Sometimes I just get inspired. This recipe was inspired by our recent dinner club at Empellon Taqueria. I figured if they could pull off hazelnuts and brussels sprouts in a taco, I knew I could pull off some sort of taco creation with the sweet potato and beans I had laying around the apartment. Couldn’t be that hard right? And I was right. This recipe was as simple as it was flavorful. I just happened to have all the right ingredients on hand for the crazy recipe I was hoping to create.
There are sometimes where I lay in bed dreaming up recipes in my head. What could I put with what? Would those flavors work well together? Once an inspiration hits me, I just let my brain run with it until I have it pretty much all mapped out in my head before I ever even step foot in the kitchen. It usually starts with something I have laying around that needs eating. (In this case, a sweet potato). Then I think about what else I have that could go with it. And what I’m in the mood for. Since Thailand is pretty much in the back of my head constantly because we’ll be traveling there so so soon! I often crave Thai food or Asian food.
Part of what I love about Thai food is the mix of flavors – some heat, tang from limes, sweet from coconut, and cooling cilantro, it just all goes so well together. I had some peanut butter, coconut milk and jalapeño also rolling around the fridge and I thought it would work perfectly to create a Thai fusion taco.
I started with the sweet potatoes and black beans for the filling – mixed with a small amount of coconut milk, cumin and cayenne for heat, the filling was spicy, creamy, and simply delicious. But it was everything put together that really made the tacos…well “sing” if you will.
I like a little crunch with my tacos, so to get that, I went with a kale and carrot slaw. Shredded kale and julienned carrots tossed on toasted sesame oil and lime juice – that combination was simple but really flavorful and added a terrific Asian twist.
For the sauce, I mixed up my usual spicy peanut sauce to include some coconut milk, and I left out the soy sauce so it would have a nicer creamier color. The sauce was spicy, garlicy, and lick-the-bowl worthy.
All combined together, this was a flavor explosion. It was almost like my brain couldn’t even compute what it was tasting, just that it was alllll good. Who knows, maybe there will be more fusion tacos in my future. If they turn out as good as these did, I might live off tacos for the rest of my life.
No but really. I might.
Black Bean & Sweet Potato Thai Fusion Tacos
What You’ll Need:
- 1 sweet potato, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup julienned carrots (about 1/2 a large carrot)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (15 ounces)
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons low-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup shredded kale
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lime
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
- 1 jalapeño
- 10 small corn tortillas
- fresh cilantro and extra lime slices for garnish (optional)
To Make the Filling:
- Sauté chopped sweet potatoes in a greased skillet over medium heat until they start to brown a bit. (I like to use spray olive oil to keep the amount of oil down)
- Add one clove of minced garlic and the black beans until the beans are heated through and the garlic has cooked
- Add the 1/4 cup coconut milk, cayenne, and cumin and mix well
- Turn the heat down to low to keep the filling warm if you’re not quite ready to serve yet. This will also give the flavors a chance to really mesh together
- To Make the Carrot and Kale Slaw:
- Add the shredded kale and carrots to a large bowl
- Add juice from 1/2 the lime and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil to the bowl
- Toss until the kale and carrots are evenly coated
To Make the Peanut Sauce:
- Cut the jalapeño in half and remove the seeds
- Place the peanut butter, jalapeño, 1 garlic clove, juice from the rest of the lime, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon of water to your food processor
- Pulse until the jalapeño and garlic are chopped up and everything is well mixed together and incorporated
- Warm the corn tortillas in the oven at 350º or toast them a tiny bit (my favorite) by placing in a pan over high heat for about 10 seconds on each side
- Put the sweet potato and black bean mixture in first, top with slaw and peanut sauce, and garnish with a few bits of cilantro
- Serve with a slice of lime and enjoy!