Vegetarian Roasted Corn and Sweet Potato Tacos with Feta Cheese and Honey Lime Chipotle Cream
By Heidi Allison
This vegetarian recipe is homage to the plant-based cuisine of rural Mexico, which uses meat and cheese as condiments rather than the main ingredient. Reclaiming the healthier aspects of this traditional diet, grilled fresh corn and roasted sweet potatoes are switched out for fried pork, chicken or beef as the filling. Seasoned with just a sprinkling of salty feta or cotija cheese as a counterpoint flavor, then topped with a drizzle of smoky, “not-too-hot” chipotle cream and minced cilantro, this healthy, filling taco will satisfy both vegetarians and hardcore carnivores.
The trick to making this recipe work lies in its flavor profile—a play of salty and sweet with a touch of smoky heat. Finished with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, which lends a note of brightness to the finished dish, this recipe is balanced and complex. Nothing boring about it. Add a side of pinto or black beans, and you have a complete plant-based protein for your meal. You won’t miss the meat—a great addition to your ‘Meatless Monday “culinary repertoire that’s easy on the budget.
While this recipe calls for initially steaming the sweet potatoes before sautéing, you can also roast the raw, seasoned tubers in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes on a foil-lined baking pan until caramelized, which uses less steps and pans. Just be sure to watch the potatoes so they do not burn.
2 garnet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 tsp flake kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. morita or chipotle chile powder
2 ears white corn, cut from the cob (about 1½ cups)
1 tsp. corn oil
½ sweet onion, minced
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (can substitute with cotija cheese)
1 bunch cilantro leaves, minced
Chipotle Cream Sauce
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 chipotle en adobo chile peppers, seeds removed
1 tsp. chipotle chile adobo sauce
1 tsp. honey
Place all ingredients into a blender and purée until smooth. Place chipotle cream sauce in a covered container and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
Place sweet potatoes in a steamer basket in a large pot and cover. Cook on medium heat until sweet potatoes are almost done—about 15 minutes. Remove from pot and allow to cool.
Place 1 tsp. corn oil in a skillet and heat on medium heat. Add sweet potatoes and sprinkle with salt, chipotle chile powder and cumin. Cook until a light brown crust forms on sweet potatoes, then shake pan until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe out pan with a paper towel and repeat process until second batch is done.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet with 1 tsp. of corn oil on medium heat until hot and add corn kernels. Cook until corn develops a light brown caramelization, shaking pan back and forth several times, until corn kernels are soft and lightly browned in spots —about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Wipe out cast iron skillet and heat on medium heat until hot. Place corn tortillas in skillet until warm and pliable—about 10 seconds, then turn over for 5 seconds more until warm and soft. Repeat until all tortillas are cooked.
Assemble the tacos by layering 2 tablespoon of sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon grilled corn, 1 tsp. minced onion, 2 tablespoons chipotle cream and a light sprinkling of feta cheese and cilantro. Plate tacos and serve with a wedge of fresh lime and a side of black beans.