Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Caramelized Butternut Squash / by Chelsea Zwieg

I go through phases with certain foods. I'll be totally indifferent about something for years and then, all of the sudden, completely obsessed. Tacos are one of those foods. I was never crazy about them. Then one day, while I was living in Chicago, I bought a certain brand of corn tortillas for a recipe and I was hooked. For the next few months, everything I made was in these corn tortillas. Breakfast tacos with eggs and avocado. Broccoli and cheese tacos when I had nothing else in my fridge. Eaten straight out the bag. Things got creative and these corn tortillas and I were close. 

So imagine my surprise (and complete over-reaction) when I found the same corn tortillas on the shelf at the grocery store in my new town. Trust me, this is nothing short of a work of God, since the grocery store here is usually out of things like lettuce...and milk...and bread. But fear not, the taco party has now arrived in Tennessee. 

The chicken in these tacos was inspired by a recipe from Half Baked Harvest, one of my favorite blogs. It was originally used in a chili where you sauté the onions, garlic and spices in a pan and then coat the shredded chicken with it before adding the broth. The chili was amazing but the chicken itself was so good that I've made it on its own a few times since to put on sandwiches, in other soups and now, on tacos. 

And then there's butternut squash. It's roasted and caramelized and absolutely addicting. This is a quick and easy fall dinner and, if you're lucky, it might just cause you to fall hard for tacos again. Or maybe that's just me. 

Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Caramelized Butternut Squash 

Chicken adapted from Half Baked Harvest 

Makes about 10 tacos

Ingredients |

  • 3 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 chipotle chilis in adoba sauce, chopped 
  • 1 tsp. adobo cauce  
  • 4 cups butternut squash, diced 
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Corn tortillas, warmed
  • For serving (optional): jalapeños, cotija or feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, lime wedges 


  • Preheat oven to 325. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Shred chicken and set aside
  • Increase oven heat to 425. In a bowl toss squash with 2 tbsp. oil, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until squash is tender the sugar begins to caramelize
  • Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet and sauté onion over medium heat until soft and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes
  • Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, 3 tbsp. brown sugar, chilis and adobo sauce and sauté about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low, add the chicken and stir until it is coated. Cook until the chicken is infused with the spices and begins to sizzle
  • Warm the corn tortillas and fill with chicken and squash. Serve with jalapenos, cheese, pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of lime juice