Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
A deeply satisfying meal of sticky, slow roasted sweet potatoes stuffed with spicy black beans, a fresh cherry tomato salsa and a generous scoop of avocado lime crema. Vegan and gluten free.
comfort • main dish • summer / autumn
The calendar might not read September yet, but the streak of brightly colored orange leaves running down the poplar outside my window certainly does.
As does the fact that our evening walks, usually spent sauntering down a path basked in bright golden sunshine, are now begun and ended in shadow, with the sun smoldering behind the trees and a slight chill in the air.
Yes, autumn is coming. And I for one am ready for her. As much as I love the summer, it will never inspire the depths of affection I feel for the few short weeks of intense beauty, mild days and crisp, starlit nights between the months of September and October. I love them beyond anything.
And what I love most of all is the return to comfort food and coziness. Of slow simmered stews, and roasted vegetables. Of apples and squashes and nuts and honey. Of hot beverages and warm blankets and the smell of woodsmoke in the air. It’s the kind of food that nourishes your very soul and makes you feel grounded in your self again. It makes you feel at home.
These sweet potatoes are sort of a hybrid summer and fall dish, with the all the bright colors of a sunny autumn day — orange, yellow and red with a wee bit of green still hanging on — but some of the freshness and lightness of summer coming through as well.
The slow roasted sweet potatoes are pure comfort, like the warm duvet of eating; soft and pillowy on the inside with crispy, salty skins all sticky from where the juices have oozed out during the roasting process. The sweet, apricot colored flesh gets slightly mashed and then topped with smoky black beans, ripe cherry tomatoes brightened up with a squeeze of lime and silky smooth avocado crema — tangy and fresh and light enough for the warmest of summer days. It somehow all feels like the best of summer of autumn all rolled together in one delicious little parcel.
Here’s to the savoring the end of summer, and embracing the beginning of fall…
Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves 4 - 6
For the sweet potatoes
4 medium sized sweet potatoes
2 tsp coconut oil
For the beans:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, minced
1 14 oz can (400 g) black beans, drained
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
For the tomato salsa:
1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 300 g), mixed colors
2 tsp lime juice
1/8 tsp salt
For the avocado lime crema:
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/8 - 1/4 cup water
small bunch cilantro
1 tsp salt
For the sweet potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Rub the outsides of the sweet potatoes with the coconut oil and then sprinkle them all over with sea salt. Use a fork or knife to pierce the skin here and there to create spots for the steam to escape while they cook, then place them on a baking tray and pop them in the oven.
Cook for 1 hour, or until they can be easily pierced through with a knife.
For the beans:
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and turn translucent.
Add the garlic, ground cumin, smoked paprika and stir to coat the onions, then add the black beans and tomato paste.
Cook until warmed through, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the salsa:
Quarter the tomatoes, and then slice each quarter in half to create small 1/4 inch sized pieces.
Combine the chopped tomatoes with the lime juice and salt and set aside.
For the Avocado crema:
Half the avocado, remove the stone and them scoop the flesh into a blender.
Add the lime juice, olive oil, 1/8 cup of the water, cilantro and salt and blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy, adding additional water if necessary to thin it out.
Check for seasonings and set aside.
You can assemble the sweet potatoes one of two ways, depending on whether you are serving them on their own or as part of a spread (or depending on the size of your potatoes — for smaller potatoes I’d choose option 1, for big guys I’d go with option 2).
For a heftier portion or smaller sized potatoes, simply slit open the top of each potato, using a fork to widen the opening. Sprinkle a little salt over the flesh and then mash up the inside of the sweet potato as best you can, creating a little divot in the middle. Add a scoop of beans, top with some tomato salsa and finish with a generous scoop of the avocado crema. Garnish with chopped cilantro and a little salt and pepper and serve.
If you are serving these as a part of a spread along with other dishes (or you have enormous sweet potatoes), you can slice each potato in half. Sprinkle each half with a little salt, mash up the flesh, creating a little divot in the middle and then top each potato half with the beans, tomato salsa and avocado crema in that order. Finish with a garnishing of chopped cilantro and some salt and pepper.
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