Try this new twist on tacos

by | May 7, 2023 | Food and Recipes

For generations, a number of Indigenous people have grown the Three Sisters – squash, corn and beans – together. Each helps nurture the other as they grow. They also work together in this delicious spin on vegetarian tacos.

Three Sisters Tacos

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6


  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2¼ lb or 1 kg)
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) chili powder
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano

Refried beans:

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1½ 19oz (540 ml) cans no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) chili powder
  • 2 cups (500 ml) water
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) lime juice (about 1 lime)


  • 12 small whole-grain corn tortillas
  • ½ cup (125 ml) light feta cheese or queso fresco


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Peel squash, slice in half and scoop out seeds. Chop squash into 1×3-inch sticks and place in a medium bowl.
  2. Drizzle 2 tsp (10 ml) of olive oil over squash and season with chili powder and dried oregano. Toss to coat then transfer onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, arranging squash in an even layer. Roast for 20 minutes or until nicely browned and tender inside. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a high-sided skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until brown on both sides, turning once. In the skillet, mash garlic cloves with a fork.
  4. Stir in black beans, ground cumin and chili powder and add 2 cups (500 ml) of water. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Mash bean mixture to the texture of a thick, chunky paste with a potato masher or a fork. Cook beans for two more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add lime juice and stir to combine.
  6. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm tortillas. Transfer them into a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm. Spread a spoonful of the beans, two or three chunks of squash and crumbled cheese. Season with salt to taste.


  • These tacos are a great way to encourage your kids to try butternut squash. Adjust the amount of chili powder to please their taste buds.
  • Set up an assembly line of toppings. Here are some ideas: salsa, lower-fat plain Greek yogurt, avocado, lettuce, cilantro, coriander and lime.
  • You can substitute frozen cubed butternut squash for fresh.
  • If you use dried instead of canned beans, make sure to soak and cook them before adding them to the pan.

Find more recipes on Canada’s food guide kitchen:

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