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Butternut Squash and Pork Carnitas Tacos

Butternut Squash and Pork Carnitas Tacos

These Butternut Squash and Pork Carnitas Tacos are tasty as can be and perfect for any cozy meal. You’ll find they have great flavor, texture, and color, too.

Welp. My husband did it again with these tacos. Seriously! I don’t know how the simplest of the simple ingredients could turn into such a delicious dish, but they did.

These Pork Carnitas Tacos with Butternut Squash Puree are a whole lot of delicious. The smooth and sweet and creamy puree goes hand-and-glove with the seasoned pork. I’ve got some family members I’m thinking of who don’t eat pork, and I can’t wait to try this same dish with beef.

Pork tenderloin is always so easy to make. I know a lot of you might prefer to use a slow cooker or Instant Pot, but my husband is an oven kinda guy! His take on it is, if he’s home, he might as well use the oven.

If you like pork, try my Blackberry-Jalapeño Glazed Pork Tenderloin. It’s another super-easy dish to make, and it’s big on great flavors.

Perhaps you like your pork a little spicier? If so, try this (exceptionally easy to make) Sriracha-Roasted Pork with Sweet Potatoes. What a great main dish!

But really, all said, it only took a little over 20 minutes to cook this tenderloin for these tacos. If tacos are your thing and you’re looking for a tasty vegetarian taco dish, you’ll love these Butternut Squash, Spinach, and Mushroom Tacos.

My husband cooks dinner almost every night at our house. Hard to believe since I’m a food blogger, but it’s true! He’s definitely a meat and potatoes guy, and I feel like these carnitas tacos are a healthier take on that.

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What’s not to love about that, right? Anytime roasted veggies are involved in my meal I’m a happy camper, so the butternut squash was right up my alley here, even if it was a little unexpected.

I wasn’t really paying any attention to what he was doing the night he made these tacos, so the butternut squash puree paired with pork surprised me a bit. Pleasantly surprised, I should say!

If you’re looking for a fabulous fall dish, get out your pans and make these Pork Carnitas Tacos with Roasted Butternut Squash Puree. You will be pleasantly surprised and happily satisfied!

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Butternut Squash and Pork Carnitas Tacos

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  • Author: Patricia Conte
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x


  • 1 small butternut squash (ends removed and seeds scraped out, cubed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (divided)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (divided, plus one tablespoon)
  • 1 3-pound pork tenderloin
  • 1/3 cup diced white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder or smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 ounces heavy cream
  • Mini tortillas
  • Cotija cheese for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the butternut squash in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until soft and somewhat caramelized. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Slice the tenderloin into three even pieces. Cut away any excess fat from the pork (usually around the outside on a tenderloin).
  3. Season the tenderloin with the remaining salt and black pepper. Add the remaining oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot add the tenderloin pieces. Brown the tenderloin 6-8 minutes on each side. Remove the pork from the Dutch oven and set aside.
  4. Turn the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook for four minutes or until it softens. Add the garlic and cook for 90 seconds or so. Add the stock to the pan, scrap up any brown pieces stuck to the bottom, and add the tomato paste, paprika, chile powder, and cumin.
  5. Add the pork pieces to the Dutch oven. Cover and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until done. The FDA recommends you cook pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. as measured by a meat thermometer.
  6. Remove the pork from the Dutch oven and set aside. Place the Dutch oven with the cooking liquid on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Cook so the liquid reduces by about half.
  7. As the liquid is reducing, add the butternut squash to a blender with the heavy cream. Transfer about 4 ounces of the cooking liquid to the blender, too. Carefully blend until smooth.
  8. Use two forks to shred the pork. Add it to a skillet with a one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes just to give it a touch of crispiness. Return the shredded port to the cooking liquid. Toss to coat.
  9. One by one, prepare the tacos by adding a few tablespoons of the butternut squash puree down the center of each tortilla, add some shredded pork over it, then sprinkle the Cotija cheese over the top.
  10. Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main


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