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butternut squash tacos with jalapeño ranch

butternut squash tacos with jalapeño ranch_hot for food

If you live in Toronto, then you’ve likely eaten at Fresh Restaurants. Well, a couple years ago when they created their squash tacos, I was obsessed and have been meaning to make my own version. This was my contender in the first unofficial vegan taco challenge. Watch it now below, or keep scrolling for the recipe!

I did try a baked version of the butternut squash pieces, but it honestly took way too long and they didn’t get as crispy or golden. It works, it’s just not my preference. I baked them around 425°F for 45 to 55 minutes.

If you’re looking for the vegan breakfast taco in the video, find that here.

butternut squash tacos with jalapeño ranch_hot for food

5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe

butternut squash tacos with jalapeño ranch

The crunchy butternut squash pieces in this taco recipe are to die for, and even more delicious when paired with a creamy jalapeño ranch!

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword butternut squash, jalapeños, ranch, tacos, vegan tacos
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 tacos
Author Lauren Toyota


jalapeño ranch

  • 3/4 C vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp pickled jalapeños in brine (include brine)
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dill

butternut squash

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 C multigrain or panko bread crumbs
  • 1 C unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3 C vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Place the ingredients for the jalapeño ranch in a blender and combine until smooth. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until ready to serve the tacos.
  2. Heat your vegetable oil in a heavy flat-bottomed pot until it reaches 375°F.

  3. Meanwhile, cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the inside seeds and pulp. Peel the skin and tough outer edge off the outsides of the butternut squash. Dice into small pieces approximately 1-inch in size.

  4. In a bowl, mix together bread crumbs with garlic powder, chipotle chili, sea salt, and cumin. Pour nondairy milk into another bowl. In a third bowl, coat the diced pieces of squash in all-purpose flour until well coated.

  5. Take a few floured pieces and submerge in the nondairy milk. From there, take each piece and cover in bread crumbs. You can set them all aside on a plate battered while your oil heats.

  6. Place pieces of battered butternut squash in the hot oil and fry for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Flip pieces half way through if necessary. Remove from the oil with a slotted fryer spoon once a deep golden brown color is achieved, and set the pieces on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Continue frying in batches until all the pieces are cooked.

  7. The tacos pictured here are served with thinly sliced red pepper, diced avocado, and sunflower sprouts, plus extra lime juice.


  • Alejandra Talamantes Ramirez 4 years ago

    I made these this weekend! they turned out sooo tasty! and they were quite easy to make!
    the only thing i changed was the sauce, i didnt make it I just made guacamole and put that on instead!

  • Alex Bruzgo 4 years ago

    Dude… just watched your challenge vid. These look SO bomb. Ugh I love you guys.

    • Skyanne 6 months ago

      omg these are AMAZING. I was skeptical at first but I ended up making these for my grad party. People were nervous and thought they’d have to pretend to like it, but everyone LOVED them and there weren’t any left! My friends and family aren’t vegan and I was worried they’d reject it. I can’t believe how much everyone liked them! My friend asked for the recipe! I know it might sound odd and I had my doubts but trust me, if my southern family and friends liked them, this is a GREAT recipe.

  • Hypatia 4 years ago

    Do you cook the squash before deep frying it?

    • Lauren 4 years ago

      No 🙂 I just made them and you dont need to cook the squash. I put mine in the microwave for a couple of minutes to soften it so its easier to cut and peal but thats it. The oil cooks it 🙂 Just make sure your oil is the right temperature.

  • Lindsay 4 years ago

    Holy damn, Lauren! This is seriously so good. In the keep pile it goes!

  • PAT 4 years ago


    Awesome sauce! These were quick, easy and tasty! Making John’s tacos tomorrow for breakfast.

  • Justin Manning 4 years ago

    You two rock! What brand of taco shells did you use? Thanks 🙂

  • Jamie 4 years ago

    I made the butternut squash tacos last night. I baked the squash on 450 for about twenty minutes. They were so crispy you would never miss the grease from frying them. You have to watch the squash closely as it got a little brown but was still awesome. My husband even liked them!

    • Lauren Toyota 4 years ago

      oh good! Glad you liked them that way and they actually worked. When I did it I found they got a little soggy

  • Roxane 4 years ago

    These were sooooooo good!!!!! Made them last night and will definitely make again and again.

  • Malory 4 years ago

    After craving these for weeks since seeing them on hot for food I finally made them and seriously one of my favorite things I’ve ever eaten…ever! We ended up messing with the recipe a tad because we didn’t have the sprouts and used hard shell tacos, plus put the tiniest shred of mixed montgomery jack and cheddar shredded cheese on top….but wow absolutely fantastic! the green peppers and cilantro complement each other perfectly and the balance of spicy from the ranch sauce with the sweet of the butternut squash…seriously I could keep going, although this is starting to sound like a magazine review lol Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe, defiantly helps to stay on track with transitioning to all vegan family, will defiantly make again!
    Oh, and reminder to myself for next time and to those who are going to try this recipe too, cut the squash into smaller cubes next time so they fit better into tacos. larger ones worked great for bit size dipped in the jalapeno ranch though 😉

  • Heather 3 years ago

    Me and my bedt friend are gonna make these for my family tonight without telling them its vegan. All part of our plan to use your blog to turn my entire family vegan using great tasting food! thanks!

  • Candace 3 years ago

    Lauren, girl! I have no words…SO FREAKING GOOD!! I made this last night and my husband said he probably wasn’t gonna get full because there was no meat. I ended up making 5 tacos for him and by the 3rd taco he was getting full. Had to force himself to eat the last taco. He couldn’t believe it. It was delicious and fulfilling all at the same time. Now that’s my kinda meal. Thank you!!! 😊

  • Erika 3 years ago

    I made the butternut squash tacos last night for dinner with my meat-eating boyfriend. They were a hit! I used frozen squash, which made this recipe super easy.

  • Marisa 3 years ago

    Lauren, I am such a fan of you and now I’m a fan of hot for food! I made these last night and they were amazing. I may be biased because butternut squash is my favourite vegetable, but even my omni husband thought they were delicious.

  • Chewiella 3 years ago

    I made this with my friend over the weekend and holy moley it was the best thing in the world! <3

  • Sarah 2 years ago

    I hardly followed the recipe because I used what I had on hand, but holy cow the results were amazing!! Thanks for guiding me to a killer taco. Lol

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