Take your sweet potato tacos to new heights with homemade black bean spread! These vegan tacos are a terrific plant-based meal and quick to make. Top with homemade vegan feta or my go-to cashew cheese recipe, and enjoy!
These sweet potato tacos with black bean spread have become one of the meals that I make at home most often.
In my practice as a registered dietitian, I often send clients the link, assuring them that the meal is fast, flavorful, and loaded with food nutrition.
It’s funny, because when I first prepared the tacos, I didn’t know that they were going to become such a staple recipe. I was focused on using what I had on hand, which was a sweet potato, a can of black beans, and corn tortillas.
The meal that I created exceeded my expectations. It was also irresistibly easy to make.
Best of all, I found that the sweet potato tacos made a great, quick meal at any time of day. Savory breakfast? Sure—that had been my original plan. A flavorful lunch? Check.
And, with some good fixings and accompaniments, the tacos are also among my favorite plant-based recipes for dinner. I love it when dinners come together as easily as this one does.
What makes these tacos so good, I think, is the black bean spread. The spread is simple, much like the tacos themselves. Yet it is wonderfully tangy. And, as you’ll see, it’s actually a key part of why the tacos work as well as they do!
Tacos are known for being a little messy to eat—that’s part of the fun! But plant-based tacos can be particularly prone to ingredient scattering.
That’s because beans are a common filling ingredient in vegan taco recipes. And beans, for all of their great nutrition and versatility, aren’t very good at staying put in a taco.
When I first prepared these sweet potato tacos, I thought about adding whole black beans as a protein. But when I thought about how many of them would tumble out, I paused.
I wondered whether it would work better to use a homemade black bean spread instead. It was a similar idea to refried beans.
But whereas I usually give my homemade refried beans a smoky flavor profile, I gave this black bean spread a tangy one instead. It’s a perfect contrast to the sweet, earthy flavor of roasted sweet potatoes.
Best of all? The black bean spread helps all of the sweet potato and vegan cheese in place in the soft taco. And it adds nutrient density as well.
First and foremost, black beans add plant protein to these nutritious little tacos.
Yet beans are special because they provide not only protein, but also so many other nutrients.
Beans are good sources of vegan iron, dietary fiber, and phytonutrients that may play a protective role against chronic disease.
The anthocyanins that give the skin of black beans their dark color have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity, cardiac health, and anti-inflammatory action.
In addition, black beans contain a type of carbohydrate called resistant starch. Resistant starch passes to the large intestine without being entirely digested; at that point, beneficial bacteria in the colon use it as an energy source.
In this sense, resistant starch functions like dietary fiber. And, like dietary fiber, it is associated with blood sugar control, as well as overall gut health.
I’m often asked by clients whether sweet potatoes are healthy.
I tend to think about healthiness in terms of dietary patterns, not specific foods.
But if the question is whether or not sweet potatoes are a nutritious food, the answer is a resounding yes.
This blog is packed with vegan sweet potato recipes. I love their flavor and texture, but part of the reason I use them so often in my cooking is that they’re incredibly nutrient-dense.
Sweet potatoes are brimming with beta carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin A, a micronutrient associated with healthy growth and development, cell division, and immune function.
Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber. In addition, they’re an excellent source of vitamin C, and potassium, which helps to regulate fluid balance.
I like to roast the sweet potatoes for this particular recipe. Roasting underscores their sweetness. It also gives them an awesome, tender-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside texture.
Roasting the potatoes will add some time to the recipe: about 30 minutes. You can use an air fryer, which will take about half the time, if you like.
And if you’re not up for roasting, there are also other ways to cook the sweet potatoes for the recipe. You can microwave them or steam them, too.
The sweet potatoes will lose some intensity of flavor and some texture. But—having taken shortcuts with this recipe many times myself—I can tell you that the tacos are tasty no matter how you cook the potatoes.
There are a few steps in preparing the tacos. As with many of my recipes, the whole process can be expedited by preparing one or a few components in advance.
You’ll begin by roasting—or otherwise cooking—the sweet potatoes for the tacos. If you roast them, it’ll take about 30 minutes.
While the sweet potatoes are roasting, you’ll whip up the black bean spread in a food processor.
The ingredients for that spread are simple, and you’ll probably have a lot of them in your pantry: vinegar, paprika, cumin, coriander.
I always use a can of black beans for the spread, but if you cook beans from scratch, you can use 1 1/2 cups of scratch cooked beans.
In place of black beans, you can also use pinto or kidney beans.
When I make tacos at home, I like to gently toast each one over the very, very low flame of one of my stovetop burners. I use kitchen tongs to do this.
You can also warm both sides of a tortilla gently in a frying pan, or you can wrap them in foil and warm them in a 350°F oven for ten minutes.
To assemble your sweet potato tacos, you’ll simply spread the black bean dip over your tortillas, then add a handful of cooked sweet potato to each.
I like to top each taco with vegan cheese and a handful of chopped romaine lettuce. But those aren’t the only options.
Vegan cheese could be one of many options for this taco recipe.
More often than not, I use my homemade vegan feta or cashew cheese in the recipe. They both work incredibly well.
The feta has a tangy flavor that compliments the black bean spread. It also has a nice, crumbly texture (there are instructions for crumbling it in the recipe).
Cashew cheese, on the other hand, will have a richer texture and a saltier flavor. If you love cashews but don’t love the texture of that cheese, you can try a drizzle of cashew queso sauce instead.
If you don’t feel like making a homemade vegan cheese, then you can use a store-bought cheese instead. The Forager Project Vegan Queso Fresco is a good option.
A grated, commercial vegan Pepper Jack cheese would work well, too.
And, for something similar to my cashew cheese, you can use any soft, crumbly vegan cheese. Some examples are Kite Hill ricotta and Treeline cashew cheese.
Not a cheese lover? There are so many other toppings and fillings to try. Here are just a few suggestions:
Speed up time in making the tacos by roasting the sweet potatoes or preparing the black bean spread in advance.
The roasted sweet potatoes will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They can be frozen for 6 weeks.
The black bean spread will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. It, too, can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
The black bean spread can also be replaced with store-bought refried beans or hummus.
You can serve the sweet potato tacos with any simple salad or slaw. I like to enjoy them with a big, hearty kale salad, or—for something heartier—my spinach rice salad.
The tacos are great with roasted or sautéed vegetables. I also like to eat them with (and sometimes add to them) my favorite braised red cabbage.
In the morning, you could try plating the tacos with a prepared round of my homemade vegan liquid egg or some tofu scramble. Extra protein, texture, taste, and color!
Some of the most humble recipes that I make turn out to be the ones that I rely on most. Especially in busy times.
I hope that you’ll turn to these tacos as often and as lovingly as I have—and that you’ll enjoy them, as I do.
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Just stumbled across your website yesterday and made these tacos, pickled onions, and cashew cheese for dinner tonight. They all turned out FANTASTICALLY! Thanks for such delicious, plant forward recipes!! 🙂
I think tacos are quite a versatile and nutritious recipe. This is a nice variation to a taco.
Thank you for sharing!
Beautiful new blog look, Gena! Cheering you on! And here’s to resilience, allowance and moving with.
Thank you so much!
This is a distinct possibility for Sunday. Thank you! I have all of the ingredients except for the cashew cheese. (I’ll conjure up something similar for that!)
The website redo looks wonderful. I meant to tell you that several days ago. As a bonus, the font size is a great size for those of us with glasses.
As an aside, I thought about your recipe “fails” and how that is the same thing that other artists experience. (Cooking is an art form just like painting, in my opinion.) So, fail on. It’s all part of the process towards your Picasso/Julia Child’s masterpiece!
THESE LOOK FANTASTIC! And yes, love the blog layout.