Mexican food is often thought of as an indulgence. Heavy on the cheese and chips at most restaurants, it’s one of those meals you always wish you wore your spandex pants to. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve unbuttoned my jeans after a night of chips, guacamole and enchiladas…and have even planned to wear a loose dress to avoid that less classy move.
The truth is that most cuisines that we often think of as heavy and overindulgent, such as chinese, italian and mexican are actually not traditionally heavy. These cuisines been westernized and converted into creamy, oily, cheesy concoctions through decades of re-interpretation and trying to please the ever growing American palette and stomach.
Eating out is definitely a treat. It’s a great opportunity to take a break from responsibility and reconnect with friends and family. However, constantly eating out can take a toll on your health (and your wallet). The portion sizes and ingredients are not in your control and you could be eating triple the amount you normally would without even knowing it. The great thing is that it’s easy to make some of your favorite foods at home with some tweaking so that you can still enjoy those amazing international flavors without sacrificing your health.
Tacos are one of my favorite foods of all time. And yes…veggie tacos…hold the meat please! Gone are the days of hard shells with simple bean fillings that I grew up on. It’s pretty amazing what flavorful vegetarian combos you can find stuffing delicious soft corn tortillas these days. Everything from potatoes to cactus to mushrooms. And don’t even get me started on the mouth watering sauces that are drizzled on top of these hand held creations. The great thing about tacos is that there are endless combinations of fillings so you really can’t ever get tired of eating them…or I can’t. And with a little planning, they’re an easy, quick and super fun lunch or dinner. Great for a dinner party too! Get crazy and have a taco night and keep all the ingredients separate so everyone can make their own perfect little taco.
I decided to get creative with my latest taco creation…you better believe you’ll be seeing more. And I have to say I really feel I out did myself here. I ate these for a week straight and wasn’t the least bit sick of them. This makes quite a bit of each filling ingredient so feel free to get creative. Instead of soft corn tortillas, try them over a green salad, rice or quinoa.
sweet potato and black bean tacos with cilantro-lime slaw
Sweet Potato and Black Bean ingredients:
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 C chopped green pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper to taste
1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
1/2 head of purple cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, grated
1/4-1/3 C chopped cilantro
Juice of 3 limes
1/2 Tbsp honey (you can add a little more if you want it a bit sweeter)
1/2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8-1/4 tsp black pepper
Chipotle-Cashew Cream ingredients:
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 30 minutes-1 hour
1/2 cup filtered water
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
Juice from 1 lemon
sea salt and pepper to taste
organic corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
lime wedges to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into small cubes and toss with 1 tsp coconut oil, 1/2 tsp cumin, chile powder, chipotle powder, sea salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes. Time will vary depending on your oven.
For the slaw: While sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare slaw. Put cabbage, carrots and cilantro in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix lime juice, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Add lime juice mixture to cabbage and toss to combine. Set aside. I prefer to make this 1 day head and keep in the fridge so the flavors can really marinate.
For the chipotle cashew cream: Drain cashews and add to a blender along with rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
Heat up 1 tsp coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add in green pepper and onion and cook for about 7 minutes until onion and pepper have softened a bit. Next add in black beans and remaining 1/2 tsp cumin. You can add a bit of sea salt and pepper here too too if needed. Cook for another few minutes until mixture is heated through. Add in sweet potatoes when done and stir to combine.
To assemble: Heat up tortilla in a pan just for a few seconds on each side to warm through. Add sweet potato and bean mixture in the middle of tortilla, followed by cilantro-lime slaw, a few avocado slices and then drizzle chipotle cashew cream on top. Serve with wedges of lime if using.