For a crowd-pleasing vegetarian dinner, try Roasted Root Vegetable Tacos topped with plant-based Sunflower Seed Queso sauce.
Every year around this time, our neighbor gifts us a bounty of fresh root vegetables from his garden. Russets, purple potatoes, beets, and carrots of all colors. All grown at 8,500 feet. It's pretty amazing.
Roasting was my (obvious) first choice when it came to how to eat them.
I love that roasting is relatively easy and hands-off, but the real benefit is the flavor (and color) that you get when you brown the surface of the food in a hot oven.
I usually set the temperature somewhere between 400-450º F when I'm roasting. The right temperature will depend on the size and type of food you're cooking, but you're looking for a result that's brown and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Delicious.
For hearty root veggies, like the potatoes, carrots, and beets I used for these tacos, I like to roast all the way up at 450º F. This makes the process as speedy as possible and supports maximum browning. (🙌)
Once roasted, these crispy and tender root vegetables are ideal for tacos.
Especially when they're topped with warm Sunflower Seed Queso sauce. So good.
How to Make Sunflower Seed Queso
Since you make it with sunflower seeds instead of the more commonly used cashews or almonds, this vegan queso is also great for anyone who has a nut allergy.
To make it:
First, you need to soak sunflower seeds in water for at least an hour. This helps soften the seeds and make the cheese sauce smooth and creamy. Use raw (not roasted and salted) sunflower seed kernels for this recipe.
Once the sunflower seeds are soaked, drain sunflower seeds from soaking liquid and transfer to a blender container.
Add soy milk (or any milk you have on hand), nutritional yeast (this provides the cheesy flavor), chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (don't rinse off the sauce!), onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
Blend this mixture on high for about three minutes. You may need to pause to scrape the edges of the blender container with a spatula. Just keep blending until the mixture is smooth and creamy. If it's not mixing well, try adding a little more soy milk or water and blend again.
Once the queso is blended, heat the sauce in a saucepan over low-medium heat.
At this point, the queso sauce should be smooth and creamy, but it may be a little bit thicker than you'd like for drizzling over tacos.
Try whisking in a tablespoon of water. Repeat as needed until you reach your desired consistency for the sauce.
Keep the queso warm over the stovetop, stirring every few minutes and thinning with water as needed, until the root vegetables are ready.
How to Make Roasted Root Vegetable Tacos
What are Examples of Root Vegetables?
You can use a mix of any of these root veggies to make tacos:
Since you can mix and match based on what you have, these root vegetable tacos are helpful for minimizing food waste.
How to Roast Root Vegetables:
- Preheat the oven to 450º F
- Chop 4 cups of root vegetables into one-inch pieces
- Mix root vegetables with oil, spices (I like cumin for tacos), and salt
- Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to the oven
- Roast 35 minutes, or until the vegetables are crispy and starting to brown on the edges
What's the best way to serve Root Vegetable Tacos?
Start by spooning the roasted root vegetables onto the center of each tortilla.
Then drizzle the warm queso cheese sauce on top.
Finally, garnish with any of your favorite taco toppings. I like cilantro, green onions, jalapeño peppers, and lime wedges.
Can you make these root vegetable tacos ahead of time? What's the best way to store them?
I've been reheating leftovers nonstop, so this is definitely something you can make ahead of time if you want.
Store the roasted root vegetables and sunflower seed queso in separate airtight containers and refrigerate. Then wait to assemble with the tortillas and toppings until the day of.
A note on making the queso sauce in advance:
The Sunflower Seed Queso tends to thicken over time in the fridge. Just whisk in a tablespoon of water, or more, if needed, until you reach the right consistency. Before serving, reheat queso sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Looking for more Mexican-inspired recipes?
Try these plant-based ideas:
- Black Bean Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Easy Tempeh Burrito Bowls
- Spinach Mushroom Walnut Enchiladas
- Blended Mango Matcha Margaritas
- Crunchy Avocado Tacos
Root Vegetable Tacos with Sunflower Seed Queso
Sunflower Seed Queso:
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked (see note)
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk or unsweetened milk of choice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 tablespoons water or as needed
- 4 cups chopped root vegetables (1-inch pieces), such as russet potato, sweet potato, carrots, and beets
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or cooking oil of choice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit while sunflower seeds are soaking.
Prepare Sunflower Seed Queso:
- Drain sunflower seeds from soaking liquid and transfer to a blender container. Add soy milk, nutritional yeast, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt to the blender container. Cover and blend on high 3 minutes, pausing as needed to scrape the edges with a spatula, or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Pour the blended mixture into a saucepan over low-medium heat. Whisk with 4 tablespoons water, or as much water as you need to reach your desired consistency for the sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until ready to serve. Adjust the heat as needed throughout cooking.
Prepare Root Vegetables:
- In the meantime, mix chopped root vegetables with grapeseed oil, cumin, and salt. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to the center rack of the oven. Cook 35 minutes, or until the vegetables are crispy and starting to brown on the edges.
- Spoon roasted root vegetables onto the center of each tortilla. Drizzle warm queso sauce on top. Garnish with cilantro, green onions, jalapeño peppers, and lime wedges if desired.
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Did you try this recipe?
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