The Vegetable Butcher's Kale and Spelt Berry Salad with Sweet Cranberries and Lemon Dressing

The Vegetable Butcher’s Fall Farmers’ Market Tacos

Cara Mangini, the Vegetable Butcher, shares a fall farmers’ market recipe with us – yum! She says:

We all love tacos—let’s face it. There is a childlike excitement that comes with strategizing their assembly. For the cook, I think there’s even more fun in determining which fillings and toppings will make the cut for the table (the more toppings, the better). Your entire family can enjoy shopping at the farmers’ market for ingredients, depending on the season.

In the summer, I use zucchini, corn, and red potatoes with toppings like radishes and Tomato and Peach Salsa (page 297).

In the fall, I turn to sweet potatoes, thin-skinned delicata squash, and the last of the season’s peppers, topped with queso fresco and finely sliced cabbage. Guacamole and a tomatillo salsa will enhance almost any filling you can dream up. For sides, black beans, along with rice or quinoa, do the job. Best of all, taco leftovers rival the real thing—highly anticipated the whole next day.

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The Vegetable Butcher’s Fall Farmers’ Market Tacos Recipe

The Vegetable Butcher’s Fall Farmers’ Market Tacos Recipe

Serves 3 to 5

For the Tacos
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 dried chipotle (stemmed) or chipotle in adobo, finely chopped
1 large delicata squash (about 1 pound), cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra as needed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 poblano, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Generous handful of fresh cilantro leaves and thin stems, coarsely chopped Small flour and/or corn tortillas, warmed
Black Beans with Lime (recipe follows; optional)

For the Toppings
1/2 small red cabbage, thinly sliced
Freshly crumbled queso fresco, feta, or goat cheese
Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
Classic Guacamole (page 44) or sliced avocado
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (page 293) or store-bought salsa verde or roasted tomato salsa

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the chipotle. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it burn. Add the squash, sweet potato, ½ teaspoon of salt, cumin, and ¾ cup of water. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes and squash begin to soften, about 6 minutes.
2. Add the onion and poblano and season them with another ¼ teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and browned on the edges, 6 to 8 minutes more. Add the lime juice and cook, stirring, until it is fully incorporated, 1 minute. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the chopped cilantro.
3. Serve with the warm tortillas, Black Beans with Lime, if using, and a selection of toppings.

Notes: Use 2 dried chipotles or chipotles in adobo if you like extra heat.
You can substitute peeled and diced kabocha for the delicata squash. Butternut squash also works but it will take a bit longer to cook, so sauté it for a few minutes before adding the sweet potato and water.
Throw end-of-the-season cherry tomatoes into the skillet toward the end of cooking and allow them to blister and burst. It makes for a quick kind of on-the-spot salsa.

Black Beans with Lime Recipe

Makes about 3 cups

1 cup dried black beans, picked through, rinsed, and soaked overnight (see Note)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra as needed
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large yellow or white onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Fill a medium-size saucepan or Dutch oven with water, leaving about 2 inches of space at the top. Drain the soaked beans and add them to the water with 1 teaspoon of salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the beans are tender, 40 to 60 minutes. (Add more water to the pan if needed to keep the beans completely covered during cooking.) Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaf.
2. Heat the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, another 30 seconds. Add the black beans and the reserved cooking liquid, and stir to incorporate. Add a generous pinch of salt to taste, plus the cumin, cayenne pepper, and lime juice. Bring the beans to a low simmer and cook until most of the liquid evaporates and the remaining liquid has thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.

Note: You can use 2 1/2 to 3 cups of canned beans, rinsed, in place of the cooked beans. Skip step 1, and add the canned beans in step 2; use 1 cup of vegetable stock (see pages 20–21) in place of the reserved cooking liquid.



Cara Mangini - World's Greatest Food Fight Paleo and Vegan ExpertsChef Cara Mangini – Little Eater

Cara Mangini is the chef and founder of Little Eater. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area and working at some of New York’s and Napa Valley’s top culinary destinations, she developed a passion for produce at its peak and honed her skills in its selection and preparation. Ever since, she’s been on a mission to put vegetables at the center of the American plate.
She is the author of The Vegetable Butcher, a cookbook that explores how to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini.


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Recipe Photo: Matthew Benson

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