Smoky salmon butternut squash tacos – A simple and flavorful taco recipe for a quick weeknight meal! ~Wild salmon, smoked paprika, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, lime crema~
Are you ready? Because we’re about to overthink the concept of a taco.
Because, basically, I can’t do anything without overthinking it at least once. So naturally, as I was making these very simple smoky salmon butternut squash tacos, I was complicating them infinitely more by, well, pondering the essence of a taco. If you don’t want to have an existential taco crisis with me, you’re totally welcome to skip down to the recipe. Buuuuut I also think you won’t be sad if you stick around 🙂 even if just to make fun of me for overthinking tacos. Because really?! It’s a taco.
But that’s really my question. Is it just a taco? Because what is a taco, really? What makes a taco, a taco? Are these smoky salmon butternut squash tacos disqualified from the taco family because they don’t have Mexican spices and flavors? Because they aren’t made of ground beef and cheese and shredded lettuce and tomatoes? Can I even call them tacos?! Let’s suppose for argument’s sake that I can. Then what separates them from all the other things that come in a tortilla? Is it how the tortilla is folded? Is the difference between a wrap and a taco really that subtle, that it’s simply distinguished by how the tortilla is folded? I mean, what if I didn’t fold my wrap tightly enough and it came apart slightly in my lunchbox such that it resembled a taco? OMG. Did it become a taco while I wasn’t looking?! Did not see that one coming.
You have to admit, the lines can get pretty blurred when you think about it hard. Like really hard. Like when you’re trying to pinpoint precisely what distinguishes a taco from every other meat + tortilla + veggie + cheese combo. Because think about it: If I told you to close your eyes and eat this — ‘this’ being ground beef + cheese + salsa + avocado + shredded romaine between two crunchy tortilla shells — you’d likely say a taco, right? Or was it nachos stacked in such a way that it felt like a taco “experience”? Ah, the blurry lines of taco distinction…
Oh, wait, Plato totally would have capitalized it. What is a Taco?
Okay, okay… I was completely joking… except for the part about pondering the essence of a taco while making this recipe. That definitely happened. But don’t worry — I promise I know a taco when I see one. What else can I say? Hi I’m Tera and I majored in philosophy and now I’m prone to existential crises for life. Love me anyway?? 🙂 K cool. Glad we had this talk.
Soooo these tacos, though. Smoky salmon butternut squash tacos — with a simple lime crema, of course. They’re very easy, and I think with all of the holiday cooking you’ll coming up, you might need a few nights of simple recipes — just a few ingredients, not a lot of thought. In a taco shell. Yes?
Smoky Salmon Butternut Squash Tacos
Here’s how it’s gonna work.The salmon will be really simple — just brush it with olive oil, and sprinkle on salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika (you KNOW how I love smoked paprika ;P). You’ll bake the salmon, butternut squash, and shredded Brussels sprouts on one sheet pan in the oven. My guess is that the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts will take a bit longer than the salmon, but that doesn’t mean you have to dirty up another dish (though you can if you want!). You’ll just take the salmon off after it’s done, crank up the heat, and let the squash and sprouts get all roasted. If the Brussels sprouts get kind of brown and crispy around the edges, you’re definitely doing it right.
While everything’s roasting, you’ll throw together the lime crema. It’s SUPER easy. So easy I’m not even sure if it counts. (Shh… let’s just say it does). If you don’t want lime crema, you can totally load up the tacos with avocado and/or feta because that would be just as good 🙂
And that’s really it! Like I said, an easy weeknight meal to give you a break from all the cooking and planning that goes into the holiday season.
Plus another excuse to use smoked paprika.
Friends, eat tacos (and maybe don’t think about them too hard… I think I already did that enough for all of us ;)).
Smoky Salmon Butternut Squash Tacos
This smoky salmon and butternut squash taco recipe is super simple and perfect for easy weeknight meals! Salmon flavored with smoked paprika and garlic, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, lime crema.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4-6
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Mexican
- 1 lb wild caught salmon
- olive oil
- dash of salt
- 2 tsp garlic powder, plus more for the lime crema
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 medium butternut squash (or 3 cups pre-cubed squash)
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, shredded
- 1 cup full fat plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- juice and zest of two limes
- corn tortillas
- optional for topping: feta, avocado, cilantro
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
- For the salmon: Brush salmon with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika so that it covers the top of the salmon evenly.
- For the squash & sprouts: Cut the ends off of the butternut squash and slice it in half. You can scoop out the seeds before or after it’s done cooking. Brush the flat side of the squash with olive oil and give it a generous pinch of salt. Place it face down on the sheet pan with the salmon. Toss shredded Brussels sprouts in olive oil and salt, and place on the sheet pan, distributing evenly across any open surface area.
- Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until salmon is done. Remove salmon from sheet pan and return to the oven for 15-20 more minutes. Check about halfway through to be sure the Brussels sprouts aren’t burned (they’ll cook more quickly when shredded). Remove them from the sheet pan if necessary, otherwise let everything cook until slightly browned and the squash is cooked through completely. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting squash into cubes.
- For the lime crema: While the salmon and veggies are in the oven, whisk together yogurt (or sour cream), lime juice, zest, and a dash of garlic powder (adjust to taste… but start small so you don’t overdo it ;)).
- Assemble the tacos: Warm the corn tortillas a bit if you’d like, then just layer salmon, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts in each one. Top with lime crema, cilantro, avocado, and/or feta. (I kinda like all of it on at once… :))