These crispy butternut squash tacos ingeniously meld spicy and sweet in the form of roasted winter squash and elote, or Mexican street corn, which is corn on the cob coated with dried chiles, cheese, and lime. And it’s ludicrously good. More tradition enters in the form of guacamole, purple cabbage, cilantro, and creamy sour cream topping and your Taco Tuesday—actually, any day—is looking and tasting mighty fine, indeed.–Jenny Howard

A platter of butternut squash tacos made with tortillas filled with strips of roasted squash, corn, cabbage, guacamole, and sour cream.

Butternut Squash Tacos

5 / 2 votes
These vegan butternut squash tacos combine spicy Mexican street corn with roasted butternut squash for an outstanding vegetarian taco feast. Topped with guacamole, cabbage, cilantro, and sour cream, these tacos are ludicrously good.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories577 kcal
Prep Time1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes


For the roasted butternut squash

  • 1 medium (1 lb 12 oz) butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder

For the Mexican sweet corn

  • 4 ears sweet corn, husked, or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, Cotija, or queso fresco (or substitute non-dairy cheese)

For the guacamole

  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

For assembling the tacos

  • 4 to 6 corn or flour tortillas, depending on the size
  • Purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Large handful cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (or substitute unsweetened non-dairy yogurt)


Prepare the roasted butternut squash

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • To soften the skin of the butternut squash and make peeling easier, use the tines of a fork to poke several holes in the squash and then cook it in a microwave for 2 minutes. (You can skip this, although rest assured, it truly does make the squash easier and safer to peel.)
  • Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to carefully remove the peel. Carefully cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out any seeds. Cut each half crosswise into slices 1/2 inch (13 mm) thick.
  • Place the sliced squash in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with the oil and agave nectar. In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder. Sprinkle the spice mix over the squash and toss to combine. Rearrange the squash in a single layer and roast until tender, 20 to 22 minutes.

Make the Mexican sweet corn

  • While the squash is roasting, if using ears of corn, carefully slice the kernels from each cob into a large bowl.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the scallions, garlic, and jalapeño and stir briefly. Add the fresh or thawed frozen corn and cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes. Give the mixture a quick toss to combine and continue to cook until the corn begins to brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cheese and remove the skillet from the heat.

Make the guacamole

  • In a medium bowl, use a fork to mash the avocados. Stir in the salt, cumin, and the juice of 1 lime. Taste and, if desired, add additional lime juice. Season to taste with red pepper flakes. Scoop the guacamole into a small bowl.

Assemble the tacos

  • Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and warm them in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • On each tortilla, arrange some of the roasted squash, corn mixture, and a small scoop of guacamole. Garnish each taco with purple cabbage, cilantro, and a drizzle of sour cream or yogurt. Serve immediately, passing any remaining guacamole on the side.
30 Minute Vegan Dinners Cookbook

Adapted From

30 Minute Vegan Dinners

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 577 kcalCarbohydrates: 62 gProtein: 11 gFat: 35 gSaturated Fat: 8 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 20 gCholesterol: 21 mgSodium: 818 mgPotassium: 1594 mgFiber: 15 gSugar: 15 gVitamin A: 22991 IUVitamin C: 120 mgCalcium: 318 mgIron: 5 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2019 Megan Sadd. Photo © 2019 Megan Sadd. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Not only were these Mexican squash tacos delicious, they were also extraordinarily pretty on the plate, confirming that you also eat with your eyes.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the combination of ingredients and was hopeful that the squash would roast to a nice sweetness, which it did. I microwaved the squash for 2 minutes and that did indeed make peeling a snap. It also seemed to soften the squash up just enough to make slicing it easy as well.

I used 1/2 teaspoon chili powder but would probably use a full teaspoon next time to increase the heat. It was spicy as prepared, but we wouldn’t have minded a bit more heat in the end. The roasted butternut squash was tender and sweetly flavorful and a great counterpoint to the elote.

The flavor of the corn was so appealing I could have eaten it by the spoonful by itself. My only quibble with the recipe was the amount of lime juice in the guacamole. The lime flavor was a little too dominant, but it was good overall and the quantity of juice will be easy to adjust the next time. This butternut squash tacos recipe is definitely one to share and repeat.

In a little over an hour, we had a flavorful dinner with lots of textures: smooth, creamy, crunchy. My carnivorous husband would have preferred that some meat was part of the meal but he agreed that the tacos were good. The elote by itself was very good.

I did try the microwave method to soften the squash and it seemed a little easier to peel. The next time I’m cooking butternut squash, I may try the method again. The disadvantage is that squash juice bubbles from the marks made by the fork.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Sweet Noodle Kugel

If you haven’t tried sweet kugel yet, you’ve been missing out. See why this creamy noodle casserole is a perennial holiday favorite.

1 hr

Old-Fashioned Coconut Cake

Layers of vanilla cake take turns with oodles of coconut filling and the whole shebang is slathered with fluffy white icing. Uh, yes please!

1 hr 15 mins

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Remember your mom telling you, “Pretty is as pretty does…”? This lovely elixir knows no distinction–it’s just pretty through and through.

5 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating