inspiration and see pie recipes intermingled with radish salads, or hot cups of cacao followed by mint-sprigged cocktails!
This recipe for spaghetti squash tacos however, almost feels like it jumps the hemispherical divide. It’s a taco, with all the summery freshness of black beans, coriander and lime, but it has roasted squash in it! I don’t generally fire up the oven in summer so anything roasted feels like cooler weather eating to me. I picked up a spaghetti squash at a recent food swap and wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it. Enter Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos! I LOVE Smitten Kitchen. My girl got me the Smitten Kitchen cookbook for Christmas and I spent all day Boxing Day reading it like it was a novel. I also love Mexican food. So putting the two together seems like a match pretty much made in heaven.
Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos – adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 large spaghetti squash
Juice of one lime
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves (the original recipe uses 1/2 tsp of ground coriander)
1/2 tsp of coarse salt
425gm black beans, cooked, rinsed and drained very well
100 gms Bulgarian fetta (the original calls for Queso Fresca or Cotija cheese which I couldn’t find)
1/4 cup finely diced red or white onion
to finish: Hot sauce, lime wedges.
The recipe seemed pretty straightforward until I tried to cut the spaghetti squash. These things are HARD! Like two girls with their sharpest Global kitchen knife’s worth of effort to cut open hard! At one point we even turned to Google to see if we were doing something wrong and found a multitude of posts about trying to cut open hard spaghetti squash. Reassured, we persevered and got it open. The trick is to get your knife through to the middle of the squash and then lever it up and down, gradually turning the squash until you have cut all the way around. Similar method to cutting a REALLY hard pumpkin. When you have it open, scoop out the seeds and place in an oiled baking dish. Roast for 40 minutes in a 190 degree oven.
Once the squash is cooked, scrape it with a fork to create the spaghetti like strands. If you overcook it, the squash will be softer and less spaghetti like. Don’t stress if this happens – I was talking to a friend while I cooked this and overcooked mine a little, and it was still good! Whisk together the lime juice, chilli, cumin, salt, and coriander. Pour over the squash and mix together, adjusting for seasoning to your taste.
If your squash is a little “wet”, drain briefly after the flavours have had time to meld to remove the extra liquid. This will avoid the dreaded soggy taco! Serve the squash with diced onion, black beans, and crumbled or diced fetta and fold into freshly cooked corn tortillas. Add hot sauce and lime to taste!