Loaded Butternut Squash “Rotini” Taco Salad Fries
Looking for the best healthy-ish French fry recipe ever? These loaded Taco Salad Fries are it! They're made with super fun butternut squash “rotini” and are piled high with all your favorite taco salad ingredients. Serve these as a Super Bowl appetizer or a delicious, kid-friendly dinner. You will love them!
Who's ready for all the super fun Super Bowl eats? (Hands rise up throughout the land.)
Whether or not football's your thing, I think we can all agree that football food is so where it's at. Bring on the fries and dips and chicken wings and everything else that makes my heart sing.
Also, bring on the Taco Salad Fries! Ya, I know. What does that even mean? I promise you two things:
- I haven't lost my mind.
- Taco Salad Fries are the best invention I have ever come up with. ← Truth! They're a mash-up of the salad eight-year-old me used to LOVE (there was no other salad until I hit twenty) and my favorite new fries.
See those crispy fries up there? They're not actually fries. Say whaaaa? It's the truth.
Those impostors up there are actually Mann's Fresh Vegetables' Butternut Squash “Rotini”. Ingredients: butternut squash. Seriously, that's it. So ya, I'm calling them French fries, but they're really just a vegetable.
You could easily pour them into a pan and roast them to serve alongside your dinner, but I decided to spice them up and turn them into fries. If you're a fan of yam fries, you are going to LOVE these.
You've seen me use Mann's Fresh Vegetables a few times here on the blog. Last fall, I shared a recipe for a Late Autumn Roasted Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad using their Shaved Brussels Sprouts. And back in 2016 (how is it possible that was so long ago?), I shared a Maple Bourbon Sweet Potato Ribbon Casserole using their Sweet Potato Ribbons.
I'm a big fan of their playful cuts of veggies and LOVE how easy they make my life. There's no need to spend a half hour trying to peel and deseed and slice a butternut squash. (Prepping squash is one of my least favorite kitchen tasks.) And even if you took half your life to do it yourself, you'd still never be able to cut them as fun as Mann's can.
Seriously, just look at all those squiggles. So fun!
So what the heck are taco salad fries anyway?
I'm glad you asked.
Remember that iconic salad with iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, taco meat, all the sour cream, and salsa piled into a giant, deep-fried taco bowl? Of course, you do. Silly question!
It's been ages since I've had one. Not sure if they simply disappeared off of menus at the end of the 90s or if I've changed the type of restaurants I visit, but they're nowhere to be found. I say we change that stat, even if that means we're making them at home and adding fries.
So taco salad fries are a giant plate of fries (or in this case, Butternut Squash “Rotini” turned into fries) and piled high with all the taco salad toppings I could think of.
In other words, they're the best fries ever!
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Looking for the best healthy-ish French fry recipe ever? These loaded Taco Salad Fries are it! They're made with super fun butternut squash “rotini” and are piled high with all your favorite taco salad ingredients. Serve these as a Super Bowl appetizer or a delicious, kid-friendly dinner. You love them!
The butternut squash fries:
- 2 bags Butternut Squash “Rotini”
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon each: oregano and onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
The taco meat
- 1 lb. ground beef (can sub veggie ground round for a vegetarian version)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon each: onion powder and sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
All the taco salad fries toppings:
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- Black beans, drained and rinsed
- Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Sliced jalapeño peppers
- Sour cream
- Preheat your oven to 420 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour one bag of Butternut Squash “Rotini” onto each baking sheet. Divide the oil and spices between the Butternut Squash “Rotini” and toss to coat. (Note: they will fit onto one sheet, but you want them to have lots of room so they get crispy instead of steam.) Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, carefully turning halfway, until they start to crisp.
- While the fries are roasting, prep the salad topping ingredients and cook the taco meat. Add the beef (or veggie ground round) to a large pan over medium-high heat. Add all the seasonings and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
- Pile some shredded iceberg lettuce on a large platter. Add half the taco meat and the Butternut Squash fries. Top with the remaining taco meat and any or all of the toppings.
I've left out the amounts for the taco salad fries toppings on purpose. There is no right or wrong way to build your taco salad fries. Use more of the ingredients you love, less of those you don't, and leave out any you don't like. Or try adding things like guacamole, red onions, or cilantro. They're great, too!