Pumpkin Chicken Tacos

I warned you. More pumpkin. If I had my way, I’d post a new pumpkin recipe 2 times a week until the end of November. But I’ll try to be respectful to those of you who might not be as crazy as me (YOU exist?!). But you know what? I really can’t think of anything pumpkin doesn’t go with. This post is proof of that.

I have a love/hate relationship with We are not Martha’s ingredient photos. On the one hand, I think they’re beautiful, helpful tools for our readers to quickly learn what they need for a particular recipe. On the other hand, they’re really kinda binding. I mean, I’m already a rules girl enough, but now I have to commit to using certain ingredients before even starting to cook or bake a recipe? Doesn’t allow for much creative freedom, does it?

I often find myself wanting to add ingredients and take ingredients out while I’m in the midst of cooking something. I’m a big taster and when something tastes good, I might add more. And when it’s not good, I make changes. And then I’m left with a disaster of a photo, featuring ingredients that came from who knows where. And then I freak out because, you know, it’s like I broke some rules. My point is, don’t put 100% faith into the ingredient photos here at WANM. Especially in a recipe like this, where really? There are so many things you can add and take out depending on your tastes.

Just make sure you have a taste for pumpkin. Because that part is kind of important. I could eat tacos every night. Which is why when pumpkin tacos popped into my head, I knew they had to be done. I decided chicken would be a good addition, but if you’re a vegetarian, you could probably just use extra pumpkin.

Pumpkin Chicken Tacos (makes 6):

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 peppers (I used 1 red and 1 green), chopped
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 lb. chicken breast (I used tenderloins), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin, 15 oz.
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 2 C frozen corn
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Couple handfulls spinach
  • Cilantro (optional)


To get started, chop the peppers and onions. I used one red and one green because I like my tacos to be pretty colors. But that’s probably just me.


Sautee them in a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook until soft and golden.


I cut the chicken into more manageable, bite-sized pieces and sauteed them in a tiny bit of olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on there, too.


While the chicken was cooking, I chopped up two jalapenos. I LOVE a bit (a lot) of heat in my food, so I didn’t discard the seeds or anything silly like that. But everybody is different, so add at your discretion. Also, wear gloves when cutting jalapenos at your discretion. And take out your contact lenses before cutting jalapenos at your discretion. Ahem.


The chicken is just about cooked through!


So, add the jalapenos.


Now add in the can of pumpkin! Yum. I love this part.


Stir the pumpkin in and cook it all a bit longer. Make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.


In the meantime, put your 2 cups of corn in a frying pan (I used the same one I cooked the peppers and onions in and moved those to a bowl) and cook over low heat.


While you’re waiting, chop some tomatoes and trim some spinach (if you choose!)


Heat your tortillas a bit too. I stuck mine in the oven for a few minutes on low heat.

Now, build your tacos! I put some chicken and pumpkin on the tortilla, along with pepper and onion, and corn.


Obviously, some super sharp cheddar cheese.


And then sprinkle tomatoes and spinach on top. You can add cilantro on, too. Like I forgot to do. Sour cream might be a nice touch if you’re into that, too.


Oh my. This is Mexican food taken to a whole new level.


If tacos remind you of summer, then this taco will bring you straight into autumn. Full force. These just made me so happy. I mean, the slightly sweet pumpkin with the slightly roasted corn and the sharpness of the cheddar was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I never imagined pumpkin would intercept with my Mexican food. But it did. And it was glorious.


Speaking of tacos, I’ll be in Austin, Texas, in exactly 2 weeks and I’m incredibly crazy excited! Let me know if you have any local food tips, though I’ll be quite busy since I’ll be spending 3 days at Austin City Limits. I haven’t been to Texas since I was 15 and I can’t wait to go back. And you know me, I’m planning on eating my way through the city when I’m not listening to fabulous music :)

Yay for Mexican food! Yay for pumpkin! Yay for the first day of fall being 85 degrees. I guess.

Seriously, though, is there anything pumpkin isn’t good with? Tell me!



  • I admit I was a bit skeptical at first, but I shouldn’t have been — sounds like a must-make. I know I’ve also seen a poblano pepper filled with pumpkin before, sort of like a riff on chiles rellenos. Really healthy, too, with all of those veggies! Oh, and ps, you can continue with the pumpkin recipes. I LOVE pumpkin and can’t wait until (Canadian) Thanksgiving so I have an excuse to try out a recipe I have for pumpkin cake.

    September 22, 2010 10:25 pm
  • Erica said:

    owwwwww…I’m making quesadillas tomorrow night, I may need to throw some pumpkin in there! I thought pumpkin would never be good in a spicy soup until I made one last year! I’d be ok with lots and lots of pumpkin recipes btw!

    September 22, 2010 10:26 pm
  • oh my goodness. i am so excited about this recipe. it combines two of my favorite things: mexican and pumpkin. ahhh i need to make this now! genius!

    September 22, 2010 10:44 pm
  • joan said:

    Never would have thought of this, but it sounds really good!

    September 22, 2010 11:46 pm
  • sophia said:

    I’ve made pumpkin chicken enchiladas before. tHey were AWESOME. so, I totally agree: when in doubt, so go pumpkin. Can’t go wrong!!

    September 23, 2010 3:47 am
  • what a creative way to add pumpkin in!

    September 23, 2010 7:59 am
  • newlywed said:

    This looks awesome! I love pumpkin too.

    September 23, 2010 8:12 am
  • This looks awesome! Totally have to try it. Great idea :)

    September 23, 2010 8:25 am
  • I would seriously never think to make pumpkin chicken tacos. I love pumpkin so keep these great recipes coming!

    And I totally hear you about the jalapenos and contacts. No matter how many times you wash your hands, it always burns when I take my contacts out at the end of the night!

    September 23, 2010 8:52 am
  • Shannon said:

    fabulous!! not something i would’ve come up with on my own, but now i’m totally trying it :)

    September 23, 2010 9:15 am
  • rebeccaj said:

    seriously? wow, this looks amazing. did you see poe’s kitchen’s new menu with pumpkin all over it? YUM.

    September 23, 2010 9:58 am
  • I love pumpkin in savory food. Pumpkin chili is mighty delicious, as is pumpkin cream sauce (made with ricotta and parmesan) for pasta!


    September 23, 2010 10:17 am
  • Ahh those look delicious! I am obsessing over pumpkin and butternut squash right now…thinking of trying them in smoothies soon!

    September 23, 2010 10:52 am
  • brandi said:

    yum! I would NEVER think to put pumpkin in tacos! I don’t know if my husband would go for this, but I think it looks delicious :)

    September 23, 2010 11:12 am
  • Priscilla said:

    Oh my Gosh!! that looks absolutely amazing!!! I loved the colors and the chicken and pumpkin combination, yum yum yuuuummm.

    Have a great day!

    September 23, 2010 11:35 am
  • Pam said:

    These look creative and tasty! Nicely done.

    September 23, 2010 11:59 am
  • maggie said:

    I definitely appreciate the ingredient photos if there’s an unusual ingredient – it helps me know what to look for in the grocery store!

    I can’t really imagine what these taste like, but I might try them. I had sweet potato/black bean burritos a couple years ago – equally unusual, but delicious!

    September 23, 2010 12:29 pm
  • Dani said:

    WOW these look great! I usually use my pumpkin in sweet stuff but you have inspired me to try it in mexican food, thank you!!

    September 23, 2010 1:12 pm
  • Monique said:

    hmmm really thinking about what pumpkin might be nasty with… cant think of any

    I love the ingredients pic but i like reading what you add and dont add because sometimes recipes develop on their own, and i aint mad at ya for that :-)

    September 23, 2010 2:43 pm
  • Oh yum!! I always use pumpkin for sweet dishes but this is such a nice spin. And some very beautiful foodie photography of the final product!

    September 23, 2010 2:47 pm
  • Ari said:

    Advice for Austin eating during ACL: hit up the food trucks (I recommend Flip Happy Crepes and Hey Cupcake)! And be sure to get some barbeque!

    September 23, 2010 2:50 pm
  • Daisy said:

    You’re a genious. Pumpkin is apparently good in everything. i can’t wait to have a pumpkin martini.

    September 23, 2010 4:44 pm
  • Daisy said:

    PS Where did you get the Pumpkin Puree?!

    September 23, 2010 4:45 pm
  • so so so so so yummy! i love how well pumpkins and other squashes hold up to strong flavors. and the phrase “squash taco” is making me giggle really hard!

    September 23, 2010 4:46 pm
  • Sues said:

    @Daisy- I stocked up last year in case I had trouble this year :) I need more already though, so I’ll let you know where I see it!

    September 23, 2010 5:33 pm
  • megan said:

    I never would have thought to combine pumpkin and tacos! I really wish I had some pumpkin to play around with. i just used my last can last week for whoopie pies though :( (although they were worth it)

    September 23, 2010 8:28 pm
  • I made pumpkin lasagna once that my kids didn’t like. It wasn’t awful, just very bland. Maybe it needed jalapenos – without the seeds, or contacts.

    September 23, 2010 9:52 pm
  • Kat said:

    I love pumpkin, but my husband refuses to eat it. This might change his mind… hmm. I wonder if I can get it into the tacos, and into his mouth, without him knowing in advance that it’s there.

    September 24, 2010 10:32 am
  • nothing wrong with pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin!

    September 25, 2010 3:00 am
  • Brooke said:

    Those look amazing. It seems like one of those recipes that should be in that Deceptively Delicious cookbook. :) I bet a vegetarian version would work as well.

    September 25, 2010 12:35 pm
  • I looooove pumpkin, but never thought of adding it to tacos before. I am definitely giving this one a try! Fall dinners are the best :)

    September 26, 2010 11:12 pm
  • Sharlene said:

    How clever is this dish?! LOVE IT!

    September 28, 2010 10:44 pm
  • Um, I will be making this tomorrow. What a brilliant idea! I, too, will eat pumpkin every chance I get when it’s in season and everywhere!

    October 1, 2010 12:30 am

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