Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Rice

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I recently moved back to my hometown in Massachusetts. After a lot of going back and forth to make the “right decision” for myself. The main reason for the move was I was going to get to live in my grandfathers home. He passed away almost 2 years ago. I realized that the best thing that I could do for myself was live there. I would get to renovate, grow a food business (whatever that may be) and feel connected to him and my nonni who passed away 10 years before him. There’s a lot to do and I’m almost done taking down the 70’s wallpaper. What I didn’t expect was to feel so at ease in that house. It gets sun drenched in the day and sitting in the kitchen there fills my heart so much. It isn’t lost on me the importance of getting to cook in my nonni’s kitchen everyday. It just feels so meant to be.

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Getting this house also means my lifelong dream of a large Oprah scale vegetable garden was in my near future. I’m growing lots of vegetable inside my house and they’re almost ready to go outside. It’s going to be a good summer. But it isn’t quite here yet. So, enters these tacos. Perfect spring (or even fall or winter) tacos when everything isn’t in season yet. These are so easy and full of flavor. It’s a flavor combo I use a lot and I’ll put almost anything in a corn tortilla. Just as I’m typing this, I’m picturing dark chocolate and sea salt…….hmm. The rice I paired with them is a total staple in my fridge. I always make a lot and add fresh cilantro as I need. It’s perfectly cooked and crazy good. My friend Carly who is self proclaimed “kitchen challenged”, basically lives on avocados and challah bread. Well, she would come to my door in Brooklyn and beg for this rice. Now she makes it all the time by herself. I hope you make this and I can’t wait to share my garden recipes with you all summer.

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Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

Serves 2

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 small sweet potato or 1/2 a large
  • 4 medium corn tortillas (or whatever your favorite is)
  • 4 cilantro stems (extra cilantro leaves for garnish)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp lime juice
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • 4 tsp hot sauce
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded Monterey Jack (optional)
  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pat dry sweet potato, then poke multiple holes in with fork. Place potato directly on top rack of oven. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and place on bottom rack directly below potato to catch spills. Bake for 45- 1 hour until the inside is very soft but still holds some shape when diced. Peel off skin when cooled, will come off very easily.
  2. About 30 minutes into cooking potato start your black bean mixture. Dump full can of beans into the small saucepan on high heat (don’t drain liquid, add everything). Add cilantro stems, minced garlic, cumin and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and bring beans to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to low heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes until beans and liquid have thickened (always can thin out with a little water if it’s getting too thick to stir). Take off heat, remove cilantro stems and add lime juice. Stir.
  3. Dice up sweet potato into small rough squares and add into beans. Stir until well incorporated (potato will start to lose its shape and blend in a little). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Warm up corn tortillas in microwave for 20 seconds by placing a damp paper towel over them. They will be softer and more pliable. Add some of the bean mixture, 1 tsp hot sauce, 1 tbsp cheese (if you want), 1 tbsp sour cream, and cilantro leaves. Serve with a lime wedge, Enjoy!

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Cilantro-Lime Rice

Serves 4

  • 2 cups short grain brown rice
  • juice of half a large lime
  • 2-3 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • sprinkle of pepper
  1. Rinse your rice in cold water. In a large pot, Bring 15 cups of water to a boil (or just fill it with a LOT of water so the rice won’t absorb it all and stick, TRUST ME) with a lid over high heat. Add the rice and stir. Then, let it boil for 30 minutes without the lid. After 30, drain rice in a strainer. Return to the pot and let it steam with the cover on for 10 minutes.
  2. Once steamed, add butter, salt and pepper. Mix until melted, taste. Add cilantro and lime juice, stir. Taste and adjust how you want. Enjoy!
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