Confession: last week, when I shared some of my favorite savory sweet potato recipes, I intentionally omitted this one because the photos made me cringe. These tacos totally deserved to be included!
I photographed them again yesterday afternoon under gorgeous fall sunlight, and thought I’d share the recipe with you today in case you’ve skimmed past their original photos. I’m not sure these photos quite do them justice, but they’re definitely an improvement. Orange and green are a garish color combination, which might make these a fun Halloween dinner, now that I think about it.
When I originally shared this recipe well over two years ago, Cookie was healing after her accident (we don’t like to talk about it) and we were just getting settled into my current little house. I was thrilled to finally have my own dishwasher and washer and dryer, which I still appreciate to the moon and back.
Now, Cookie’s back in tip-top shape and I’m gearing up to move us to a more functional living space. I’m surrounded by fabric samples and can’t stop waffling back and forth between bed frame options. Help!
My love for tacos remains unchanged, and these tacos are as delicious as ever. This hearty taco recipe features spicy roasted sweet potatoes, black beans for protein, and a pretty spectacular avocado spread made with freshly toasted pepitas for texture and savory notes. Top them off with some salty crumbled feta, more toasted pepitas and some crunchy pickled jalapeños (not shown, but highly recommended) and you have a well-balanced fall dinner.
These tacos are the taco version of my beloved sweet potato burritos, and the cold weather variation of my summer squash tacos. When I remade the recipe, I tweaked the spices a bit and made a few little edits for clarity, so this recipe is better than ever. I hope you love it, and please do let me know how it turns out for you in the comments!
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit if sensitive to spice)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow or white onion, finely chopped
- Fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 cups cooked black beans)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or lime juice
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 avocados, pitted
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro (mostly leaves, some small stems are ok)
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- 1 small jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped, or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (go easy if sensitive to spice)
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 medium lime) or 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Toss the prepared sweet potatoes with the olive oil, cayenne pepper (if using) 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.
- 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 have softened and are turning translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds while stirring. Pour in the beans and water. Stir, cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and use a potato masher or a fork to mash up at least half of the beans. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar, season with salt (I added over 1/4 teaspoon) and pepper, and cover until you're ready to serve.
- Make the avocado dip: First, toast the pepitas in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until they are fragrant and starting to make little popping noises, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Scoop the avocado flesh into a food processor or blender. Add the 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 few tablespoons for garnish) and process just until the pepitas are chopped into small pieces (some remaining texture is desirable). Taste, and add more salt if necessary. Transfer the dip to a small bowl for serving.
- To warm the tortillas, heat a large skillet over medium heat and warm the tortillas in batches, flipping to warm each side. Alternatively, you can warm them directly over a low flame on a gas range. Stack the warmed tortillas on a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm.
- To assemble the tacos, spread black beans down the middle of each tortilla, then top with some 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 gluten-free: Make sure your tortillas are 100 percent corn/certified gluten free.
Serving suggestions: These tacos would be awesome with a side of simple seedy slaw (which you could also pile onto your tacos for some more crunch). 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.