These roasted red pepper sweet potato tortillas are a nutritious and tasty vegan lunch or breakfast! Sweet potato and white beans create a creamy filling, which is topped with colorful and flavorful pieces of roasted red pepper. Layer these ingredients between two of your favorite tortillas, warm them in a frying pan, and cut them into wedges for an easy meal.
We could all use a handful of fast, easy vegan lunch options, right?
These vegan roasted red pepper sweet potato tortillas are it. Over the years, they’ve remained one of my favorite, affordable, nutritious, and tasty lunches.
If you prepare the creamy filling for the tortillas in advance, you can also enjoy them for fast, savory breakfasts.
At best, the sweet potato tortillas take only twenty-five minutes to make. At most, they require a longer cooking time but only fifteen minutes of active work.
In this post, I’ll share my process for preparing this satisfying, easygoing meal.
Statistically, the meal that most people are likely to skip is breakfast.
One thing I learned during the Covid isolation period, however, is that lunch can be an even trickier meal to prepare and execute than breakfast.
It’s easy to get caught up in the swing of things midday. That may be because you’re working from home. On weekends, you might turn your attention to family, household tasks, or rest.
With all of those things rightfully competing for attention, who has time to stop and prepare food?
After lockdown, so many of my nutrition clients reported to me that lunch had totally fallen by the wayside.
There are downsides to dropping the ball on lunch, though.
First and foremost, we need good nutrition at regular intervals to maintain our energy and to keep our metabolic rates healthy.
Our brains require fuel, specifically in the form of carbohydrates, in order to process and perform in the way that we like them to.
And when we skip meals, no matter how busy we may be, we increase the chances of eating in a chaotic, compensatory way later in the day.
Our bodies need what they need; we can choose to answer to that need with good, thoughtful nutrition, or we can ignore it and eat with less mindfulness when our bodies inevitably demand the food they’ve been denied.
All my way of saying that lunch matters, just as much as any other meal matters. It’s wise to have some lunch options that come together easily, taste good, and fuel our bodies and brains.
These red pepper sweet potato tortillas are one of them,
Listen, I love sandwiches. So much. I love sandwiches, and I eat a lot of them.
Yet variety is a cornerstone of good nutrition, so I try to avoid eating the same lunch every single day.
Truthfully, the sweet potato tortillas work similarly to sandwiches. To create them, you layer a creamy sweet potato and white bean filling between two tortillas, toast both sides, and cut the warm tortilla “sandwich” into quarters.
If you have big tortillas at home—burrito sized, or 10-12 inches in diameter—than you can use a single tortilla, fold it over onto itself, toast both sides, and cut it into wedges. Think quesadilla, but not quesadilla, of course, because no cheese.
(Note: I originally titled this recipe as a vegan quesadilla, without thinking through the fact that quesadillas are folded, not sandwiched.)
You may be accustomed to serving mashed sweet potatoes as a holiday side dish or blending it up into sweet potato hummus. But the soft interior of a baked sweet potato can also be a great sandwich filling.
Over time, I’ve realized that it’s an especially good sandwich filling when it’s mixed with roasted red pepper.
You can blend the two up, or you can layer them, as I do for these sweet potato tortillas.
Technically, you could use any white bean—navy, Great Northern, and cannellini, for example. But I think that the recipe works best with Great Northern and cannellini beans, which have a super creamy texture.
These beans will add protein, along with fiber, iron, and folate, to the sweet potato tortillas.
As for the red pepper that I mentioned, you have two options. The first is to roast the peppers yourself. This can be very rewarding in the summertime, but it will add some preparation time to the process of making your tortillas.
You can also add store-bought roasted red peppers, which typically come in a jar.
Since I keep mentioning how easy this recipe is, let me walk you through the process of making it.
The parenthetical aside is because you don’t have to roast your peppers in the oven, and you don’t have to bake your sweet potatoes.
You have the option to use store-bought roasted red peppers and to microwave the potatoes, if you’re looking to save time. I often take both shortcuts.
If you don’t mind some inactive oven cooking, preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C.
Trim the peppers, seed them, then cut them in half lengthwise. Place them cut side down on a baking sheet that’s lined with foil or parchment (or use a nonstick baking sheet).
Roast the peppers for thirty minutes, or until the skins are blackened and the peppers are collapsing.
Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover the bowl with an airtight cover (such as a plate that covers the entire bowl or a silicone cover). Let the peppers sit for twenty minutes.
Uncover the peppers and slip their skins off—this should be pretty easy once they’ve steamed in the bowl. Set the peeled peppers aside.
Next, decrease the oven temperature to 400°F / 200°C. Prick two medium or small sweet potatoes with a fork in several places.
Place the potatoes on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 45-50 minutes, or until they’re meltingly tender when pierced with a fork or a knife.
Allow the potatoes to cool until they can be handled, then cut them in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out their filling.
At this point, both the peppers and sweet potatoes are ready to use.
For the shortcut method, you’ll use store-bought, roasted red peppers. Simple enough!
For the sweet potatoes, use the microwave. Prick both potatoes all over with a fork.
Transfer them to a microwave-safe plate and microwave them on high for 8-12 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork; the cooking time will vary based on your microwave.
Next, you’ll make the filling by mashing the cooked sweet potato with your white beans, as well as seasonings: garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
I like to do this with a potato masher, but the back of a spoon or even a large fork will work as well.
Next, you’ll divide the creamy filling mixture among four tortillas.
As far as tortillas go, this recipe presents you with options.
First, size: you could use a smaller size (6-8 inches / 15-20cm), in which case I recommend sandwiching two tortillas.
You can also use a 10-12 inch / 25-30cm tortilla, in which case you can spread filling over half of the tortilla, then fold it over itself. You’ll warm and slice it as you would a quesadilla.
There are also options as far as tortilla type goes: white or whole grain wheat tortillas or corn tortillas. I prefer wheat tortillas for this recipe, personally.
Next, distribute roasted red pepper slices over the filling in the tortillas.
At this point, you’ll either cover your tortilla with a second tortilla to create a sandwich of sorts, or you’ll fold a larger tortilla in half (creating a half moon shape over the filling).
Transfer each tortilla stack or half moon to a lightly oiled skillet or fry pan. Brown the bottom side (I’d give this 2-3 minutes on medium low heat), flip, then brown the other side.
Finally, you can cut your tortillas into pieces and enjoy them.
I usually do four quarters for a double layered tortilla stack, or I do three wedges for a quesadilla-style stuffed tortilla.
The simplest way to serve the sweet potato tortillas is with a spritz of freshly squeezed lime juice and a dusting of some chopped cilantro.
And here are some other accompaniments that would turn the tortillas into an even more filling meal:
The sweet potato tortillas can be an easy vegan meal prep lunch if you make the filling ahead of time.
It can keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days, and you can also freeze it for up to eight weeks.
This is a component that I freeze often, making it fast and easy to prepare the tortillas whenever I crave them.
You can also make these tortillas with white potato, if you’re in the mood or that’s what you’ve got on hand. But I personally love using sweet potato here…and, well, everywhere.
I hope you’ll give the tortillas a try, and that you’ll love them. Once you get into the habit of making and storing the filling, the recipe becomes easy to rely on again and again.