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If you are ready to mix up your taco night, these pumpkin spice tacos are it! They are a little bit spicy and a whole lot delicious. Serve them for Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, or any night of the week, because they are ready in only 30 minutes!
Why We Love These Vegetarian Pumpkin Tacos
While we love chicken tacos, traditional beef tacos, and carnitas tacos, we have been loving adding vegetarian tacos into our family meal rotation lately. That's why when a friend suggested trying squash tacos recently, we knew we had to try them.
Now that pumpkin season is here, we decided to try making pumpkin spice tacos, and boy are they a revelation! The sweet pumpkin pie spice and chipotle blend together so well. And the Mexican Cotija cheese and lime crema keep the flavors from veering too far to the sweet side.
There are also black beans blended into the tender cooked pumpkin which gives them a bit more protein for a meatless main course. We love them on soft corn tortillas, but if your family prefers crispy, they work just as well. Serve them with Mexican coleslaw or spicy Mexican rice to make it a complete meal!
Ingredients you need
For the pumpkin pie spiced tacos:
- Pie pumpkin: Look for these with the squash in the produce department. You’ll need 3 cups of finely diced pumpkin for this recipe – about 1 pound 9 ounces. If you prefer, you can substitute diced butternut squash.
- Soft corn tortillas: We loved the texture and flavor of the nutty soft corn tortillas, but this is also great with crispy tortilla shells or grain-free tortillas.
- Avocado oil: Choose your favorite neutral cooking oil. We like either non-GMO canola or avocado oil.
- Onion: Finely dice the onion for the filling. This helps give the pumpkin plenty of savory flavor.
- Garlic: You’ll need a generous amount of chopped fresh garlic, too. It really helps to balance the sweetness by adding classic savory taste.
- Salt: You’ll need salt for both the taco filling and the crema. We use table salt. If using kosher salt, double the amount.
- Pumpkin pie spice: You can purchase this or make your own!
- Ground chipotle chili powder: To make this more kid friendly err on the lighter side with the chipotle chili powder; it adds a lovely smokiness to the taco. If you prefer no additional heat, use ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika instead.
- Canned tomato sauce: This helps bind the filling together to resemble the texture more of traditional taco meat.
- Canned black beans: We like the texture of regular black beans, but for a firmer texture try canned black soy beans.
For the crema
- Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt: We usually opt for the lighter option (Greek yogurt) and it really doesn't disappoint! It is still very creamy.
- Mayonnaise: This is a traditional Mexican crema ingredient, and even though it sounds strange, it really makes these tacos taste so special.
- Lime zest: Do not skip the lime zest! Remove it from the lime with a microplane zester before squeezing the lime.
- Lime juice: The sourness of the lime really compliments all the other flavors in this tacos balancing them and at the same time brightening them!
Optional toppings for these pumpkin pie tacos
Every good taco wants to be topped with something fun, and these pumpkin pie spice tacos are no exception! Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Finely sliced scallions
- Diced avocado
- Cojita cheese
- Pumpkin seeds – try roasting your own!
Step by step instructions for making this pumpkin spice taco recipe
Step 1: First, dice the pumpkin into small pieces. Then, start warming the tortillas.
Step 2: While the tortillas are in the oven, saute the onion, pumpkin, garlic. Then cover the pan and cook until the pumpkin is nice and soft.
Step 3: Season the veggies with pumpkin pie spice and chipotle powder. Then, add the tomato sauce and black beans and bring the pan to a simmer.
Step 4: While the squash is cooking, whisk the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime zest, lime juice, and salt to make the crema.
Step 5: It's time to eat! Assemble the tacos on the warm tortillas, top with all the toppings, and dig in!
Can this pumpkin taco filling be made ahead?
Yes! The filling reheats beautifully in the microwave. Cook it on high power, stirring once or twice until it is steaming hot. Assemble tacos just before serving.
Can these pumpkin spice tacos be made vegan?
Absolutely. You can skip the cotija, and use Kite Hill plant-based Greek yogurt and vegan mayo to make the crema.
Can I use squash instead of pumpkin?
Squash works really well. We think butternut is the best substitute because it is so easy to dice. Sweet potato also works, we suggest white Japanese sweet potato for the best texture.
Can I use canned pumpkin?
No, canned pumpkin is pureed and too soft and mushy for this recipe. It doesn’t have a chunky enough texture.
Can I use pre-diced butternut squash?
Yes, you can but take note that generally, pre-cut butternut squash is larger than ½ inch cubes. So simply chop them into smaller pieces before cooking them.
More savory pumpkin recipes
- This easy to make pumpkin hummus is creamy and delicious.
- Try making these chickpea pumpkin fritters. They are made with canned pumpkin chickpeas for a delicious and healthy fall treat.
- This coconut roasted pumpkin curry makes another great meatless meal. It is loaded with spiced roasted pumpkin, dotted with sweet apples, and topped with pecans.
- roasted pumpkin spinach salad with Goat Cheese and maple pumpkin dressing is fall on a plate!
- The ultimate healthy comfort food: pumpkin alfredo with kale!
- Try this non-traditional chili for a change of pace: chipotle bourbon pumpkin chili. You'll love it!
Thanks so much for reading! If you make this recipe, please come back and let me know by leaving a star rating and review. It really helps a lot! Happy Cooking! ~ Katie
- 1 small pie pumpkin (about 1 pound 9 ounces)
- 8 small corn tortillas
- 4 teaspoons avocado oil
- 1 small onion (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon salt (divided)
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- ⅛ – ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder (to taste)
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce
- 1 cup canned black beans (drained)
- Optional: Finely sliced scallions, diced avocado, cojita cheese, chopped cilantro, or toasted pumpkin seeds (to serve)
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Remove the top and bottom of the pumpkin with a sharp knife and peel it with a vegetable peeler. Cut it in half and remove seeds with a measuring spoon. Cut it into ½-inch thick slices and then into ½ -inch dice. Wrap the tortillas in foil and place them in the oven set at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat through for about 12 to 15 minutes.1 small pie pumpkin, 8 small corn tortillas
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pumpkin, garlic, and ¾ teaspoon of salt and stir to coat with the oil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. If the mixture is browning too much before the pumpkin is tender, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and reduce heat to medium to prevent it from burning.4 teaspoons avocado oil, 1 small onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon salt
- Remove the lid and sprinkle on the pumpkin pie spice and chipotle and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce and black beans and stir to combine. Bring it to a simmer, then remove it from the heat.1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, ⅛ – ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder, 1 cup canned tomato sauce, 1 cup canned black beans
- While the squash is cooking, make the crema. Whisk the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime zest, lime juice, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl.2 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Assemble the tacos by dividing the squash mixture among the warm tortillas. Top with any or all of the topping toppings then drizzle on the crema and serve immediately.Optional: Finely sliced scallions, diced avocado, cojita cheese, chopped cilantro, or toasted pumpkin seeds
Make-Ahead InstructionsYes! The filling reheats beautifully in the microwave. Cook it on high power, stirring once or twice until it is steaming hot. Assemble tacos just before serving.
Variations To Try
- To Make them VEGAN: You can skip the cotija, and use Kite Hill plant-based Greek yogurt and vegan mayo to make the crema.
- Alternatives To Fresh Pumpkin: Squash works really well. We think butternut is the best substitute because it is so easy to dice. You can also use peeled and diced white sweet potato.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.