Well, this post is long overdue. Overdue by at least two years, I think. These sweet potato and black bean quesadillas are one of the cheapest, easiest, most satisfying, and tastiest dinners I make. At least I think so. And the fact that you can make the filling ahead of time and make enough for a few dinners, makes for a relatively fast weeknight meal.
I started making sweet potato quesadillas over a couple years ago when I stumbled on it while wandering around on Pinterest and have now found countless variations on it. I guess I was a little slow to the game on combining the two main stars of this dinner, but I sure am making up for it with enthusiasm and constant craving. In fact, I wonder if it was this dinner that tipped off my incessant chipotle smoky cravings.
To start with I make my own taco seasoning blend. Please don’t let me lose you on this. If you really are hard pressed, you can buy taco seasoning, but it really doesn’t take much effort to make your own and this way you know its fresh, not full of chemicals, and you can make a ton of it. I use Alton Brown’s recipe and I just keep a jar of it next to my salt and pepper….. yes, that’s how often I make these quesadillas.
Next I roast sweet potatoes. How many? How much? Well, how much would you want to eat this week? I generally roast 3-4 medium sweet potatoes at a time and that will make 3 dinners for two adults and a toddler. I generally roast the potatoes at least a day ahead of time, or essentially when I have a free moment, rarely right before assembling the dinner.
Once the seasoning is made and the sweet potatoes roasted, the dinner comes together in a snap. While the sweet potatoes roast, make the sour cream sauce, chop your cilantro, open and drain your can of beans and you’re 80% there. All you have to do is assemble and cook your quesadilla.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas with Chipotle Lime Sour Cream
3-4 good size sweet potatoes
1-15oz can black beans
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2-3 tablespoons cilantro
1-2 limes – optional, but nice
Pepper jack cheese (or Monterey jack)
Taco Seasoning adapted from Alton Brown
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons cornstarch (optional)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (if using sea salt, as I normally do, decrease to 1-1.5 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like more heat, but I would add that directly to the sweet potato mixture itself and keep the seasoning mix sane)
Chipotle Sour Cream Dip
1 cup sour cream
2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 lime (optional)
2 cloves garlic (very optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet (not a cookie sheet because sweet potatoes can ooze) with aluminum foil. Sweet potato ooze can be a beast to clean up, so this is definitely a situation that calls for aluminum foil or parchment. Stab your sweet potatoes a few times to help them bake faster – I’m not sure if this actually works, but it’s what I was taught so I’m going with it. If you’d like, rub the potatoes with a bit of oil, if not don’t worry. Bake the sweet potatoes for about an hour until they’re squishy and you can easily scoop the insides out.
If you haven’t made the taco seasoning, it can be done while the potatoes bake. Just add all the ingredients together and mix well. I make a double batch generally and keep it handy for months at a time. The cornstarch is to prevent clumping, but honestly, I’ve never had issues without it and I live in an extremely humid area. Transfer mixture to a mason jar for storage.
Make the sour cream dip while the sweet potatoes bake as well. Mix the cup of sour cream with one or two chipotles in adobo sauce. You know the level of heat you like. I’ve tried three and it was way too much for me. I like to add a squeeze of lime juice from half a lime, but its not mandatory. This is currently where I stop for the sauce. However, before my last pregnancy I would add in a clove or two of chopped garlic. Bear in mind that raw garlic adds additional heat. I liked it before, but not so much now. Plus it’s more chopping so I leave it out. I’ve gotten lazier too….
Once the potatoes are done baking, mix in one tablespoon of taco seasoning. The desired spiciness and heat of the mixture depends on how many sweet potatoes you’ve used and how seasoned you like your food. I like mine reasonably seasoned because as much as my mouth likes hot food, my tummy doesn’t. Start with a tablespoon and go from there.
Chop your cilantro. I love the herb and add it judiciously, but add 1-2 tablespoons at least to the sweet potato mixture. Drain and rinse your black beans, add to the sweet potato mixture and add a good squeeze from half a lime. I generally save the second half for the chipotle sour cream dip, but it depends on juiciness. Mix everything well.
Taste the sweet potato mixture and add more salt, cayenne, or taco seasoning as you see fit.
Heat up a medium skillet on medium heat. Once hot add a tablespoon of oil to prevent sticking.
I tend to scoop about a half a cup of the sweet potato mixture into a tortilla, add in about a quarter cup of pepper jack cheese, and fold over and pan fry as one does a quesadilla flipping after about 3-5 minutes per side. I love when a bit of cheese oozes out and makes a frico, but I’m messy that way.
Cut the quesadilla in half to make it easier to eat and serve with chipotle sour cream. Apply to face.
The sweet potato mixture keeps for about a week covered in the fridge. The freshness severely degrades after that. Leftover chipotles in adobo sauce can be stored in a little freezer bag and froze….for a very long time. When needed I cut a chunk off an inch at a time for the desired heat.