Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Pepita Dip

Sweet potato and black bean tacos with avocado-pepita dip - cookieandkate.com

Thank you all so much for your concern about Cookie. If her graceful three-legged leaps off the couch and romps through the snow are any indication, she is on the mend. I’m incredibly thankful for the sweet friends who helped me move and brought brunch to me after the accident, as well as the kind strangers who have left encouraging advice (from as far away as Uruguay!). Makes me think I must be doing something right.

avocados and cilantro

Cookie’s accident has slowed us both down, but we are gradually getting settled in this new house. I’m feeling slightly less apprehensive after meeting with the behavioral specialist yesterday (more on that later) so I’m starting to allow myself to enjoy the amenities here. Did you all know that it is about one million times easier to keep a clean kitchen if you have a built-in dishwasher, disposal and ample counter space? It’s a whole new world over here. (I think they call it the First World.)

sweet potatoes

Now then, let’s talk tacos. I meant to get these to you before the game, but really, isn’t every day a good day for tacos? These tacos are the cold weather version of my summer squash tacos, an amalgamation of several of my favorite Mexican recipes, like my sweet potato burritos and spicy black bean soup.

The avocado-pepita dip is the love child of my avocado sauce and my cilantro-pepita pesto. The toasted pepitas add a savory note and some substance, but as all of my avocado sauce fans can attest, you really can’t go wrong. Throw avocados, herbs, lime juice and salt in a blender and you will undoubtedly get a mind-blowing end result.

pepitas, garlic and cilantroroasted sweet potatoessweet, potato, black beans and avocado-pepita dipSweet potato and black bean tacos recipe - cookieandkate.com

Vegetarian Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Pepita Dip
5.0 from 19 reviews
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Roasted sweet potatoes, spicy black beans and cilantro, avocado and pepita dip make these simple, homemade tacos taste gourmet. This recipe is vegetarian (for vegan tacos, skip the feta) and gluten-free (as long as your tortillas are gluten free). Recipe yields 8 to 10 good-sized tacos.
Roasted sweet potatoes
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Spicy black beans
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 cups cooked black beans)
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or lime juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Avocado-pepita dip
  • 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro, packed (mostly leaves, some small stems are ok)
  • ½ cup pepitas
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped (or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 small lime, juiced or 2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tortillas and garnishes
  • 8 to 10 small corn tortillas
  • Crumbled feta
  • Toasted pepitas
  • Optional: finely sliced radishes, quick-pickled cabbage, chopped green onions, cilantro, hot sauce, etc.
  1. Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the prepared sweet potatoes with olive oil, cayenne pepper and salt. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway, until the sweet potatoes are tender and caramelizing at the edges.
  2. Prepare the black beans: Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds while stirring. Pour in the beans and ⅓ cup water. Stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and use the back of a fork to mash up at least half of the beans. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and cover until you're ready to serve.
  3. Make the avocado dip: First, toast the pepitas in a skillet over medium heat until they are fragrant and starting to make little popping noises. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the avocado, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, water and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor/blender as necessary. Add almost all of the pepitas (reserve a couple tablespoons for garnish) and blend until the pepitas are chopped small (some remaining texture is desirable).
  4. Warm the tortillas: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and warm each tortilla individually, flipping occasionally. Alternatively, you can warm them directly over a low flame on a gas range.
  5. Assemble the tacos: Spread black beans down the middle of the tortilla, top with sweet potatoes and avocado-pepita dip. Garnish with feta, pepitas, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Repeat with remaining tortillas and serve.
Make it vegan: skip the feta. Chopped, pickled jalapeños would help make up for the feta.
Make it gluten-free: Make sure your tortillas are 100 percent corn/certified gluten free.
Just skip the pepitas if you're allergic/can't find them/don't like 'em/whatever.
If you'd like to serve a simple green salad with these tacos, try topping this lime-marinated kale with feta and pepitas.
Storage suggestions: Leftover taco components should keep well for a few days. Store them individually in the fridge, covered. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the avocado-pepita sauce to help prevent oxidation. Add a splash of water to the beans if they dry out during reheating.


  1. says

    So happy to hear that Cookie is already getting better! Sending her lots of hugs. It must have been an exhausting time for you both. xoxo
    The tacos look delicious, Kate! And the colors are simply gorgeous. I would love to serve these at a get-together!

    • says

      Thank you, Sini! It has been a crazy couple of weeks. We got 10 inches of snow yesterday, which is making it awfully hard to keep Cookie’s bandage dry! These tacos would be the perfect addition to a Mexican-themed potluck. :)

  2. says

    Oh yum!! I’m glad to hear that Cookie is ok. She is so adorable.

    The pepita dip sounds amazing. I’m sure it would be just as good eaten with a spoon as it would be on top of a taco!

  3. G Fred says

    So glad Cookie is on the mend. And keep sharing house pics. I love it!
    Looking forward to these tacos for din tonight :)

  4. Liz says

    I’m glad to hear about Cookie (sweet thing). Thank you for the lovely recipe. Take good care of you and Cookie. Have a Happy Week.

  5. says

    goodgolly what an awful scare…so happy Cookie is already snowdiving in her purple cast and will be fully recovered soon! Your tacos look delicious…the ingredient combination is so imaginative and full of yumful flavors…many thanks for sharing! :)

  6. says

    So glad to hear Cookie is on the mend! And your new place looks wonderful! Yes, I totally agree, there is never a bad day for tacos. They’re always welcome in my home. Loving the combo of avo + pepita, I will definitely have to try this :)

  7. says

    These tacos sound so good! Black bean and sweet potato is such a classic, hearty, sweet and spicy combination. The avocado and pepitas just take it over the top. Hooray!

  8. says

    Despite Cookie’s little bit of drama, it sounds like you’re settling in quite nicely! These tacos sound amazing – I’m totally nuts about sweet potatoes, pepitas AND avocado so I’m totally drooling over this!

  9. Chris says

    Yum! I can’t wait to try these. I’ve always eaten a lot of vegetarian food but have recently decided to give up meat completely and I love your recipes. Also glad to see Cookie romping in the snow. Obviously she’s feeling a lot better :).

  10. says

    our dinner tonight was inspired by this post! i sauteed the sweet potatoes with kale, made some guacamole, aaaand made kelsey’s (happyolks) soft shell tacos. my husband made some refried beans with an indecent amount of bacon fat.

  11. Natalie says

    Hey, I’m in Singapore (I’m American though). You have people all over! Thank you so much for all the recipes!

      • Sara says

        I actually just moved from Paris! It was dismal, but there was a place called Candelaria in the Marais which was cooking up some pretty fine tacos and you could buy fresh tortillas from them.

  12. says

    Ah, a First World kitchen! I am sooo happy for you! I remember the day I moved to an apartment that had a dishwasher, AND an in-unit washer/dryer. I nearly cried tears of joy and relief. Congratulations! So far, your new place is darling!

    So glad Cookie is on the mend and so glad you shared these tacos with us! I love everything you do with avocados and can’t wait to try this sauce :)

  13. says

    I hear you re. the kitchen, Kate. It’s long been one of my life’s ambitions to get a dishwasher (haven’t achieved it yet!)
    As for these tacos, I’m not a vegetarian but I could happily be one if I got to eat food like this every day! Love the idea of combining sweet potato with feta in a taco … yum!

  14. says

    I’m so glad to hear that Cookie is okay!! It does sound like she’s recovering, so that’s good. Yay for tacos!! My favorite food. Especially with sweet potatoes. The best.

  15. Andy says

    Hi Kate. I only just discovered your blog (I was searching for a recipe for buckwheat pancakes after having eaten some at a friend’s house) and you are re-inspiring my love of cooking that has lain dormant for a while.
    Sorry to hear about Cookie’s accident and glad she is recovering well. Enjoy your new house!
    Anyway, I shall be making the peanut soba noodle slaw for lunch and then something very similar to this recipe for dinner with my nearly 13 year old daughter tonight. Black beans are harder to find in the UK but I have some! No sweet potatoes but will try that next time. I had to Google pepitas but happy to discover I have some in the cupboard!
    Thank you so much for this blog. I am looking forward to working my way through the back posts of recipes. There seem to be many Mexican themed posts which are particularly to my liking!
    All good wishes from the UK.

  16. says

    So glad to hear that Cookie is recovering and then you can start to relax and settle into your new pad. As for these tacos, it’s like you read my mind! I wrote down a rough plan of something like this for dinner later this week so this recipe is very timely indeed.

  17. says

    Sigh, what I wouldn’t give for a dishwasher, garbage disposal, and of course more counter space! Oh! And a whole slew of these tacos and plenty of chips to go with that dip!

  18. says

    I cannot wait to try these tacos especially with the avocado dip. This is a good blend of taco ingredients. It is also perfect timing that I found this–I have home grown avocados in my kitchen.

  19. Helen says

    What a good idea to swap out the rice in a burrito for some roasted sweet potatoes. But then I love sweet potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  20. katie says

    Made these for a couple friends who came over for dinner……….you could hear a pin drop while we were eating, they were so DELICIOUS!!!!! And so healthy for you! I followed the recipe to a tea and it was great, will be another staple from your blog! I am so happy to hear that Cookie is doing better :) Hope your February is going well and you are staying warm!

  21. Tara says

    Made these tonight. Delicious! They are definitely going into our family’s rotation. Thanks for making this a mouth watering vegetarian week for us!

  22. Meredith says

    Leftover dip also worked great as a hummus substitute with carrots and peppers or other raw veggies you might have on hand! The creaminess was a nice contrast and it had some kick to it!

  23. Julie says

    I could survive on the avocado dip alone! This combines so many delicious flavors in a healthy good looking package! My husband usually considers anything vegetarian an appetizer so I was thrilled when told me to save this recipe.

    • says

      Julie, so glad you’re both enjoying the tacos! You’re not the first to report that they have been popular with carnivorous guys. Hooray!

    • says

      Hi Robyn, great question. Salsa verde plays nicely with the other flavors in this recipe. So does sour cream. You could serve one or both of those on the side, or even mix some salsa into sour cream so it’s not so runny.

  24. Lori says

    These were great! Thanks for the wonderful recipe.
    (by the way, our dog, Teddy, loves plain baked sweet potatoes. when I was making this I think he thought we were taking his treat. little did he know I baked his plain ones first, then made ours with all the spices).

    • says

      Cookie loves sweet potatoes, too! Actually, she’ll eat just about anything, but she especially enjoys roasted sweet potato. :)

  25. Julie says

    I have tried (and loved) SO many of your recipes, but I think this one is my new favorite. You are amazing!

  26. Angela says

    All I have to say is WOW. These were FAN-tastic! My daughter and I made these last night and they were phenomenal! Thank you!

  27. Mary says

    These were FANTASTIC, and so easy (even easier because I skipped the avocado sauce and just mashed up a rough guac). Topped with chopped cilantro and raw onion and didn’t miss the cheese. This is going on my (short) list of “so filling and satisfying you forget it’s vegan” recipes. Found your blog by googling “black bean tacos”…I’m glad I did!

  28. says

    I’m so glad I found your site. Another excellent recipe! I made this tonight for my husband (a big meat fan) and he loved it, too. The feta really made it for me. Will make again and again!

    • says

      Thank you, Erin! I’m glad you found my site. :) So glad you both loved the tacos. I have more tacos up my sleeve, coming soon!

  29. Ann Alexander says

    I dug this up because I was looking for vegan recipes to accommodate some visiting family. But my husband (who’s not a vegan) loved it, especially the dip! Thanks.

  30. Ashley Marie says

    I want to try this but I am confused about pepitas. I looked it up, and it says they are pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. Which are they or what do you recommend? Thank so much!

  31. B says

    These were amazing! I made a batch up for my lunch this week. I added Radishes on top as well as Kalamata olives. So deelish!
    Thank you for this recipe.

  32. Cynthia says

    Wow! These tacos were amazing. I plan to prepare this meal again soon and invite friends over for dinner.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog.

  33. says

    I made these yummy tacos for dinner last night! I used 4 sweet potatoes and ended up adding more olive oil and cayenne because they seemed a little bare. I also let them marinate for like 20 minutes in the bag so they got good and flavorful and my family loved them! The dip and beans were also a success, and everyone thought the flavors blended beautifully! SO satisfied, will make again, ESPECIALLY the sweet potatoes.

  34. Lacey says

    Made these for dinner , big winner here! Boyfriend took a bite and inmediately said “these are good!” I had mine sans cheese and also thought they were delish. Thanks for the great recipe!

  35. Charlie says

    Oh my God! I know I’m almost a year late to the game here, but I made these for dinner tonight, and THESE ARE THE BEST TACOS I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE! (Sorry about the all caps.)

  36. says

    Thanks for the great article on blogging tips. I just started mine a couple weeks ago and am learning so much. Your article led me to your amazing recipes. I’m trying the sweet potato and black bean tacos tonight. Of course the avocado pepita dip will accompany as well!

  37. Cindy Craddock says

    These are absolutely fantastic, thank you. 5+ stars. I added a bit of shredded cabbage on top and a few cut grape tomatoes. Delicious… I want to make these for all my neighbors!!

  38. Ela says

    Oh my gosh, these sweet potato tacos were absolutely delicious! I made them yesterday and my father, an avid meat eater, completely devoured them! Thanks for an awesome recipe :D

  39. Andrea says

    OH MY HEAVEN!! Okay, so these are amazing! I heard about these from one of my clients (as a personal trainer, I am always looking for clean, healthy recipes). These have been SUCH A HIT! My meat and cheese only husband LOVES THEM TOO. I have been obsessed and recommending them to all of my clients. I have to say, everyone of them loves it too.

    *Recipe note: So, I had some lime and cilantro hummus leftover, and just threw in the avocado with that.. Delicious alternative, when you wanna finish off that leftover batch of hummus…

  40. Quinn says

    These have been in my go to weekday toco rotation for a while now (we eat a lot of tacos). They are SO delicious and still healthy! Thank you, Kate!!
    Whenever I have leftovers of the filling, I make my version of huevos rancheros with them by topping a warmed tortilla with the sweet potato, black bean mixture and then adding two poached eggs. Throw on some feta, cilantro, and lime juice and it makes such an amazing brunch!!

  41. says

    I regularly use recipes off the internet and I have never bothered to comment… until now. I made these tacos tonight and savored every bite. This was seriously one of the best meals I have ever eaten! The flavor combination, textures, and colors were all perfect. My husband and I are both raving about them. I have already emailed it to multiple people. Thank you so much! Absolutely fabulous recipe. I just signed up to follow your blog.

    • says

      Stef, thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share my recipe with your friends! Delighted to hear that you both enjoyed it so much. I hope you enjoy my other recipes just as much!

  42. Jane says

    I discovered your blog a few weeks ago and I just love your way with flavor combinations and textures. My boyfriend and I are moving toward a more vegetarian diet and your recipes are making that transition effortless. Thank you for sharing healthy, delicious meals that don’t take forever to make! I also appreciate the way you organize your recipes with ingredients and instructions in order so that the complete dish comes together seamlessly.
    Yesterday I made these tacos and they are terrific, love em! The leftovers were just as tasty today. My boyfriend says this recipe is a keeper as well, so thank you.
    Last week I made your Roasted Carrot & Potato Lentils & Miso Parsley Sauce… fabulous as well and another “keeper”!
    Thank you Kate, you inspire me expand my vegetarian horizon and cooking style!

    • says

      Jane, thank you so much for your sweet comment! I’m really happy to hear that you’re enjoying my recipes. Thanks again and happy cooking to you both!

  43. Cindy says

    HI Kate,
    I came across your blog by accident. I’ve been a vegetarian since ’97 but only recently developed a gluten intolerance (recent = last 60 days). I was drawn to this recipe bc it has a great selection of nutritious meatless protein plus it’s GF. They were delicious!!! So full of flavor! Looking forward to reviewing your blog in more detail for more great ideas!
    Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Cindy! I’m so glad you found my blog. Welcome! :) You picked a great recipe to start off with, hope you enjoy the others just as much!

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