Sweet potato black bean tacos are a delightful mix of smoky, spicy, and sweet. The smokiness comes by way of chipotles in adobo sauce. If you’ve never worked with this ingredient, you are in for a serious treat!
The sweet potatoes for the tacos can be cooked in the oven or air fryer. Vegan & gluten-free.
I live with an ardent sweet potato lover.
Whenever I go out of town or am away for the night, I can be 100% sure that David is making sweet potatoes for dinner. They’re his easy, go-to meal.
Sometimes he cooks them whole in the air fryer or oven. He usually serves them with red wine mushrooms and sautéed spinach.
Other times he makes a simple curry with sweet potatoes as the star of the show.
Sweet potatoes have so many possibilities!
Sweet potato black bean tacos
So when I make sweet potato black bean tacos for dinner, I know David is going to be celebrating.
These sweet potato black bean tacos include a special ingredient that makes them even more magical.
Chipotle peppers in adobo.
What are chipotle peppers in adobo?
Chipotle chili peppers are actually jalapeño peppers that have been dried and smoked.
Chipotle peppers in adobo are sold in small cans. You can find them in Mexican and Latin food markets, as well as online and in most grocery stores. Look for them alongside the salsas, tortillas, and jarred peppers.
They usually sell for just one or two dollars. And each can has several peppers and sauce inside.
Since this recipe only calls for one pepper, one can will last for a while!
Because they are made with jalapeños and the size of the peppers can vary, it’s good to start with one pepper and work up from there.
It’s easier to add heat than it is to take it away!
If you’re really heat averse, use a half teaspoon of the adobo sauce instead of a pepper. Or remove the seeds in the pepper before using it in this dish.
Keep the remaining peppers and sauce in a covered glass container in the refrigerator. They will last for about a month.
Or, like tomato paste, you can freeze the remaining peppers in sauce in freezer-proof containers.
Cook the sweet potatoes in the air fryer or oven
I like to cook the sweet potatoes separately before incorporating them with the black beans. That way they can easily brown without having to keep a constant eye on them in the skillet or adding a bunch of oil.
You have choices when it comes to cooking the potatoes. Roast them in the oven or cook them in the air fryer. I give directions for both in the recipe box below.
(Of course, if you’d prefer to cook the sweet potatoes in a skillet on the stove, that will work too. You will need more oil than is called for here.
Because the sweet potatoes take the longest to cook, I recommend browning those first in a skillet, and then continuing with the onions and garlic after the sweet potatoes are pretty much cooked.)
How to make sweet potato black bean tacos
While the sweet potatoes are roasting in the oven or cooking in the air fryer, bring a skillet to a medium heat. Add oil, onions, and garlic. Sauté until they are translucent and fragrant.
Then add black beans, spices, a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo, agave or maple syrup, and salt. (A little bit of sweet from the agave or maple syrup balances the heat of the pepper.)
Add a couple Tablespoons of water to evenly combine the spices and de-glaze the pan.
Then add the cooked sweet potatoes and another Tablespoon of water to evenly mix everything together.
Taste for salt and heat. Add more salt, if needed.
The size and heat of peppers can vary. So if you’d like the dish to be spicier, add a half teaspoon of the adobo sauce from the can and/or another chopped chipotle pepper.
If the dish is too hot for you, add an additional drained and rinsed can of black beans.
Keep in mind that you’ll be serving this filling in a taco shell with salsa, avocado, and/or guacamole. And all of those things will cool any stinging heat in the filling.
Fresh cranberry salsa
If it’s around the holidays, fresh cranberry salsa goes particularly nicely with these smoky sweet potato black bean tacos. The tart tanginess of the cranberry salsa is just right for balancing the smoky heat.
If cranberries aren’t in season, no worries. Sweet potato black bean tacos are also great with easy guacamole or avocado alone.
Finish the tacos with a sprinkling of green leaf lettuce and cilantro.
Use the sweet potato & black bean mixture for baked taquitos! They can be made in the oven or air fryer.
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