Friday, January 3, 2014

Butternut and Black Bean Toastadas

One of my favorite ways to figure out what to eat has been to buy some veggies and look for different ways to cook them. This is one of my very favorite recipes that I've invented. I figured if I write it down, then others can enjoy it, and it might be more consistent the next time I make it. The hardest part of this recipe is cutting the butternut squash--so if you are in a hurry buy pre-chopped.

1 medium butternut squash,
1 medium/large onion
1 can black beans
taco seasoning packet
chili powder
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
corn tortillas
light cream style cheese (skinny cow is what I use)
salsa or other toppings

When I made this last, I used butternut squash leftover from another recipe, which saved a lot of time chopping! Even though the squash can be time consuming to prepare, this is actually a pretty quick and versatile dish. You could serve it over rice, in burritos, enchiladas, or as a dip. I usually eat it with cheese, but without it could be a vegan, gluten free dish depending on what you serve it with. 

The onion is diced into small pieces, and placed in a medium saucepan sprayed with cooking spray and heated to medium hot. I let them soften a little and then add the butternut squash. That cooks for about 5 minutes, before the drained black beans are added along with about half the taco seasoning packet (use low sodium or just use chili powder and cumin), about 2 tablespoons chili powder, and a dash of cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. I like quite a bit of heat to balance out the sweetness of the butternut squash, but taste as you cook and adjust.

As this cooks, the onions and butternut really cook down and get almost syrupy with the seasoning, and adding the beans lets them get some of that flavor. I let it cook until the butternut cooks through, and becomes soft.

At this point the mixture could go into lots and lots of things--served on rice, chips, or even folded into scrambled eggs. I like this as a topping for crispy corn tortillas. To save calories and money, I toast my own in the oven. I take corn tortillas, spray them with cooking spray, lightly salt them, and toss them directly on the rack of a preheated oven on broil. I check them often, turn and rotate, until they are crispy and not too dark. They burn quickly if you don't watch carefully, so keep an eye on them. This batch I made had some that were over done--you can really see if your oven has a hot spot if you don't rotate them. Still they are delicious and healthier than buying tostatas pre-made from the store.

 The verdict:
The spicy cayenne and the sweet butternut and onions make a balanced flavor profile that goes well with the creamy cheese, and crunchy toasted tortillas. This is a regular dish on my rotation. I'll make up a big batch and divide it into serving size tupperware and bring to work with tortillas, cheese, and salsa. I've also used it in my morning egg bowls to add some veggies and flavor.

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