Charred Fall Vegetable Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa and Pinto Beans

charred fall vegetable tacos with pinto beans and tomatillo salsa

What if I told you that these upscale taqueria-style tacos — complete with charred acorn squash, poblano peppers and onions — could be on the table start-to-finish in thirty minutes or less, would you believe me? Well, it’s true! A quick rundown: pop the tortillas in the oven and throw the beans on the back burner to heat up, chop up and sauté your veggies then plate everything up and serve.

The amount of flavor packed into each bite in such a short amount of time is incredible. You’ll love how the charred veggies play with the tart-yet-smokey tomatillo salsa, crumbled queso Cotija and fresh onions — the contrast of the caramelized and bright ingredients is tantalizing and totally satisfying!

I’m especially excited to share this recipe because it was created as part of the Very Vegetarian Recipe Challenge from OXO in conjunction with Plated — they ship all the ingredients and recipes you need to cook a gourmet meal in thirty minutes or less — to help celebrate Plated’s upcoming vegetarian launch. Here were the guidelines:

  • Recipes are doable from start to finish in 30 minutes, including chopping!
  • Yield 2 servings
  • Use 10-12 ingredients
  • Are complete in that they include vegetables, starch/grain, and protein (eggs and dairy are ok)
  • Include seasonal ingredients
  • Are broken down into 5-6 steps easy to follow steps
  • Use three of the six tools OXO kindly sent to me free of charge. Their 12″ Tongs with Silicone Heads, Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer and 2 Piece Fruit Scoop Set (they’re like spoons only WAY better, the edges are super thin meaning they basically cut through stuff as tough as acorn squash flesh as if it was butter) were used for this recipe.
  • Additional, self-imposed requirement: Gluten-free

It was such an honor to participate in this challenge, I had tons of fun playing around with the various tools and creating a few different quick-to-prepare, vegetarian meals. A huge thanks to OXO and Plated for this opportunity!

Charred Fall Vegetable Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa and Pinto Beans

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2


  • 6, 6″ store-bought corn tortillas
  • 1 can (15-ounce) pinto beans, preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) olive oil
  • 1/2 small acorn squash, room temperature
  • 1 medium-large (10-ounce) yellow onion
  • 1 large (5-ounce) poblano pepper
  • 2 limes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) water
  • 1/3 cup Frontera tomatillo salsa, or your favorite brand
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) crumbled queso Cotija (or Feta)
  • 3 tablespoons torn, fresh cilantro leaves (optional)


Heat Tortillas and Beans:

Tightly wrap the stack of 6 tortillas with aluminum foil, place on the center rack of the oven and turn on to 350°F (they’ll be softened and hot once the filling is cooked). Open can of beans and pour into a small (2-quart) saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and warm, stirring occasionally, while the other ingredients are prepared.

Prepare Vegetables:

While tortillas and beans warm up, prepare vegetables. Use the small scoop from the OXO 2 Piece Fruit Scoop Set to remove the seeds from the acorn squash. Place squash, cut side down, on a cutting board. Trim and discard stem and bottom ends. Slice across the ridges into 1/2″ thick pieces (they’ll look like the letter C or D). Cut each slice into 1/2″ x about 1″ pieces (you’ll have about 6-ounces/170 grams squash); set aside.

Pour the 2 tablespoons olive oil into a large (10″ – 12″ diameter) frying pan or 4-quart sauté pan, set over high heat. While oil heats, prepare onion and poblano. Trim the top (non root end) of the onion, cut in half through root and peel away outer layers. Adjust the OXO Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer to the thickest setting (#3, about 1/4″). Slice all but about 1/4 of the onion (you’ll have about 8-ounces/227 grams sliced onion). Finely chop remaining onion (about 1 1/2-ounces/42 grams); set aside.

Cut pepper lengthwise into quarters; use the small fruit scoop again to remove seeds and ribs. Using the OXO Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer on the thickest setting, slice each pepper quarter from tip to stem end; set aside.

The oil should be very hot and shimmering at this point. Carefully add the squash pieces to the oil, and cook, stirring/tossing with the OXO 12″ Tongs with Silicone Heads about half way through, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and add sliced (not the chopped) onions; cook for about 1 minute, using tongs to break up the rings and nicely distribute the squash and onions. Add peppers, and cook, tossing every minute or so, until nicely charred (NOT BURNT!) in spots, about 5 minutes. While peppers cook, juice a couple of the lime quarters. Stir together 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and the 2 tablespoons water. Once veggies are cooked, deglaze pan with the lime-water mixture, cooking until liquid is nearly evaporated; remove from heat.

Assemble and Serve Tacos:

Remove tortillas from oven and divide amongst two large dinner plates. Top each with a small scoop (about 2 tablespoons) of beans, draining away as much of the liquid as possible (you won’t use all of the beans in the tacos, serve leftovers on the side!). Divide veggies amongst tortillas, top with salsa, the finely chopped raw onion, cheese and cilantro (if using). Serve immediately with remaining lime quarters on the side!

DISCLOSURE: I received a set of six OXO tools as compensation for this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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