May 13th, 2013
What better way to end a week long celebration of tacos than with Chipotle Sweet Potato, Lentil and Guacamole Tacos? These babies might be one of my favorite family food finds ever.
When I whipped up these vegetarian tacos, I fully expected my boys, especially the hungry papa, to feel less than satisfied. After all, our favorite go-to tacos are classic beef tacos and tacos made with carnitas, not to mention our new favorite Greek-style tacos and jerk chicken tacos. Notice a theme? Meat, meat, meat and meat. But, to my surprise, the boys loved this meatless version. Like seconds and thirds love them.
I was immediately drawn to this recipe from Naturally Ella. I love the classic combo of sweet potato and chipotle, and love even more that that they come together quickly. No long baking time, just a low maintenance sauté. And the guacamole? In my version, it’s nothing fancy—just avocado mashed with lime juice, cilantro, salt—but still does the job of balancing the spicy sweet potatoes and earthy lentils.
Oh and don’t be scared by chipotles. Yes, they can be spicy, but this recipe is simple enough to adapt. If your kiddo can deal with a little bit of heat, just cut down on the overall amount of chipotle that you use or include only a bit of the adobo sauce. If kiddo doesn’t want spicy at all, divide the sweet potatoes and skip the chipotles all together in kiddo’s portion. When it’s time to add the sauce, transfer a portion to a smaller (easy to clean!) frying pan and cook with chipotle-free sauce.
Also, you know the rigmarole with honey: skip it if you’ll be sharing with kids younger than 12-months. You can use a little granulated sugar, agave or maple syrup.
Please do yourself a favor and hop on over to Naturally Ella for the original recipe, which calls for black beans and a proper guacamole. While there, you should most definitely poke around. I’m posting my version of the recipe to make sure that you are able to implement my notes about the chipotles, honey and easier guac. Either way you go, you’re in for a treat.
Chipotle Sweet Potato, Lentil and Guacamole Tacos
(can be adapted for kids 6+ mos)*
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
½ medium onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into ½” cubes
1 cup cooked (or canned) lentils
1/2-1 chipotle in adobo sauce or to taste (optional)**
3 tablespoons adobo sauce**
2 tablespoons honey*
Juice of 3 limes, divided
1-2 avocados, to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste (optional)
Salt to taste
Corn tortillas, warmed, gluten-free if desired
Crumbled Feta or Cotija cheese, to garnish
1. Heat oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add sweet potatoes; toss once to coat with oil and then allow the potatoes to cook in a single layer for 3 minutes without stirring. Once caramelized on one side, toss and cook another side in a single layer for an additional 3 minutes.
2. In the meantime, combine chipotle, if using, adobo sauce, honey or other sweetener and juice of 2 limes in a small bowl. If cooking two portions, one with spice and the other without, make two sauces: combine 1/2 of a chipotle (or any amount to taste) with adobo, 1/2 of the honey, and juice of 1 lime for the spicy sauce and the remaining half of honey and juice of 1 lime for the not spicy sauce. Use a fork or mortar and pestle to break up the chipotle.
3. If cooking one version for all, add whatever single sauce you’ve made to the sweet potatoes. If cooking two versions, transfer half of the sweet potatoes to a separate pan; add the spicy sauce to one pan and the mild sauce to another. Turn heat to medium-low on both pans, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add lentils (split evenly between pans if making two versions), stir and continue cooking 10-15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are cooked through.
4. While sweet potatoes cook, mash avocados with remaining juice from 1 lime, cilantro and salt.
5. Pile cooked potatoes and lentils onto warmed tortillas and top with guacamole. Garnish with extra cilantro and/or cheese, if desired.
*Note: The sweet potato lentil filling is great for beginner eaters, just be sure to cut the spice down quite a bit or make a mild version. Also swap a pinch or two of sugar or 2 tablespoons of agave syrup for honey if sharing with eaters under 12-months-olds. Honey cannot be shared with kids younger than 1-year-old, even when cooked, due to risk of botulism.
**Note: Chipotles can be very spicy. Keep in mind that the adobo sauce itself will have a little heat and that the more pepper you use, the more heat you’re adding. If you want the flavor but low heat, use just adobo and be sure to pick out any seeds. Keep in mind that the heat in spicy peppers is concentrated in the seeds and also the veins which, in the case of chipotles, are hard to pull out.