A party taco recipe of roasted butternut squash, red onions and andouille sausage topped with bell peppers, cilantro and spices nestled in warm tortillas. These Andouille and Butternut Squash tacos are the dream party appetizer!
Did you know a Taco was originally the term for dynamites used by miners back in the 18th century? These dynamites were little charges of explosives wrapped in paper resembling the rolled-up taco shapes we see today. It wasn’t until the 19th Century or so when the popular working class meal consisting of simple corn tortillas with a filling took on the same term.
I tried to stick to the working-class roots of tacos and came up with this recipe that combines the warm and earthy flavors of butternut squash with the spicy kick of andouille sausage. What started as a ‘everything in the fridge must go’ recipe turned out to be a hit in the family. It has become quite a versatile recipe for my family since then – it can be served as a simple family meal or even as a party appetizer and best aspect is that it’s appropriate for all ages.
Any generic brand equipment will do. I will point out that having a nonstick baking sheet to put in the pan helps a lot. You don’t have to spend so much on aluminum foil anymore because these sheets are reusable and have a number of applications.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions:
If you haven’t made your own tacos before, prepare to feel like a cooking expert. All the ingredients needed for this taco recipe are readily available all year round.
Butternut Squash is one of the primary ingredients. When picking a butternut squash, always try to look for one that is uniformly matte in texture, feels hollow when tapped and has no green spots. If squash isn’t available, you can also make this recipe with cauliflower, zucchini or chickpeas.
Andouille Sausage is the second main ingredient for this recipe. American Andouille sausage is a spicy pork sausage and quite popular in the Louisiana region owing to Cajun/Creole influence. A properly cooked Andouille sausage will have hints of wood smoke in its aroma and is usually coarse and chunky in texture when cut. Commercial brands may just add spices to a smoked sausage and call it Andouille which may be tasty but is no substitute for the real deal.
If you can’t source American andouille sausage, chorizo or merguez sausage will also work really well as a substitute.
Red Bell Peppers are another welcome addition to this particular recipe. They add a bit of crunch to the soft tacos while mellowing some of the spiciness of the Andouille sausage. Orange bell peppers can also be used as a substitute for the red version.
Red Onions being one of the ingredients in making salsa was obviously a welcome addition to the taco recipe. It doesn’t have much flavor of its own and less tender which complements the ‘meatier’ portions of the recipe well.
Cilantro is a great herb to add to recipes that provides a bit of aroma to mask the smoke scent of sausage. It also helps provide some color to the recipe overall. This herb can be substituted with fresh thyme or rosemary if not available.
Spice blend of ground ginger, parsley and garlic powder needs to be added to provide some flavoring to blend the individual primary ingredients.
Goat Cheese is an optional item. I find that it helps further mellow some of the spicy kick of andouille sausage. The butternut squash does a good job already but the goat cheese crumbles help bring it down a notch further for guests who may not have a tolerance for spicy foods.
The most efficient way to cook this andouille and butternut squash tacos recipe is by roasting the butternut squash first.
The best way to cut butternut squash tacos is to peel them and chop into halves. After that the bulbous bottom portion needs to be cut into half and the seeds removed. Then it is fairly easy to cut into small bite sized cubes. (you can find these steps in detail and some pro tips in my Butternut Squash Minestrone recipe post). After cutting the squash into cubes, roast them in the oven at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, chop the andouille sausage into similar bite sized cubes. Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and then add the red onions to it. Keep cooking the red onions until they turn translucent and the characteristic dark red color starts to fade.
Add the sausage to the onions and cook them until the pinkish meat of the sausages turn a dark brown and starts to crisp around the edges. This process usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat. I prefer slow cooking the sausage compared to the high heat fast action which makes the sausage more charred.
The next step would be to add the spices, cilantro and red bell peppers. I usually tend to keep it cooking for just another two to five minutes tops. The goal is for the peppers to soften a bit but not lose their inherent crunchiness.
The andouille sausage and butternut squash mix can be served with either soft or hard-shell tortillas. They can also be eaten without the tacos if you want to reduce some carb consumption. I’m a big fan of Mission Carb Balance Tortillas which have only 4g net carbs but the same effect of eating a traditional tortilla.
A good beverage to serve these tacos with is my Keto White Russian cocktail. It makes for a lovely party meal combo.
The taco filling will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. It can be stored longer but I find it tends to affect the spiciness of the sausage which is one of the main umami elements of this particular recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Not necessarily if you wish the extra fiber and it is edible! Peeling the skin before roasting definitely helps cook the squash quicker and imbibe flavors from other ingredients.
Oregano, Sage, Basil and Rosemary are the most common herbs that complement the sweet flavor tones and soft cooked texture of butternut squash.
You can substitute andouille with chorizo, spicy tofu or even adobe chicken.
Andouille and Butternut Squash Tacos
- Baking Pan
- Silicone Baking Sheet (Optional)
- Cutting Board
- Frying pan
- 1 lb Butternut Squash ,medium size
- 14 oz Andouille Sausage Roll ,chopped
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 Red Bell Pepper ,chopped
- ¼ red onion ,chopped
- 5-6 sprigs Fresh Cilantro ,chopped
- 1 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Dried Parsley
- 4 oz Goat Cheese log (Optional)
- salt ,for taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Peel and the cut the butternut squash into two sections – top stem and bottom bulbous portion. Split the bulbous portion into two halves and scoop out the seeds. (detailed butternut squash cutting steps with pictures in my other recipe here)
- Dice the squash into smaller cubes and set on a baking tray. Heat in the oven for 20 minutes. Set out on trivet or kitchen counter to cool down once done.
- Warm up some olive oil in a frying pan under medium heat. Add the red onions to the heated oil and cook until they become translucent and the red color starts to fade, which usually takes about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the chopped sausage to the onions and cook until the pink meat starts to brown and the edges look crispy.
- Now add the spices (ginger, garlic and parsley), cilantro and chopped red bell peppers to the cooked meat. Cook for about two to three minutes more.
- Mix the fully cooked meat and roasted butternut squash in a bowl. Serve with warm tortillas and topped with crumbled goat cheese or just eat plain.
- Zucchini, chickpeas or cauliflower can be substituted for butternut squash.
- Chorizo, Spicy Tofu or Adobe Chicken are good substitutes for Andouille Sausage.
- Microwave butternut squash for 1 minute to make it soft before peeling.