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Food & Home

Butternut Squash Shrimp Tacos


We’re obsessed with the jicama shrimp tacos on our site, which got us thinking about what other veggies could work as a corn-free, grain-free, gluten-free tortilla substitute. We played around in the test kitchen and discovered that the long skinny top half of a butternut squash works perfectly! This one is filled with seared shrimp, but chicken, pork, fish, or even black beans would also be delicious. If you don’t already have a mandolin, buy one to make this recipe. It will make prep so much easier, and you’ll use it all the time.

Serves 2

⅔ pound medium peeled and cleaned shrimp, tails removed

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large pinch cayenne pepper

1 small lemon

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, grated or finely minced


the long skinny top half of 1 butternut squash (look for one that’s about 4 inches in diameter)

1 large avocado, thinly sliced

1 cup shaved fennel (we use a mandolin)

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves

lime wedges, to serve

hot sauce, optional

for the optional sauce:

¼ cup almond yogurt such as kite hill

juice of 1 lime

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Cut the shrimp in half along the spine and place in a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, cayenne pepper, grated zest of the lemon, garlic, and a large pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Toss to combine, and let marinate while you prepare your other ingredients.

2. To make the squash “tortillas,” cut off the stem, peel, and use a large mandolin or a sharp knife to cut 10 even, as-thin-as-you-can slices (no thicker than 1/8th inch).

3. Prepare a wide shallow saucepan with simmering water and blanch the slices until just tender, about 1 minute. Remove to a plate or baking sheet until ready to use.

4. To make the sauce, whisk together the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl and season to taste with salt.

5. Toss the shaved fennel with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the juice of the zested lemon, and a pinch of salt.

6. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add the shrimp and marinade to the pan, and sear the shrimp until just cooked through, about 1 minute per side.

7. To assemble the tacos, divide the shrimp between the 10 little shells, top with sliced avocado, the shaved fennel, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, and drizzle over the yogurt sauce, if you made it. Serve with a wedge of lime and hot sauce, if desired.