RECIPE: Delicata Squash Tempura Street Tacos with Lime-Pickled Cabbage and Avocado Crema 

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Vanessa Seder’s plant-based squash tacos are delicious and fun for a weeknight dinner, or a casual weekend dinner with guests. A fall/winter squash, delicata has an oblong shape with yellow/orange edible skin with green stripes. It’s a favorite at Bluedot for its mild, sweet flavor. Delicata Squash all but disappeared after the Great Depression because of squash diseases, but a non-hybrid resistant variety was reintroduced in the early 2000s and its popularity has soared since. Serves 4.

Ingredients

2 just-ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced

2 teaspoons fresh lime zest

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided

1 cup plain full-fat yogurt

Sea salt

2 cups shredded red cabbage

Extra-virgin olive oil for frying

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cold water

1 (1-pound) delicata squash, washed, halved, seeded, and sliced into ½-inch crescents

8 corn tortillas

Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine the avocado, lime zest, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and yogurt in a food processor, and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with 2 teaspoons salt and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt and set aside.
  3. Have a paper towel-lined plate ready. Heat 1 inch of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the oil reaches 365°F.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, and 1 teaspoon salt until combined. Whisk in the water until a smooth batter forms. Add the squash and gently stir to combine and coat in the batter.
  5. Carefully lower a few slices of batter-coated squash into the hot oil. Use a large metal slotted spoon or spider to flip the squash over a few times as it cooks to prevent the slices from sticking to each other. Cook the squash until it is golden brown, crisp, and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season lightly with more salt, if desired. Repeat this process with the remaining squash. Discard any remaining batter. Set aside.
  6. If using a gas burner, place each tortilla directly on the burner to toast, using tongs to flip once halfway through cooking until pliable and slightly charred around the rim, about one minute per side. Alternatively, place tortillas, in batches, in a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Flip once, halfway through cooking about 1 to 2 minutes per batch.
  7. Divide the tortillas between 4 plates, top each with some of the squash, pickled cabbage, and some avocado and lime crema. Garnish with the radishes, and cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately. 

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Vanessa Seder
Vanessa Seder
Vanessa Seder has worked in the food industry for close to 20 years as a recipe developer, food stylist, chef instructor, and author. Her cookbooks include: Eat Cool, (which received positive reviews from the New York Times and elsewhere) and the award-winning Secret Sauces. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, Vanessa has developed recipes for Real Simple, All You, Health, Cooking Light, Hannaford’s Fresh, Ladies Home Journal—where she previously served as an associate food editor, and Maine The Way, among others. She lives with her family in Portland, Maine. She can be found online at vanessaseder.com and Instagram @vseder.

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