Crunchy on the outside, soft and spicy on the inside, these black bean and butternut squash chimichangas are a deliciously satisfying fall meal.
Okay, after this I’ll do a better job of spacing the butternut squash posts out. I think. That’s always my intention when making these dishes, but then I eat them and get excited, and this happens. I think there will be two more after this. I’ll do my best one. They could publish at any time, so watch out. That’s all I can promise.
Incidentally, I discovered yesterday that I might have an allergy to butternut squash. Nothing big, just a dermal allergy. I was chopping up what will be the last squash in my stream of butternut posts, when my hands started to get irritated, particularly my left hand, which I was using to hold the squash. The skin started cracking and peeling! I Googled around a bit to see what might be up, and apparently dermal allergies to butternut squash are common. Ah well. The last one is all chopped and and ready to go in the fridge. I’ll have to remember to wear gloves in the future.
This time around my squash went into chimichangas. My mom used to make chicken chimichangas when I was growing up. They were one of the few meat-oriented dishes that I remember liking, so I thought it was about time I tried a plant based version for the blog. When I started working on developing a recipe I learned that chimichangas are normally deep fried. Eek! I had no idea. Mom’s were always baked, and since I enjoyed those, I decided I’d stick with the oven approach. On those rare occasions that I do treat myself to some greasy fried goodness, I do so at a restaurant and let someone braver than I deal with spattering grease, thank you very much.
Despite not being fried, the tortillas crisp up beautifully, while the filling stays soft and has a rich, spicy southwestern flavor, so these are really fun to bite into. The smokiness and spiciness of the chipotles goes awesome with the butternut sweetness, which I’ve enhanced ever so slightly with some agave. I can’t really remember what mom’s chimichangs tasted like at this point, but I do know that I felt just as blissful eating these as I did when I was little. Crispy little tortilla pockets of happiness, butternut squash style.
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 lb. butternut squash, diced (about 4 cups)
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-14 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce, minced + 2 tbsp. sauce
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup or agave
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 4-10 inch. flour tortillas
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Toss butternut squash cubes in ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping about half way through, until tender and slightly crisp. Remove from the oven, but keep oven on.
- When your squash has about 5 minutes to go, place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautee until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and sautee another minute.
- Add beans, chipotles, adobo sauce, syrup or agave, cumin, salt, pepper, vegetable broth, and squash (which should be out of the oven by now).
- Stir everything up and cook until most of the liquid cooks off, about 1 minute.
- Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.
- Place ¼ of filling into the center of each tortilla. Fold up top and bottom, and roll sides closed. Place on oiled baking surface, seam side down, and brush with remaining olive oil. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
- Bake for about 20 minutes (oven should still be at 400), until tortillas begin to brown.
- Serve with your favorite salsa, avocados or cashew cream.