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Vegetarian Winter Squash Nachos

When that Nacho craving strikes in the colder months, these Vegetarian Winter Squash Nachos will satisfy with delicious seasonal ingredients.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I may prefer my nachos meatless! These Vegetarian Winter Squash Nachos are hearty and delicious while still being light and nutritious. 

I love that these nachos have a subtle sweetness from the roasted squash, a tart juicy bite from the pomegranate, and a hint of spice from the jalapeño sauce. Of course, you’ll also find the ususal suspects like refried beans, scallions, cilantro, and gooey cheese. I also chose to include cotija for a warm cheese, cold cheese contrast and I love what it brought to the dish. 

These Vegetarian Winter Squash Nachos are perfect for a winter game night, a football (or basketball) watch party or even awards show party as we get into that season. Basically, anytime you would crave regular nachos but would like a fun seasonal twist. 

Vegetarian Winter Squash Nachos Ingredients & Subs

For the Jalapeño Sauce
sour cream – you could also do Greek Yogurt
mayonnaise
garlic powder
fresh cilantro
pickled jalapeños
buttermilk – regular milk would also be fine
fresh lime juice
For the Nachos
butternut squash – any winter squash would be great. You could go for pre-chopped or frozen if you like as well. 
tortilla chips — I like using restaurant-style chips, but you can use whatever you prefer. Blue corn, a hint of lime, whatever you like. 
vegetarian refried pinto beans — these only have to be vegetarian if that’s important to you, otherwise, you can use any refried beans. Refried black beans would also be great. 
shredded cheddar cheese — Monterey Jack or a Mexican-style mix would be fine. I do prefer to grate my own as it melts better, but that’s totally up to you. 
cotija cheese — Optional, but I love the salty, cold bite these give the nachos. You could also sub for queso fresco or feta.
pickled jalapeños — you could go fresh here instead, but I didn’t want too much heat and I use picked in the sauce as well so I used them on top.
pomegranate arils — This is what we’re using for a juicy pop in lieu of salsa. If you don’t like pomegranate (WHAT?) pico de gallo would also be delicious, albeit a totally different flavor.
scallions — Pickled or fresh red onion would also be great. I like to soak my sliced fresh red onions in ice water before serving raw so they’re not as intense.
fresh cilantro

 

How to make Vegetarian Winter Squash Nachos

First, prepare the Jalapeño Sauce. In a blender or food processor, puree the sour cream, mayo, garlic powder, cilantro, pickled jalapenos with their juice, buttermilk, and lime juice until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Transfer the cubed butternut squash to a lined baking sheet and toss with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place in a preheated 400°F oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the squash is tender and golden brown.
If you’re like me and don’t want to dirty more dishes, transfer the butternut squash off of the baking sheet and line it with new parchment to build your nachos.
Turn oven up to 425°F. Arrange half of the chips on the baking sheet. Dollop with half of the beans, then half of the shredded cheddar cheese, and half of the roasted butternut squash.
Repeat layering with remaining chips, beans, cheese, and squash. Bake until cheese is melted and gooey, about 5 minutes.
Top the nachos with cotija cheese, pomegranates, pickled jalapeño, scallions, and cilantro. Drizzle with the jalapenño sauce to serve.

Can I use another squash for these Winter Squash Nachos?

Absolutely! Pumpkin, honey nut squash, delicata, or acorn squash all work really well. In fact, if you’re cooking for a party, pick up the most obscure squash you can find and then make it an ice breaker talking point at your get-together. Some (like Delicata) cook quicker than others so just keep an eye on it while roasting to make sure you don’t burn. 

How do I prepare a Butternut Squash?

Butternut squash can be notoriously hard to peel and but into. If your knife isn’t sharp enough, you might just be SOL. I guess that’s my first tip, a sharp knife, and a sharp vegetable peeler.

My second tip is to buy pre-cubed. I’m usually an advocate for doing it yourself, but when it comes to butternut squash, I almost always opt for letting the store do it for me. You can even buy it frozen and steam it if you like.

If you do buy a whole squash, you want to peel it first in big thick ribbons. Once it’s peeled, very carefully stick your knife in and slice it in half vertically. Take a spoon and scoop out all of the seeds and membranes and chop into one-inch cubes. 

More Tex-Mex Favorites!

Creamy Black Bean Chili Dip

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

Blackened Chicken Fajita Soup

Elote Cornbread Salad

Fiesta Shrimp Salad

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Take a browse around the site and please let me know if you make anything by leaving a comment and rating the recipe below. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or requests!

Vegetarian Winter Squash Nachos

Vegetarian Winter Squash Nachos

Yield: 6-8 servings
When that Nacho craving strikes in the colder months, these Vegetarian Winter Squash Nachos will satisfy with delicious seasonal ingredients.

Ingredients

For the Jalapeño Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños + 1/4 cup of the juice from the jar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

For the Nachos

  • 12 oz cubed butternut squash
  • 1 bag Tortilla chips
  • 1 14 oz can vegetarian refried pinto beans
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños
  • 1 cup pomegrante arils
  • scallions, thinly sliced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped, to serve

Instructions

  1. First, prepare the Jalapeño Sauce. In a blender or food processor, puree the sour cream, mayo, garlic powder, cilantro, pickled jalapenos with their juice, buttermilk, and lime juice until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Transfer the cubed butternut squash to a lined baking sheet and toss with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place in a preheated 400°F oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the squash is tender and golden brown.
  3. If you're like me and don't want to dirty more dishes, transfer the butternut squash off of the baking sheet and line it with new parchment to build your nachos.
  4. Turn oven up to 425°F. Arrange half of the chips on the baking sheet. Dollop with half of the beans, then half of the shredded cheddar cheese, and half of the roasted butternut squash.

  5. Repeat layering with remaining chips, beans, cheese, and squash. Bake until cheese is melted and gooey, about 5 minutes.

  6. Top the nachos with cotija cheese, pomegranates, pickled jalapeño, scallions, and cilantro. Drizzle with the jalapenño sauce to serve.

Notes

See the blog post above.

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