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Butternut Squash and Smoky Black Bean Burritos with Queso Fresco and Pepitas

Alexandra Grablewski

Yield: Yields 5 burritos

Years ago, I often escaped from work at lunchtime to eat a favorite black bean burrito from a tiny Mexican restaurant down the street. I used that memory to inspire this burrito and added roasted butternut squash and a bit of spice. The combo is really satisfying, especially with the crunch of pepitas and the freshness of cilantro and queso fresco. Serve these cut in half on the diagonal—on their own for lunch, or with a side of rice and a green salad for dinner. And a cold beer or Mexican soda, of course.

This recipe is excerpted from Fresh from the Farm. Read our review.


  • 1-1/4 lb. 1/2-inch diced butternut squash (about 4-1/4 cups)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1/2 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. fresh lime juice, plus one or two lime wedges for assembling
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 2 15-1/2-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp. adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or water seasoned with a pinch of salt)
  • 5 burrito-size (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup (4 oz.) crumbled queso fresco (or a combination of feta and fresh goat cheese)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and/or tender sprigs
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced (optional)


  • Heat the oven to 450°F. Line a large heavy-duty rimmed sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, toss the squash with 2 Tbs. olive oil and 1 tsp. salt. Spread the squash in one layer on the sheet pan. Roast, flipping once or twice with a large spatula, until the squash is tender and nicely browned around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Turn the oven down to 250°F.
  • Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Add the orange juice, 1-1/2 tsp. of the maple syrup, the lime juice, and cinnamon; whisk well until combined and remove from the heat. Drizzle the butter mixture over the roasted squash and toss gently.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook until softened and fragrant. Add the black beans, adobo sauce, the remaining 2 tsp. maple syrup, and the chicken broth or water and stir well. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring frequently until the liquid has been mostly absorbed, another 4 to 6 minutes. (The beans will look a bit creamy.) Remove from the heat and keep partially covered until ready to use.
  • Wrap the tortillas in foil and put in the oven to heat until just warm and pliable, 5 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, warm the tortillas between two damp paper towels in the microwave for a few seconds. Do not over-warm or they will get stiff or rubbery.) Lay all 5 tortillas flat on a counter or other surface.
  • Using a large serving spoon or slotted spoon, spoon a portion (about 1/2 cup) of the warm black beans onto the lower center of each tortilla(the side closest to you), forming a rough shape a little bigger than a deck of cards. Top the beans on each tortilla with a portion of butternut squash, distributing it as evenly as possible. Top the squash on each tortilla with a portion of queso fresco, some of the pepitas, the cilantro, and avocado slices (if using). Squeeze a little lime juice over the filling in each burrito.
  • Wrap each burrito: Start by folding up the bottom (the side closest to you); then fold the two sides in, keeping the filling layered and compact. Then roll the whole burrito tightly over on itself to close it. Cut each burrito in half on a sharp diagonal and arrange the two halves on a plate.


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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • conconconniek | 07/08/2021

    Scanning old recipes and came across this gem. It is such a winner! People are always so surprised but it’s depth of flavor. My daughter is a vegetarian and when she arrives home it’s her number one request! So so good.

  • TruckeeGirl | 04/24/2015

    Delicious!!! This was an immediate favorite in our family. My teenage sons said they could eat this every night. I have made it on several occasions when we have guests, and the reviews are always high. It has so much flavor.

  • nicolemarie | 11/12/2014

    Awesome, unexpected flavors. So simple to make (really 30 minutes), very little clean up and so flavorful :) Don't skip out on the avocado, adds great texture to the dish. Will definitely make again.

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