Recipes that celebrate our Farmers Markets: Vegetarian Tacos with Avocado Sauce

by | Aug 7, 2022

In celebration of National Farmers Market Week we’ve worked with NCDA&CS Marketing Division’s dietician, Freda Butner, to bring you healthy and delicious seasonal recipes that use plenty of ingredients bountiful at farmers markets across the state.  Check out her blog below for a saucy take on vegetarian tacos. 

Summer options will amaze you compared to what you see in supermarkets year-round. Don’t be afraid to try what may appear unusual, or shall we say, atypical fruits and vegetables at your local farmers market. For example, eggplant varieties are in abundance from North Carolina farms. Sure, you’ll see the giant, glossy, dark purple teardrop-shaped vegetable that is familiar.

But one can’t help but notice all the other smaller, different colored, and different shaped eggplants too. Besides seeing how cute they are, they also offer a choice that can wow your family and guests. Smaller ones are easier to store and prepare –simply because of –well, their size! When cooking something different, it becomes more appealing. Variety is an advantage that may entice children to try it and keep your recipes fresh and transformed. All that you are changing is color, size, and shape without having to alter your favorite recipe.

The nutritional profile of all the eggplant varieties you will encounter are mostly the same. Remember, the brighter the color, the more nutrition is present. Eggplant is low in calories and sodium and is a great source of dietary fiber, potassium and B vitamins.

Following the suggestion to be adventurous at the market, try this eggplant recipe that includes a variety of other summer vegetables. Feel free to use your standby taco recipe, sauce, and toppings, but don’t leave out the roasted vegetables! They add the hearty, earthy flavor that makes this recipe a standout.

The recipe is from Love and Lemons. Visit their blog for more vegetarian taco options at

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Vegetarian Tacos with Avocado Sauce


  • 1 small Japanese eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped summer squash
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 6 tortillas
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • chopped cilantro
  • 1 serrano pepper, sliced, optional
  • crumbled cotija cheese, optional
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Avocado Tomatillo Sauce

  • 1/3 cup tomatillo salsa
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 avocado
  • handful of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • lime juice, to taste
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chopped eggplant, squash, red pepper and tomatoes onto the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper and roast 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a food processor, blend together the tomatillo salsa, pepitas, avocado, spinach, olive oil. lime juice and pinches of salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to use.
  3. Assemble the tacos with the black beans. roasted vegetables, diced avocado, cilantro, serrano peppers and cotija cheese. Add generous scoops of the sauce. Serve with extra sauce on the side.


Store extra sauce in the fridge for 2 to 3 days