Mexican flavor gets a fall twist in these acorn squash tempura tacos with an addictive smoked paprika-lime sauce.
Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos with Smoked Paprika-Lime Sauce

This recipe has NOTHING to do with Thanksgiving!!

Food blogger fail. Of epic proportions.

But not really because these tacos are on fleek. I think? Because I’m not really sure what “on fleek” means…but it sounds right.

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos with Smoked Paprika-Lime Sauce

Or maybe you could just throw all of holiday tradition to the wind and have these on Thanksgiving. If so – I’ll be right over.

If not, I understand, but remember that you still have to eat dinner tonight, Tuesday, AND Wednesday of this week. So, acorn squash tempura tacos every day?! Good deal.

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos with Smoked Paprika-Lime Sauce

Here’s what I love about these: EVERYTHING.

The acorn squash strips are all of my tempura dreams come true. Frying them is not scary at all (I promise!!) and their batter is spiced up with smoked paprika so that they’re delectably sweet and savory at the same time. Each taco is adorned with a totally addictive smoked paprika-lime sauce that I pretty much want to spread on all my tacos/sandwiches/everything until the end of time, and queso fresco crumbles and crunchy red onion slices seal the deal with their general awesomeness.

You could try to not be like us and eat fewer than two servings in one sitting…or you could give into your innermost taco desires and chalk up your excessive consumption to pre-Turkey day stomach stretching preparation. <–That totally counts as exercise, by the way. I say – go with it.

Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos with Smoked Paprika-Lime Sauce
Mexican flavor gets a fall twist in these acorn squash tempura tacos with an addictive smoked paprika-lime sauce.
Yield: 3-4 servings
  • 2 clove garlic, grated
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika, divided
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup rice flour, divided
  • 1 (1 lb) acorn squash, halved, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • ¾ cup of cold water
  • safflower seed oil, for frying
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 4 oz queso fresco
  • ½ cup cilantro, minced
  • 8 corn tortillas
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, mayonnaise, 2 tsp of the smoked paprika, and the juice of 1 lime wedge. Stir until well combined. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss ¼ cup of the rice flour with the squash slices. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. In a second large bowl, whisk together the remaining rice flour, 1 tsp of smoked paprika, and the cold water to make a thin batter. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  4. In a large pan, heat a ½-inch layer of oil on medium-high heat until hot. Working in batches, dip the coated squash in the batter, allowing any excess to drip off. Add the battered squash to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, or until crispy and golden. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Repeat with remaining squash slices.
  5. Discard any excess oil and wipe out the pan.
  6. Heat the same pan used to cook the squash on medium-high heat until hot. Add the tortillas to the pan in batches, toasting for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Spread each tortilla with a layer of the smoked paprika-lime sauce. Divide the cooked squash, onion, and queso fresco between the tortillas. Garnish with cilantro and remaining lime wedges.
Adapted very slightly from Blue Apron
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tacos


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28 Responses to Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos with Smoked Paprika-Lime Sauce

  1. Beth says:

    Can I just say these tacos look AMAZING?!! I’d give up any kind of tradition to put them on my kitchen table.

  2. Super creative idea for tacos! I’ve never seem anything like this and I bet they’re tasty.

  3. Love these tacos! The flavours are delicious – I really like the idea of deep frying the squash in tempura! The paprika lime sauce sounds great too!

  4. Nicola says:

    Tempura squash?! What a genius idea! I’m so tempted to forget about cleaning out my fridge before the holiday and just make these tonight instead!

  5. Love when the word “Smoked” is used! You know it’s going to be good when that word comes out! These look BOMB, girl!

  6. I love how creative you get with your tacos! Such awesome flavors going on here.

  7. Trisha says:

    Um, Thanksgiving is not until Thursday, and I’m all about eating healthy, vegetarian dishes before and after Thanksgiving. The flavor combination here is so unique. I can’t wait to try these! I’ve been wondering of ways to use up leftover acorn squash!!

  8. Erica says:

    The colors of the acorn squash and the red onion look so so good together. And I’m so okay with a taco recipe during Thanksgiving week… in fact MORE than okay 😉

  9. Oooofff… YES! The texture, the flavours, the colours! Smashing 🙂

  10. Haha! My recipe today has absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving, either. Or any holiday. Or even winter. But there are 364 other days we need to eat, so whatevs. I totally want these tacos. *fist bump*

  11. Lori Rice says:

    I would gladly eat these for Thanksgiving! Thanks for the break from turkey and cranberries in my feed!

  12. Gosh…I want one of those tacos! They look totally irresistible.

  13. Kate says:

    I know what “on fleek” means, but I can’t for the life of me figure out where it derives from.

  14. debbie says:

    Looks so delicious! Would love to eat that right now….

  15. Um, whatever. I don’t care about Thanksgiving if I can eat as many of these tacos as I want! Delicious 🙂

  16. Monica says:

    We need a little Thanksgiving diversion anyway and these squash tacos are so creative. Hope all is well and you have a great Thanksgiving with your family!

  17. Hotly Spiced says:

    I wish I was having these for dinner tonight, Joanne; they look really good and I love the sound of the smoky paprika flavouring on the squash and that tangy lime dressing. Happy Thanksgiving for Thursday xx

  18. It’s actually quite refreshing to see a recipe for something that isn’t pie, Christmassy or Thanksgiving-y 🙂 Not to mention, these look delicious for any time of year!

  19. These look absolutely amazing! I am always in the mood for Mexican flavors and this is right up my alley. And with the addition of winter squash, there’s no way I can resist!

  20. Jessie says:

    Tacos sound perfect for Thanksgiving to me 🙂 Especially these bad boys (I’ll eat three, thank you — the baby wants one, too). I hope you’re enjoying some time in the kitchen, Joanne! 🙂

  21. Krista says:

    Joanne! I’m so sorry I haven’t been visiting. Something went wrong with my blog reader and I wasn’t getting your posts. I finally came to check on you today to see if you were OK and here you are, blogging away, totally fine. 🙂 I’ve refreshed your feed and now I’m getting your posts again and all is well. 🙂

  22. These sound totally doable, after all-we do have to eat light tonight and tomorrow night – so these tacos are perfect for that!

  23. easypeasy says:

    I have never tried anything like this before! It looks fantastic I’ve gotta try it!

  24. Haha, I’m not exactly sure what “on fleek” means either. My friend busted that one out on me once, and I was so confused. Totally fine that this isn’t a Thanksgiving post – the tacos look amazing!!

  25. Christina says:

    Yes they are on fleek….. I mean according to my interpretation of on fleek 🙂

  26. I would gladly have these for Thanksgiving!! Love the look of these tacos!

  27. I’m always on the look out for new vegetarian tacos! These look phenomenal – yum!

  28. Johanna GGG says:

    wow these look amazing – and some of us even just ate dinner on the thursday because thanksgiving is still a bit of mystery here but we are saving ourselves for christmas 🙂

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