The first time I had sweet potato black bean tacos was at Watercourse Foods, an awesome vegetarian restaurant here in Denver. Ever since then I was smitten. Sweet potatoes? Spicy food? What? Oh yes.
Actually, I’d been thinking about this recipe before I knew Joy the Baker did it, and before I knew there were a slew of variations online. So you know what? I’m not going to credit anyone but Watercourse and my own ingenuity. Sometimes you just have to take what you want!
Let me start by saying two things. One, my usual schpiel about how this recipe is awesome and healthy and vegetarian: nothing but veggies, protein and healthy plant-based fats. Mega win. Two, since this was a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of recipe (the best kind) I don’t really have exact measurements. I’ll do my best to estimate things, but it’s hard on spices – I just know what looks right to me. But I trust you. You know how to season something “to taste”, don’t you? Of course you do. You got this.
Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos with Cabbage Slaw (serves 3)
- 1 15-oz. can unsalted black beans
- 1 large or 2 smallish/medium sweet potatoes
- about 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
- about 1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tomato, chopped
- about 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (or more…to taste!)
- 3-4 limes
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 8 small whole wheat tortillas
- 1 avocado
- cumin, paprika and chili powder
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- sriracha sauce
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and chop your sweet potato(es) into small cubes, about 1/2 inch. Think of the size of your little taco tortillas when you prepare everything – you want bite-size potatoes that won’t fall out, and thin, short ribbons of cabbage and onion for the slaw. Toss the potatoes in a large glass baking dish with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and chili powder to taste (I got a little heavier on the cumin and paprika – basically a solid dusting on top of the potatoes, which I then toss by hand). Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring once, until tender.
While the potatoes are baking, toss your ribbons of cabbage and onion in a large bowl with the apple cider vinegar and the juice of 2-3 limes. Coat the veggies well and let stand for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, then pour off most of the excess liquid.
Then add the cilantro, tomato and just a touch of salt and pepper (maybe a dash of chili powder?), toss again and let stand until time to serve.
Finally, when you only have about 7 minutes left on your sweet potatoes, drain most of the liquid from your black beans and heat them in a medium saucepan and medium-low heat. Stir in lots of cumin and chili powder (if you like spice), pepper, a squeeze of lime, and as much salt as you need to brighten the beans. I guess you could just buy regular salted black beans, but I like having more control over my seasoning…and my sodium intake. Just keep tasting the beans, but keep in mind they’re also one of earthier “base” flavors of the dish, and they’ll be offset by the tangy slaw and spicy sriracha.
When your potatoes are done and your beans are heated through, put everything in serving bowls and toss a few tortillas on the stove or in the microwave. Then assemble the tacos – sweet potatoes, beans, slaw – and top with slices of avocado and a drizzle of sriracha sauce. Serve with a sweet, malty beer to offset the spiciness. Sublime!