Vegan Potato and Sweet Potato Tacos with Kale Slaw (and a lot of other stuff)

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I live in the part of my college town that I fondly like to think of as a drunk’s Garden of Eden. There are about three liquor stores within a minute’s walk from my apartment, and in that same radius, probably around twenty different dining establishments that mainly cater to the late-night munchies crowd. Options include, but are not limited to, a place specializing in both bibimbop and frozen yogurt, a dedicated grilled cheese-ery, and a sushi restaurant sharing its lot with a hardware store.

Now, I pride myself on my dedication to a decently wholesome diet. Why, I think my markedly bougie taste has come to be the trademark of my bougie little blog. There is this one burrito place, though — a shack with questionable sanitary practices that absolutely no one goes to while in their sober right mind. Except, perhaps, for me, and usually between 4:00 and 5:00 PM, head down and opting for carry-out to escape my shame. During my too-lazy-to-cook phase of last semester, I got my $4.50 vegan burrito bowl with extra rice (which, on more than one occasion, I found containing a straggler piece of meat that I had the misfortune of chewing before the realization hit) more often than I would like the internet to be privy to.

I like to think that I have somewhat reformed my questionable eating habits of a few months ago. At the very least, I mostly cook now instead of eating out. Something happens to your body, I think, after a period in which you mainly eat relatively “healthy” foods that actually makes you crave veggies and greens and all that stuff. Absurd, isn’t it?

So when I’m now hit with that pseudo-Mexican food craving, I actually want something more…good? It is with this that I pitch to you these crispy sweet potato and regular potato tacos, with all the fixings one would expect from someone like me making a taco – kale slaw, cilantro lime rice, cherry tomato pico de gallo, and chunky homemade guacamole.

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I usually think of myself as a fairly smart person, but I’m here to tell you that sometimes I have some pretty dumb ideas. For whatever reason, I decided to cook the potatoes and sweet potatoes separately, with two different methods, even though they both have the same cook-time. I seasoned the sweet potatoes and chose to roast them in the oven, while I opted for pan-frying the regular potatoes (with the same seasonings applied later on). I’ll tell you how I did both, but here’s what I’ll say: if you want something more simple, just roast all the potatoes in the oven and call it a day. Pan-frying takes more elbow grease, and actual grease, but the result is an objectively crispier and (I think) slightly tastier result. You do you.

I also encourage you to try your own favorite toppings. Ideas that come to mind include refried beans, pickled onions, salsa verde, or really anything. Go wild. Personally, I thought that the kale slaw was a nice bed for the potatoes and also a necessary addition of greens (and there’s mayonnaise so it doesn’t taste healthy). Guac and pico are consistently delicious, and I always like to have rice with my carbs.

There is definitely something more rewarding about savoring a Mexican-style meal of your own creation than shoveling a burrito bowl out of a Styrofoam box a block away from a shady burrito place so that no one realizes you’re a patron.

Give these a try.

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Sweet Potato and Potato Tacos
(Serves 6-8) 

1 ½ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in ½-inch cubes
1 ½ lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or a bit less if roasting)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper
¼ cup minced cilantro, plus more for serving
Juice of half a lime, plus more for serving
Heated corn tortillas, cilantro lime rice cherry tomato pico de gallo, kale slaw, and guacamole, recipes below (for serving)

For Roasting:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the oil, spices, and salt and pepper. Lay the potatoes out onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Roast in the middle-rack of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until soft and crispy on the outside.

Out of the oven, mix in the cilantro and lime juice.

For Pan-Frying:

 Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Parboil the potatoes for about 8 minutes, until just slightly tender. While boiling, make sure you get a large bowl filled with ice water ready. Scoop the potatoes into the ice water to shock them (cool them off). Drain the potatoes, and dry thoroughly.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add in the 1 tablespoon of oil and the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and sear for about 10 minutes, flipping the potatoes halfway through. You want the potatoes to be soft on the inside and very crispy. Add in all of the seasonings, adding a few splashes of water if the potatoes get too dry, and cook for another 3 minutes. Off the heat, mix in the cilantro and lime juice.

For serving, heat corn tortillas in a dry pan over medium-high heat for about a minute on each side, until slightly toasted. To assemble, spread some guacamole on a tortilla, add a small bunch of the kale slaw, then the potatoes, and finally the pico de gallo. Drizzle with some lime juice and add more cilantro to taste. Pro tip: eat the tacos over rice so that the rice catches any filling that falls out – now you have a burrito bowl too!

Cherry Tomato Pico de Gallo

 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup minced sweet onion
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons lime juice

Mix all of the ingredients together and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

Kale Slaw

2 cups thinly sliced kale, stalks removed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 medium carrot, grated
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (or real mayo if not vegan)

Pour the lime juice over the kale and massage it in unit the kale softens a bit. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and set aside in the fridge. I recommend making this a bit in advance so that the slaw has a chance to marinate a bit.

Guacamole

 2 ripe avocados, flesh scooped out
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 teaspoon salt

Mash all of the ingredients with a fork until you have a chunky guacamole (or smooth, if you prefer)

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 cup basmati rice
1 ¾ cup water
2 teaspoons salt
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup minced cilantro

Bring water and rice to a boil. Add in bay leaves and salt, cover, and turn down the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, then take off of the heat and let the rice steam for another 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and let the rice cool down for about 10 minutes before mixing in the cilantro (so that it doesn’t turn brown).

 

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One thought

  1. Thanks, great article.

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