Spaghetti Squash Tacos

vegetarian tacos tinga style

Spaghetti Squash Tacos (Tinga Style) is a vegetarian taco inspired by Pollo de Tinga. This Mexican inspired classic has deep flavors from Guajillo Chilis, onion and tomato. It can be eaten as a taco or with rice…or any way you wish!

Spaghetti squash Tinga is a great alternative for vegetarian tacos or tostadas and can be accompanied with all the traditional fixings. We love to eat ours with some pico de gallo, black beans & spicy salsa verde.

If you want to have a traditional Mexican taco night, be sure to get yourself some corn tortillas and Queso Oaxaca.

Looking for some more recipes with Guajillo Chilis? Check out this one.

vegetarian tacos tinga style
Spaghetti Squash Tinga Style
Print Recipe
Spaghetti Squash Tinga Style is a vegetarian dish inspired by Pollo de Tinga. This Mexican inspired classic has deep flavors from Guajillo Chilis, onion and tomato and can be eaten with rice, on a taco or any way you wish! Spaghetti squash Tinga is a great alternative for vegetarian tacos or tostadas and can be accompanied with all the traditional fixings. We love to eat ours with some pico de gallo, black beans & spicy salsa verde.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
vegetarian tacos tinga style
Spaghetti Squash Tinga Style
Print Recipe
Spaghetti Squash Tinga Style is a vegetarian dish inspired by Pollo de Tinga. This Mexican inspired classic has deep flavors from Guajillo Chilis, onion and tomato and can be eaten with rice, on a taco or any way you wish! Spaghetti squash Tinga is a great alternative for vegetarian tacos or tostadas and can be accompanied with all the traditional fixings. We love to eat ours with some pico de gallo, black beans & spicy salsa verde.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
Spaghetti Squash
  1. Half each spaghetti squash and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Place on a baking sheet, face down, and roast in the oven at 450 for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Once squash is slightly soft, take out of the oven and let cool. Once completely cooled, use a fork to scrap the flesh out. The flesh will naturally come out in strings.
    spaghetti squash vegetarian tacos
Tinga Sauce
  1. Place dried chilies, cumin & coriander in a small pot with 2 cups of water. Let simmer for 20 minutes while squash cooks.
    guajillo chilis for Mexican tinga sauce
  2. Heat 3 T olive oil in a separate pot and add sliced onions in batches to caramelize. When caramelizing onions, be sure to cook in small batches. If the pot is too crowded or not hot enough, the onions will steam and not get brown. Continue cooking onions adding more as the previous batch is complete. Be sure to season each batch with salt and pepper.
  3. After chilies & spices have simmered, add to a blender or food processor with 4 tomatoes. Season with salt and blend until liquid. (I usually quarter the tomatoes before adding to the blender/processor.)
  4. Once your sauce is blended and onions are caramelized, pour your sauce into the onion pot and simmer 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally and season with salt/pepper if necessary.
  5. Combine sauce, shredded squash and chopped cilantro together. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Be sure to season at every step and taste as you go!

This recipe is all about building and coaxing flavors, so slow and steady will always give you a more flavorful product.

Pro Tip for Timing:

  1. Put squash in the oven
  2. Put chilies and spices in the pot
  3. Cook your onions with the above is cooking
  4. Pull out your squash and turn off your chilies
  5. Blend your sauce & add to the onion pot
  6. While sauce is simmering, shred your squash with a fork

**Doing this recipe in those steps will make the different steps feel less overwhelming!

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Balsamic Marinated Summer Veggies

There are many vegetables at the market that grow in abundance in the Summer.

Squash, Zucchini, Peppers, Eggplant – These veggies are cheap. Unfortunately, many people don’t like them or don’t know how to make them SUPER yummy so that they enjoy them.

My secret – This is the ONLY way I will eat these particular veggies.

As with all of my recipes, measurements are NOT important. I always urge you to taste as you go and use your instincts.  You know what you like!

Balsamic Marinated Summer Veggies

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This simple & fast marinated veggie recipe can be made ahead of time and eaten all week. You can also use the let over marinade as a dressing!

Add some cooked Quinoa, Cous cous or Rice for a full lunch.

Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes

Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes

Balsamic Marinated Summer Veggies

Print Recipe

This simple & fast marinated veggie recipe can be made ahead of time and eaten all week. You can also use the let over marinade as a dressing!

Add some cooked Quinoa, Cous cous or Rice for a full lunch.

Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes

Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes

Ingredients
Balsamic Marinade (aka. dressing)

Veggies


Servings: people

Instructions
Marinade
  1. Add all ingredients to a jar and season with salt & pepper. Shake it up.

Roasted Veggies
  1. Load all the cut veggies in a bowl and pour the marinade over the top.

    (Peppers - simply cut off the sides for large pieces)

  2. Let sit for 10 minutes.

  3. Place all veggies on a baking sheet. Be sure to not crowd the pan and do not let them overlap.

    (This will ensure that they will brown and not steam)

  4. Place in a 450 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes until they are tender.

    No need to flip or move the veggies.

  5. Enjoy with a salad or as a side dish. Finish with some of the left over marinade as a dressing!

Recipe Notes

The veggies for this recipe are also really great if grilled! -- Just be sure to cut the pieces lengthwise so they don't fall through the grill.

Add these veggies to some cooked quinoa, cous cous or brown rice for a delicious Summer salad.

Marinade will last weeks in your fridge!

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5 Spice Braised Pork Tacos

Chili braised pork or 5 spice tacos bring different ideas to the table instead of just Mexican.

Everyone’s familiar with Mexican flavors in tacos, but these 5 spice tacos use braised pork and Asian seasonings to knock it out of the park!

I can eat tacos for days, but 5 spice tacos are a welcome change of pace from the traditional Mexican flavors we all love.

I like to serve these 5 spice tacos with a big bowl of crunchy slaw on the side. You can swap in vegetables with whatever you have on hand.

Want a an even healthier version? Try swapping out tortillas for cabbage leaves! You get similar flavor and crunch with none of the carbs. (Even my kids love tacos in cabbage leaves!)

As with all Connected Chef recipes, let your kitchen and instincts guide you as you cook. The ingredient amount below are used as a starting off point; taste as you go and reseason as needed!

Chili braised pork or 5 spice tacos bring different ideas to the table instead of just Mexican.
5 Spiced Braised Pork Tacos
Print Recipe
I can eat tacos for days, but these 5 spice tacos are a welcome change of pace from the traditional Mexican flavors we all love. I sometimes will swap out tortillas for cabbage leaves. Even my kids eat it!
Chili braised pork or 5 spice tacos bring different ideas to the table instead of just Mexican.
5 Spiced Braised Pork Tacos
Print Recipe
I can eat tacos for days, but these 5 spice tacos are a welcome change of pace from the traditional Mexican flavors we all love. I sometimes will swap out tortillas for cabbage leaves. Even my kids eat it!
Ingredients
Shredded Pork
Rice
Servings:
Instructions
Shredded Pork
  1. Preheat the oven to 300*F. Pat the pork butt dry with a paper towel, then rub all over with the 5 spice, salt and pepper.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or saute pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat 4-5 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the pork to the pan and sear until dark golden brown on all sides.
  3. Remove pork from the pan and set aside. Add the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and carrot to the pan. Char and slightly cook the vegetables, about 3-5 minutes, then remove vegetables from the pan and set aside.
  4. Deglaze the pan with bottle of beer, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Place the pork back to the pan, and add in enough water to cover the pork by about 3/4, then add the charred vegetables. Cover the pan and set in the oven.
  6. Cook at 275-300 degrees for 3-4 hours, until pork is falling apart. (You should be able to put your fork in the pork and pull it apart without any resistance)
  7. Once cooked, let everything cool in the braising liquid. (I often make 1-2 days ahead and put the whole pot in the fridge to cool. If that is the case, just warm the pork up when you are ready to shred it.)
  8. Shred pork and strain braising liquid, discarding the vegetables. Then, add pork back to the strained liquid. You may need to reheat gently if it has cooled completely, but make sure the liquid does not boil while you are reheating.
Slaw
  1. Julienne all veggies, except Napa cabbage, in equal amounts
  2. Pick stems from cilantro & mint leaves and add to salad
  3. Season with salt & pepper & add lime juice to your liking
  4. Pick Napa Cabbage leaves for taco shells. You can cut out the core of the leaf for easier folding
Rice
  1. Saute garlic, ginger & onion in olive oil (Use a heavy amount of olive oil)
  2. Add rice and toast. If you need to add more oil at this point to coat the rice, do not be afraid to do so.
  3. Once the rice is a golden brown color, add 4 cups water and stir
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer
  5. Stir occasionally until rice is tender
Recipe Notes

If your rice is undercooked and all your water is absorbed, it is ok to add a little more water in the middle of the cooking process!

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Chimichurri

Chimichurri sauce is a zesty, flavorful addition to grilled meats or veggies! I love to make a big batch and keep it on hand in the fridge; it jazzes up any boring meal, plus it will keep for a long time if tightly covered.

You don’t have to stick with the exact herbs I have measured here; as long as you have the vinegar to oil ratio correct, feel free to play around with the herbs and the spice to your own taste. Chimichurri sauce is really just a bright and herby marinade, so allow yourself to get a little creative with the ingredients!

I really love serving this chimichurri on grilled steak or chicken, with a side of corn salsa. 

Chimichurri
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This bright and herby sauce is a great addition to any dish and will make your most boring meal exciting again!
Chimichurri
Print Recipe
This bright and herby sauce is a great addition to any dish and will make your most boring meal exciting again!
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Chop herbs & combine in a bowl (I usually use equal amounts of each, but feel free to add more/less of what you like. Feel free to substitute other herbs!)
  2. Chop the bell pepper and tomato into small dice.
  3. Combine all ingredients with olive oil. You want enough oil so that the herbs are “swimming”. Add olive oil to coat the herbs, then add a bit more.
  4. Add a splash of red wine vinegar just until you taste the acid come through the vinegar. It is not a vinaigrette; it should not be very acidic. You want just enough to cut the oil.
  5. Season with salt and pepper
Recipe Notes

**As for measurements: This is an herb heavy sauce. It should be 50% herbs & 50% everything else.
As for mint, it is a strong herb so only a small bit is necessary.

You can make variations of this recipe by using different add in and/or different herbs.

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Thai Marinated Chicken with Coconut Rice & Thai-Inspired Slaw

The marinade for this Thai chicken allows you to get a little creative in the kitchen, and the accompanying slaw is the same!

Use the proportions of the marinade ingredients below according to how much chicken you should make, and think about the final flavor of the dish; since this is both a marinade as well as the sauce the chicken cooks in, you have some room to wiggle a little with amounts and measurements.

Try to remember the balance of acidity (lime juice), salt (soy sauce) and sweetness (honey), with just enough fresh cilantro to open up the flavor and zingy ginger and garlic to add bite.  As with all Connected Chef recipes, we encourage you to use all your senses as you cook!

The coconut rice that goes with the Thai marinated chicken and slaw is also easier than it looks, especially when you think about the process of rice cooking. Cooking the rice in coconut milk gives it a creamy flavor that’s hard to beat, and it rounds out the entire dish nicely.

Toss the slaw together using whatever crispy, fresh vegetables you have on hand. Each of the different textures of the different vegetables will work well together, especially when you tie them together with a garlicky vinegar dressing.

This Thai marinated chicken and sides is one of my favorite recipes to teach in my classes, since it covers so many different aspects of the kitchen and requires you to use each of your senses throughout the entire process. It’s a great recipe to get kids cooking along with you!

Marinated Chicken, Coconut Rice & Thai Slaw
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This will be you GO TO dinner meal. Every client tells me how much this meal changed their life. Enjoy!
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
15 min
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
15 min
Marinated Chicken, Coconut Rice & Thai Slaw
Print Recipe
This will be you GO TO dinner meal. Every client tells me how much this meal changed their life. Enjoy!
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
15 min
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
Coconut Rice
Thai Slaw
Servings: people
Instructions
Thai Marinade
  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk: Start with soy sauce as the base, and then add each ingredient one at a time, tasting as you go.
  2. Add chicken to the marinade and set aside for at least 20-30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  3. When chicken is ready to be cooked, sear in batches with marinade & season with salt & pepper
Coconut Rice
  1. Fine chop garlic, onion, ginger & sauté in pan with a heavy amount of oil.
  2. Add rice & toast (make sure there is enough oil to coat the rice)
  3. Once rice is toasted brown, add coconut milk & water
  4. Season heavily with salt & some pepper
  5. Once boiling, stir & bring down heat
  6. Stir occasionally until cooked through.
  7. **Be sure to be tasting rice as it cooks and adjusting seasoning. You can always add a bit of water if you need more liquid throughout the cooking process.
Thai Slaw
  1. Julienne all veggies (cut into thin strips).
  2. Pick herbs from stem & tear into slaw
  3. Dress with some lime juice, salt & pepper to taste.
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Corn Salsa

I love this corn salsa, especially in the summertime! It’s a really bright and fun flavor, with great texture from the sweet corn kernels. It’s a perfect side for grilled foods and tastes even better the day after it’ made.

If you’re not a big fan or cilantro, feel free to change it up for a different herb! I’ve had success using mint, basil, even tarragon instead.

If you can’t get your hands on fresh corn, frozen (thawed) or canned corn kernels will work as a substitute.

This corn salsa is a great side to bring to a potluck party. We often will serve it with Chili Braised Pork Tacos & Salsa

Corn Salsa
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Corn Salsa
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Grill corn & cut off the cob.
  2. If you’d like to roast the peppers: place the whole pepper over a direct flame until the outside is completely charred. Place in a covered bowl or plastic bag for 5 min to sweat. Peel off charred skin and discard. Julienne or slice peppers.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
  4. Season with Salt & Pepper
Recipe Notes

***This salsa is great served with steak, chicken, ribs….anything!

It's even better the day after it's made, so it's a perfect a make-ahead option for a cookout with friends. We'll also serve this corn salsa on the side with tacos.

If you can't get your hands on fresh corn, frozen (thawed) or canned corn kernels will work as a substitute.

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Chili Braised Pork Tacos & Salsa

Chili braised pork or 5 spice tacos bring different ideas to the table instead of just Mexican.

These chili braised pork tacos are one of my family’s all-time favorite recipes, and one that I’ll often make in my cooking classes as well!

Chili braised pork tacos are practically foolproof and very popular – making this the perfect party meal, make-ahead dinner option, or simple Sunday dish. The chili-braised pork tastes better the longer it sits, too, so make a big batch and freeze some for later if you get the chance.

The base of this dish, the pork shoulder, follows along the guidelines I’ve laid out in the braising section. Remember that the perfect braise builds a flavor that works along with the rest of the ingredients it’s paired with; turn a cheap cut of meat into the star attraction with just a few simple tricks!

Chili-braised pork tacos and salsa are great on their own, but if you’re looking for a different side, I really recommend this simple corn salsa.

Chili braised pork or 5 spice tacos bring different ideas to the table instead of just Mexican.
Chili Braised Pork Tacos & Salsa
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Chili braised pork or 5 spice tacos bring different ideas to the table instead of just Mexican.
Chili Braised Pork Tacos & Salsa
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Ingredients
Chili Braised Pork
Pico de Gallo
Spice Rub
Servings:
Instructions
Chili Braised Pork
  1. Coat pork in spice rub & salt, pepper. (You will have left over rub. Keep it in a jar for another dish/time!)
  2. Sear pork in a dutch oven or saute pan until dark, golden brown on all sides.
  3. Remove pork and add all veggies. Cook until charred and slightly cooked
  4. Deglaze with bottle of beer
  5. Put pork back into dutch oven & add enough water until pork is ¾ covered. (If you don’t have a dutch oven & have seared your pork & veggies in a sauté pan, place everything in an oven safe pot & cover.)
  6. Cook at 275-300 degrees for 3-4 hours, until pork is falling apart. (You should be able to put your fork in the pork and pull it apart without any resistance)
  7. Once cooked, let everything cool in the braising liquid.
  8. I often make 1-2 days ahead and put the whole pot in the fridge to cool. If that is the case, just warm the pork up when you are ready to shred it.
  9. Shred pork and strain braising liquid. Then, add pork to the strained liquid. You may need to reheat everything slightly if it has cooled completely. (Don't boil when reheating, you will toughen the meat)
Pico de Gallo
  1. Dice tomato, avocado, onion jalapeno & cilantro
  2. Mix with lime juice & season generously with salt/pepper
Recipe Notes

There are no quantities for the PICO DE GALLO. That is because you can make it to your own liking.

I typically like my Pico de gallo heavy on the lime and cilantro, but it's a personal choice.

TASTE AS YOU GO and remember you can always add more of an ingredient!

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