Smoky Chipotle Black Bean & Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos

There are some things that are just meant to go together.

Peanut butter and chocolate. Bagels and cream cheese. Yogurt and granola.

You get the point. They combine to make a perfect medley of texture and flavor, hitting all the notes that keep you coming back for more.

Black beans and sweet potatoes are a marriage made in heaven. I’ve featured several recipes with this glorious combination and as much as I wanted to try something different for this Meatless Monday, I decided to just go with it. Besides, I had it on hand and I was hungry.

Sweet Potatoes

Now, let’s talk about tacos. If you’re looking for something quick and easy to make while sticking to a budget, than tacos are your friend.

You can keep it light by using fresh produce that’s in season, nutrient-rich greens, and heart-healthy avocado. Also, be sure to pick corn tortillas over flour. They have fewer calories (about 90 cal each) and a great chewy texture. The bonus is that it’s gluten free for those of you following that diet.

With my key ingredients in mind, I chose to go with a black bean, mushroom, and red pepper saute that I spiced up with ground chipotle. Canned chipotles in adobo sauce would be a great addition if you have it on  hand. Just be mindful of the amount of adobo sauce you use, and make sure to remove the seeds of the peppers before adding them to your dish. Unless you like the kind of heat that makes your eyes water and underarms sweat, then by all means, have at it.

Roasting the sweet potatoes brings out their natural sweetness while the cayenne gives it an extra kick. The cabbage and cilantro gives a nice crunch with a bit of lemony tanginess to  contrast the sweet and smoky. Altogether, it’s a kick-butt combo.

The best part is that these tacos pack a nutritious punch:

  • Vitamin A and C in the sweet potatoes and red peppers help boost your immunity, vision, and provide cancer fighting antioxidants.
  • Fiber in the avocado and black beans not only keep you feeling full longer, but it also protects you from cardiovascular disease by lowering your cholesterol, along with many other health benefits.
  • A cup of cabbage yields about 80% of your vitamin K DV, which supports bone health and plays a key role in blood clotting.

Why go out for tacos when you can make this delicious and healthy option at home for a fraction of the cost? Makes sense to me.

INGREDIENTS

Serving 4, 2 tacos each

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of diced bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 Haas avocado, sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • Bunch of fresh cilantro, cleaned and trimmed
  • 8 white corn tortillas
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil, separated
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp of naranja agria marinade (aka bitter orange or lime juice if unavailable)
  • 2 tsp of salt, separated
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle powder
  • ½ tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil, add sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp of oil, 1 tsp of salt, cayenne, and freshly ground black pepper; mix well. Place sheet in oven and bake for approx 20 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tender.

2. While potatoes are baking, heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium flame. Cook the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes, but be careful not to burn them otherwise you’ll end up with a bitter flavor! Add mushrooms and red peppers, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Once the veggies have softened, throw in the rinsed beans along with the paste, salt, chipotle, oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper. Mix everything together and allow it to cook for 8-10 minutes. About halfway through, add the bitter orange marinade (or lime juice). Remove from heat.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

3. Now comes the fun part! Make sure you have all of your taco toppings ready on the side for easy prep. Turn on a burner to low-medium flame. Working with one tortilla at a time, carefully place it over the flame using tongs. Once you see the edges darken and it puffs up in the center, then flip it over. Cook each side for about 1-2 minutes. Place on serving plate.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

4. Spoon about 1 tbsp of black bean and mushrooms, along with 1 tbsp of sweet potatoes on each tortilla. Top with sliced cabbage, avocado, and a small handful of cilantro. Squeeze a bit of lime juice on top if you have it, or just enjoy it as is.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

I was a little hungry so I had three of these bad boys. How could I resist?

All that’s missing is a frozen margarita….but I’ll save that for another time. Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner after all.

What’s your favorite taco combination?

I’m always looking for something new, so please feel free to share your favorite recipes in the comments below or on FB and Twitter!

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

Featured post

Sweet or savory? Sweet or savory?

Possibly one of the most difficult questions I face each weekend. I can never make up my mind when I’m faced with the choice between eating something sweet or savory for brunch. Luckily I have friends who struggle with the same question and we usually go halfsies to make sure we get a bit of everything.

I decided to make this last recipe of my blogiversary summer series center on my favorite meal: brunch.

And what better way to enjoy brunch than to use peaches, the epitome of summertime and sunshine. 🙂

I tend to fall on the savory side of the line, but french toast is one of those dishes that make me sway to the other side much more often than pancakes, granola, or oatmeal. I love the chewy texture of the bread combined with the heat of cinnamon, tartness of the fruit toppings and sweet syrupy touch on top.

There’s this amazing brunch spot in Philadelphia I try to visit each time I’m in town and I feel pretty comfortable saying they make the best french toast in America. In the world. In the universe. Because I’m convinced there are people on other planets equally tortured with the decision between sweet and savory on a Saturday morning while pondering brunch. It’s a universal issue.

In homage to Green Eggs Cafe in Philadelphia, home of the berry stuffed french toast and so many great memories with loved ones, I decided to make a healthier version featuring homemade gluten-free bread and peaches. Cardamom has such a unique flavor that I thought would be a great counter to the sweetness of the peaches.

Nervous about making your own bread? No worries, this is actually more of a quick bread that’s super easy. Still not convinced? You can sub in a whole wheat baguette that’s a couple of days old and still get the same amazingly yummy results!

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NUTRITION FACTOIDS

peaches

  • Antioxidants and Vitamin C. If you haven’t already noticed, brightly colored fruit available during summer are a strong source of this particular vitamin, as witnessed with the various produce I’ve featured this week. The powerful antioxidant effect available in peaches helps protect the body from illnesses and promotes quick healing. At about 19% of your DV in one serving, peaches are a great way to gain these antioxidant benefits.
  • Cardiovascular Health. Peaches are a low calorie food with phenolic compounds that researches suggest may help lower cholesterol and other symptoms leading to diabetes and high blood pressure. Additionally, peaches are a good source of niacin (aka vitamin B3), vitamin E, and potassium which can also improve cholesterol levels, lowering unhealthy LDL levels and the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Organic and local is always better. Peaches peak in July and August and are best purchased from local farmers. Once they’re soft, they’re very perishable and difficult to ship. Leave unripe peaches on your counter until soft and then eat immediately. Avoid bruised fruit.

INGREDIENTS

Coconut Flax Bread 

  • ½ cup coconut flour, sifted
  • ½ cup ground flax seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 5 eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/8 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Peach Sauce

  • 3 peaches, cored and sliced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp fresh lemon juice

French Toast

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vanilla almond milk, unsweetened
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • Optional: Maple syrup and greek yogurt for topping

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Special Tools

  • 8″x 4″x 2½” loaf pan
  • 2 frying pans, 1 small and 1 medium

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prepare ingredients and grease loaf pan for bread. This step can be done 1 or 2 days before. Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet to the dry and mix well. The batter will be thick by the time you’re done. Add batter to greased loaf pan and place in heated oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let the bread cool completely before removing it from the pan. *Note: Since this is gluten-free bread, the loaf will not rise like regular wheat-based breads. Doesn’t make it any less tasty, but you should have a heads up!

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2. Heat a small saucepan or frying pan over low to medium heat. Add sliced peaches, spices, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir until the peaches start to disintegrate and the juices are bubbling. Remove from heat.

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3. Cut thick slices of cooled coconut flax bread. Mix french toast ingredients in a shallow bowl. Add bread slices and cover with mixture on all sides. Allow it to soak while heating a medium frying pan with coconut oil over medium heat. One hot, add up to 3 slices to the pan with tongs. Cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until slightly browned.

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4. Arrange toast slices on a plate, top with peaches, syrup and yogurt. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top. Serve!

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Not to toot my own horn here, but this was pretty damn good. Definitely worth another round next weekend…and maybe the one after that. 🙂

Did you know?

Peach pit fibers were used in World War I as a component of gas masks worn by soldiers to protect them from chlorine gas attacks. Don’t eat the pit though! The pits have traces of cyanide according to scientists.

It’s been a blast coming back to the kitchen and sharing some of my cooking experiments with all of you. I started this blog with the idea that I could prove how easy it can be to prepare some truly delicious food that’s healthy and fun to make. I hope that I’ve inspired some of you to find that out on your own. At the very least, I hope I’ve managed to keep you entertained.

A million thank you’s for helping me celebrate my blogiversary. Until next time, remember to keep paying it forward and stay healthy! 🙂

Links and Resources

Guest Post: “How a Gluten Free Lifestyle Saved My Kidneys”

Hippocrates F4T

I’m an avid believer in the medicinal power of whole foods and a healthy diet. Often our first inclination when confronted with disease and other health challenges, is to treat the problem with prescription drugs. We overlook our diet as an afterthought, when there are loads of benefits that can be reaped from a sound diet.

Please join me this week in welcoming my guest this week, Margaret Romero, an amazing lupus survivor,  nurse practitioner, and all-around champion for nutrition and it’s role in healing. Ms. Romero shares her story about suriving lupus and how adopting a gluten-free diet helped prevent transplant surgery and bring her back to good health. She’s also got some tips here, so read on for this incredible woman’s story! 🙂

How a Gluten Free Lifestyle Saved My Kidneys

 As I lay in the medi-copter several years ago getting ready to be flown to another hospital, I thought back to the first day I had experienced wrist pain, which I had just ignored.  What I didn’t know at that time was how quickly this autoimmune disorder would progress.

What began as a single joint pain led to multiple painful joints. Next came the muscle pain and then almost immediately came the swelling in my feet and hands.  Although I’d never had any heart trouble, I was now experiencing a rapid heartbeat and bloody urine that morning.

I thought of all the things it could be: pericarditis, endocarditis, anemia, kidney/urine infection. That day in the medi-copter, I arrived in the ER ordering my own tests. It all came crashing down as I lay on the gurney bewildered at the sudden course of events.

After countless tests, ultrasounds, and CAT scans, I endured the most painful kidney biopsy.   My diagnosis: Stage 4 lupus nephritis.  The best prognosis my doctors could offer me was kidney transplant in 5 years.

(Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that afflicts 5 million individuals worldwide. It can affect all organs and causes widespread inflammation.)

For a long time, I struggled with my diagnosis. I had placed all my power in the hands of my specialists, and I had hit rock bottom.  Then I started to notice that my joint pain worsened after meals and I wondered about being celiac or having a gluten sensitivity.

I discussed this with my rheumatologist and she discouraged the test.  So I ordered a DNA test and performed it myself.  (When it comes to my own health, I have become quite the rebel.) It revealed a severe gluten sensitivity and 2 non-celiac gluten sensitive genes.

Then something magical happened.  Almost as quickly as I became gluten free, my joint pain and swelling finally started to disappear. I could finally start to walk up and down stairs without tearing up. That day changed my life.

5 years later, I practice hot yoga and have since lost 30 lbs from all the prednisone and water retention.

And I am NOT on the kidney transplant list.

Aside from my food choices, I also corrected my vitamin and hormone deficiencies.

In fact, I am healthier and more vibrant than before I became ill. Being gluten free literally saved my life.

If you too have been thinking about going gluten free, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Eliminate the pasta, bread, crackers and bread crumbs from your pantry and replace with gluten free products.  If you cannot find any in your supermarket, you can buy all products online. Trust me, your life is not over if you eat gluten free pasta compared to regular pasta.  This comes straight from a huge comfort food eater!
  • Replace your toaster. It’s difficult to clean every single crumb!
  • Check your seasonings and vitamin supplements for gluten.
  • Buy 1-2 gluten free cookbooks and/or a magazine to help with cooking at home. My first cookbook was by Carol Fenster. I also took cooking classes and began learning about different flours and thickeners.
  • Talk to your family about going gluten-free and teach them what that means. If you are going to a dinner party, bring your gluten free pasta. Trust me on this one. Bring your own bread, pizza, waffles and keep it in their freezer. They will get over it. And they will love to see you feeling and looking better!

If you’re not sure that going gluten free will work for you, ask your doctor to check a Food Panel IgG at your next blood draw or see an integrative or functional medicine practitioner. Both of these courses of action are a great way to determine whether you have food sensitivities.

If you are going through a health crisis as well, I hope I have inspired you.  Feel free to reach out by email and share your story with me.  Stay tuned for my next blog post and the launch of my cooking show at www.Margaret-Romero.com. Follow me on Twitter as @GlutenfreeHeals, or on Facebook at The Gluten Free Guide To Health.

Author Bio

Margaret Romero Nurse Practitioner From Lupus to LivingMargaret A. Romero NP-C is an Ivy League trained nurse practitioner specializing in women with lupus using integrative medicine, an approach that has kept her out of the hospital and off the kidney transplant list.  She loves hot yoga, farmers markets, and cooking in her NYC apartment.

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