December 18, 2012

The Sweet Potato Taco

Since I don’t eat meat, I’m always looking for good alternatives. Specifically, I am on the lookout for new TexMex alternatives because TexMex constitutes probably two-thirds of my diet (with cheese and bread making up the final third).

Beans are usually the most common replacement for meat in TexMex. But for reasons I’d rather not get into, I choose stay far away from them.

That leaves me with rice as the next best alternative. However, every time I eat white rice I can’t help but think of the lack of nutritional value that it contains. White rice is nothing but pieces of bleached and refined starch… what I call a filler food. *

Of course I could, and sometimes do, replace white rice with the more nutritious brown rice. But the texture and feel and amount of chews it takes to break it down negates any kind of enjoyment that it could bring.

So one night on Pinterest I discovered a taco recipe using sweet potatoes. I gave it a second of my time, made a disgruntled face, and moved on. You see, I’ve never been a fan of potatoes in Mexican dishes. The two collide in a certainly disagreeable way. Potatoes belong to the Germans and the Swiss and are to be smothered in brown butter and salt, not to be thrown into a fresh and spicy and tomato-y mix.


But it was too late, the sweet potato taco recipe had already planted a seed. I knew that sweet potatoes are considered a superfood, they are inexpensive, easy to prepare, and will enhance any type of savory meal. And I knew that every single time I ate one, I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it. I knew the recipe would either be a big hit or a big failure. But, like many things in life, I’ve learned that its always worth a shot (like you should always try a particular piece of clothing on before deciding that you hate it). I digress.

I skimmed the recipe, saw that it included black beans and a fresh salsa and peeling and frying and mixing lime and yogurt and spices and thought to myself “Wow, that’s a lot of work.

So I did what I love to do and simplified and adapted and created my own version of The Sweet Potato Taco.

Hands down, it is one of the greatest-tasting meals I have had in a very long time. Even Andrew was raving about it (and finished his three tacos in the time it took me to eat one).

I have to say, though, that the dish wouldn’t have worked had I left out even one ingredient. This kind of one-dish meal is meant to be thought about and discussed, similar to wine tasting. It is to be eaten with elegance, chewed in a timely matter, with each layer of flavor identified and appreciated…

Rustic, yet fresh.
Warm, yet cool.
Crunchy, yet smooth.
Sweet, yet spicy.

…Like a deliciously satisfying chaos of goodness.


*Just to show you how much nutrition white rice lacks compared to sweet potatoes…
One cup of cooked white rice contains:
7% of your daily Dietary Fiber
1% of your daily Iron

traceable amounts of Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C
Is considered inflammatory

One cup of roasted, unsalted sweet potato contains:
26% of you daily Dietary Fiber
769% of your daily Vitamin A
65% of your daily Vitamin C
8% of your daily Calicum
8% of your daily Iron
Is considered anti-inflammatory


The following is a list of every ingredient that I used. I've left out specific amounts because I’m a dump and pour type of messy cook who’s dish turns out differently every time she makes it. I also prefer this dish to be really spicy, heavy on the cilantro, heavy on the lime juice, and in a crunchy taco. But, obviously, you can adapt it to your taste.

Crunchy or soft tacos
Corn salsa
Sour cream
Dark green lettuce
Finely shredded raw cabbage
Roasted sweet potatoes
Sharp cheddar cheese
Hot sauce, to taste
Wedge of lime
  • For the roasted sweet potatoes: Cut potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Sprinkle with EVOO, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Roast. 
  • For the corn salsa: Mix together Roma tomatoes, corn, cilantro, onions, garlic, EVOO, vinegar (splash), salt, lots of lime juice, a little lemon juice, splash of Tabasco.
Let me know how you like sweet potatoes in your tacos!

And let’s start discussing our food.

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