Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Pepita Dip

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I have a new favorite fall recipe, and this is it. Each part of this dish—the roasted sweet potatoes, the spicy black beans, and the avocado-pepita dip—are truly remarkable on their own. But put it all together in a taco, and it’s a combination that is just out of this world. There’s something about the cayenne pepper in the sweet potatoes, the cumin in the black beans, and the avocado-pepita dip topping, that elevate these tacos to gourmet status. This is a dish that I will most certainly make again and again this fall.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Pepita Dip (from Cookie + kate; serves 4)

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 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.

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 35 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 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.

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).

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.

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.

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