The Man got on my case big time for this one. And now I'm about to get on his! We were at the Man's office about to leave for a home-cooked lunch, and people were curious what was on the menu. And so he began, "You know when people who are vegan try to pass something vegan off as something normal... So this is like a taco, but it's not really a taco at all." Hey now. The Man better watch what he says. This is not the taco equivalent of Tofurkey, my future-husband! This is a delectable (Mexican inspired) baked (sweet) potato! Baked potato, see? Humph! And you loved it, I might add.
So folks, you heard it from the source. It's not a taco, it's a Mexican inspired baked sweet potato. And it is beautifully colorful, too! The conversation at the Man's office eventually turned to a local restaurant in Ketchum that serves a gigantic overloaded baked potato with prime rib, grilled onions and cheese. It's called the Jim Spud- we're in Idaho after all. And since the Jim Spud was the reference that redeemed my sweet potato from its doomed "fake vegan taco" existence, it shall now be named The Mexican Sweet Spud.
Some thoughts... The potatoes take a while to cook (about an hour) so you can put those in the oven a while in advance. If they're ready before you need them, just turn off the oven. They won't overcook but will retain their heat quite well in the aluminum foil. Also, there weren't any ripe avocados at the store so I bought the store's pre-made guacamole. I prefer to make my own and will post my recipe soon, but fresh, store-made guacamole will do just fine if you're tight on time or don't feel like making it from scratch. And in fact, you can bake the sweet potatoes the day before and reheat them if you want dinner in a pinch. Pre-cooked sweet potatoes and pre-made guacamole make this meal come together in no time!
MEXICAN SWEET SPUDS
- 4-6 small sweet potatoes
- 5 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, divided- 3/4 roughly chopped, 1/4 finely diced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin (or more if desired)
- a few dashes Cayenne pepper (or more if desired)
- 2- 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2- 10 ounce bags of frozen sweet corn, defrosted (or fresh corn kernels off the cob if it's in season!)
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped and divided
- 2 limes, halved
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces chèvre, crumbled into pieces, for serving
- guacamole, for serving
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse and dry your sweet potatoes, and chop the gnarly ends off. Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil (either all in one bundle, or individually- it doesn't matter) and place them on a sheet pan in the oven for about 60-75 minutes. They should be soft throughout, and starting to caramelize on the bottom when fully cooked.
Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the 3/4 of your onion that is roughly chopped. Add the cumin and cayenne, a couple pinches of salt, and about 5 grinds of black pepper. Stir occasionally until the garlic and spices become fragrant, and the onion begins to soften. Add the black beans, and stir again. Continue to cook until the beans start to bubble slightly. Turn off the heat and set aside.
While the beans are cooking, combine the corn, the remaining 1/4 finely diced onion, and 1/4 cup of the chopped cilantro in a bowl. Add a good splash of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Squeeze 1/2 of a lime over the mixture, and stir to combine. Set aside.
To assemble, slice the sweet potatoes down the middle. Top with some of your bean mixture, and some crumbled chèvre right on top of the hot stuff so it gets nice and soft. Follow that with some corn mixture, and a good dollop of guacamole. Garnish with cilantro, and squeeze some lime juice on there too! And you're done!