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Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos

with Smoked Spanish Paprika-Lime Sauce

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos with Smoked Spanish Paprika-Lime Sauce

Makes: 2 Servings

Calories: About 700 Per Serving

Squash and spice are a match made in heaven. For these hearty, vegetarian tacos, we added smoked Spanish paprika to the batter and also used it in a tart, smoky dipping sauce. Paprika, though closely associated with cuisines the world over, is made from a chile plant native to the Americas. Peppers were brought back to Spain, flourished there and continued to develop. Today, their lightly spicy flavor is fine and nuanced. We love its smokiness, which complements the savory, slightly sweet flavor of these tempura tacos.

Tips & Techniques

Two Great Ways of Prepping an Avocado

Flavorful with a buttery, creamy texture, avocados are one of our favorite ingredients. Also called "alligator pears" for their rough-looking exteriors, these American natives are popular the world over. You'll find them in guacamole, sushi rolls, and even, in some cultures, as a dessert. Despite their tough look, avocados can be extremely easy to prep. Chef Matt Wadiak will show you two methods in this short video.

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos with Smoked Spanish Paprika-Lime Sauce ingredients
On the Cutting Board
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut the lime into 6 wedges. Pit, peel and slice the avocado; top with the juice of 2 lime wedge over the avocado to prevent browning. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Peel and mince the garlic; smash with the side of your knife until it resembles a paste. Peel and very thinly slice the onion. Halve the squash; scoop out the seeds from the acorn squash; cut the squash lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick wedges.

Make the smoked paprika-lime sauce:
2 Make the smoked paprika-lime sauce:

In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste, mayonnaise, half the smoked paprika and the juice of 2 lime wedges. Stir until well combined; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Coat the squash:
3 Coat the squash:

Place ¼ cup of the rice flour in a medium bowl. Add the squash slices and toss to thoroughly coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the batter:
4 Make the batter:

In a medium bowl, whisk together ¾ cup of water, the remaining rice flour and remaining paprika to create a thin batter; season with salt and pepper. (As the batter stands, it may thicken. You may need to add up to an additional ¼ cup of water to maintain a thin consistency.)

Cook the squash:
5 Cook the squash:

In a large pan, heat a ¼-inch-thick layer of oil on medium-high until hot, but not smoking. (The oil is hot enough when a drop of batter sizzles immediately when added to the pan.) Working in batches, dip the coated squash in the batter (letting any excess drip off). Very carefully add the battered squash to the pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt.

Warm the tortillas & plate your dish:
6 Warm the tortillas & plate your dish:

Working in batches, warm the tortillas in a clean, dry pan on medium for 20 to 30 seconds per side, or until soft and pliable. To plate your dish, make 4 tacos with 2 tortillas layered together for each. Spread a layer of the paprika-lime sauce onto the bottom of each taco. Divide the tempura squash between the tacos. Top each with the avocado and red onion. Crumble the queso fresco over the top. Garnish with the cilantro and remaining lime wedges. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut the lime into 6 wedges. Pit, peel and slice the avocado; top with the juice of 2 lime wedge over the avocado to prevent browning. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Peel and mince the garlic; smash with the side of your knife until it resembles a paste. Peel and very thinly slice the onion. Halve the squash; scoop out the seeds from the acorn squash; cut the squash lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick wedges.

2 Make the smoked paprika-lime sauce:

In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste, mayonnaise, half the smoked paprika and the juice of 2 lime wedges. Stir until well combined; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the smoked paprika-lime sauce:
Coat the squash:
3 Coat the squash:

Place ¼ cup of the rice flour in a medium bowl. Add the squash slices and toss to thoroughly coat. Season with salt and pepper.

4 Make the batter:

In a medium bowl, whisk together ¾ cup of water, the remaining rice flour and remaining paprika to create a thin batter; season with salt and pepper. (As the batter stands, it may thicken. You may need to add up to an additional ¼ cup of water to maintain a thin consistency.)

Make the batter:
Cook the squash:
5 Cook the squash:

In a large pan, heat a ¼-inch-thick layer of oil on medium-high until hot, but not smoking. (The oil is hot enough when a drop of batter sizzles immediately when added to the pan.) Working in batches, dip the coated squash in the batter (letting any excess drip off). Very carefully add the battered squash to the pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt.

6 Warm the tortillas & plate your dish:

Working in batches, warm the tortillas in a clean, dry pan on medium for 20 to 30 seconds per side, or until soft and pliable. To plate your dish, make 4 tacos with 2 tortillas layered together for each. Spread a layer of the paprika-lime sauce onto the bottom of each taco. Divide the tempura squash between the tacos. Top each with the avocado and red onion. Crumble the queso fresco over the top. Garnish with the cilantro and remaining lime wedges. Enjoy!

Warm the tortillas & plate your dish: