Roasted Sweet Potato & Smokey Black Bean Tacos


I don’t know exactly when I started cooking without recipes, but I do know it had almost everything to do with my mother. Ideas from the Food Network and cooking magazines also helped in the process. If you watch a seasoned cook like my mother or your favorite TV chef, you’ll notice that most recipes (aside from baked goods) are by taste and feel – they will sprinkle in spices or drizzle in vinegar and olive oil. When you reference the recipe online or in the file, you’ll notice that exact measurements are listed, but when you watch what the cook does, it’s not that. They don’t pull out the measuring spoons and cups for every ingredient – things are “eyeballed.” They’re tossing things in here and there with zest and a flare. That beauty comes with some guidance, time, and practice.

It’ll start with a recipe that you follow to a T. And I would recommend that for a beginning chef, but as you go along, cooking with other people, you’ll learn where you can take liberties in a recipe. You’ll learn more about what flavors go well together and how to time things, and with any luck, soon you’ll be like my mother – not only whipping up delicious meals on the daily, but also whipping up a meal when it appears as though there is nothing to eat in the cupboard.


I love cooking, because the combinations of flavors are endless. There is always something new to learn (which is why I have this blog in the first place). It’s one of my favorite ways to spend time with people. And when you’re done, you have a beautiful meal to share.

Elizabeth and I were a flurry of zest and flare with these black bean sweet potato tacos! We’re always learning things from each other in the kitchen, and this beautiful meal was no exception. We made these vegetarian…yes vegetarian tacos for a group that was mostly men, and they whole-heartedly approved…and didn’t miss the meat at all! The black beans have a smoky heat to them, and the sweet potatoes are hearty with a sweet and spicy thing goin on while the cabbage and homemade salsa bring the bright, fresh flavors. There’s a lot of lime and cumin goin on here!


You can mix and match whatever you like and this is a hard one to mess up, so I recommend trying this one on the fly if you’re not used to cooking like that. TASTE AS YOU GO! Crucial to success! You can always start with less and add more. (In fact, the only time I saw my mom botch a dish was when she “dashed” some “cumin” in a big pot of chili not realizing that not only was the shaker cover off, but it was also cloves that landed in a big pile in the pot…not cumin :)

My favorite combo for this taco is a base of the black beans, sweet potatoes, cumin yogurt, then salsa, avocado, and cabbage, all topped with a few dashes of Tapatio. Sautéed bell peppers and onions also make a nice addition if you’re into that.


Here’s what we did:

Chipotle Black Beans

Sauté over medium heat in a pot:

-1 tsp. olive oil

-1/2 a medium yellow onion, chopped

-a dash of salt

Once the onion is soft, add in:

-1 Tbsp. Anaheim chili, diced and deseeded (optional)

Sauté for a few minutes, and then add:

-1 large can black beans, only partially drained

-1 ½ tsp. cumin

-1-2 Tbsp. smoky chipotle “salsa” (it’s more of a paste – you can find it in a can in the Hispanic section of your grocery store)

Using a potato masher, slightly mash the beans (you still want to see whole beans, but this helps thicken the dish). With a lid on, let the beans simmer over low heat until the rest of the meal is ready.

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Dice into cubes:

-3 sweet potatoes, peeled

On a large baking sheet, toss your taters in:

-1 ½ Tbs. olive oil

-about 2 tsp. salt (a couple dashes)

-about 2 tsp. cumin (a couple dashes)

-½ – 2 tsp. cayenne pepper (a dash or two, depending on your heat tolerance)

-½ tsp. of cinnamon (a dash or two)

-1 tsp. pepper (a couple shakes)

Toss to combine, and roast (tossing once during baking) for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Fresh Salsa

In a medium bowl, combine:

-3-4 c. yellow and red tomatoes, diced

-½ c. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

-the juice of three limes

-salt and pepper (about a teaspoon of each)

-2 Tbsp. Anaheim chili, diced and deseeded

Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Cumin Yogurt

In a medium bowl, combine:

-1 ½ c. plain yogurt (Greek or sour cream would also do just fine!)

-juice of one lime

-about 2 tsp. cumin

-a couple dashes of salt

-a couple dashes of Tapatio (or Chaloula if you prefer)

Stir to combine, and set in the fridge until you’re ready to eat!

Chili Lime Cabbage

In a medium bowl, combine:

-½ of a red cabbage, sliced and chopped into 2-inch pieces

-juice of one lime

-2 Tbsp. white vinegar

-a dash of cayenne pepper

-1 tsp. salt

-1 Tbsp. sugar

Stir together, and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.



-2 ripe avocados

Heat in the oven until warm:

-whole wheat flour tortillas

Set up all the parts of the meal buffet style (including the Tapatio!) and let everyone assemble their own tacos. Enjoy!!! :)

French phrase for fun:

Cusinez ensemble…et avec le flamboiement!

Cook together…and with flare!

8 thoughts on “Roasted Sweet Potato & Smokey Black Bean Tacos

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