Acorn Squash Wonder Tacos/Chalupas


This is one of those recipes where you'll cross your eyes in pleasure after tasting. Great for vegetarian meat substitute or hiding veggies from your kids. They do not taste like squash. If you don't have cotija cheese, you can substitute Parmesan. But cotija marries well with cumin. Serve with refried beans for extra yum.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
4 servings


  • 1 cup canola oil, or as needed

  • 1 large acorn squash - peeled, seeded, and grated

  • 2 tablespoons grated red onion

  • 1 serrano chile pepper, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 egg

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste

  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • 4 corn tortillas

  • ¼ cup shredded lettuce, or to taste

  • 1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and chopped

  • 1 tomato, chopped

  • ¼ cup freshly grated cotija cheese


  1. Heat canola oil in a deep fryer or heavy pot over medium heat.

  2. Mix squash, onion, serrano pepper, flour, egg, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.

  3. Drop squash mixture by the spoonful, working in batches, in the hot oil; fry until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer squash fritters to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Fry the corn tortillas in the hot oil until crisp, about 2 minutes per side.

  4. Layer each tortilla with lettuce, squash fritters, avocado, tomato, and a tablespoon of cotija cheese.

Cook's Note:

Test the peppers for spiciness and use them to taste. Depending on their heat, a little can go a long way. If they turn out not to be hot, add a little more cayenne.

Grate the squash by hand or by running through the food processor.

Editor's Note:

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and the specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

332 Calories
18g Fat
40g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 332
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 55mg 18%
Sodium 429mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 8g 30%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 28mg 140%
Calcium 158mg 12%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 983mg 21%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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