Tex-Mex Quinoa-Sweet Potato Boats
Yesterday, it was Taco Tuesday… and I didn’t make very impressive tacos. I did the usual hard-shell, ground beef, lettuce thing I typically make for the kids. We didn’t even have any shredded cheese in the house. I forgot to buy it this week at the store!
It’s not that I eat tacos every Tuesday, like you’re apparently supposed to. It’s that I actually WANTED to eat tacos yesterday, and didn’t like them. There is a blogger-mom who refers to the traditional Americanized- tacos that I described above as “prison tacos.” I don’t think there’s a more accurate descriptor than that. But honestly, who doesn’t enjoy tacos? It’s hard to not enjoy tacos, especially on a warm day with the sun shining and it almost feeling like summer in the middle of winter here in Minnesota. Aside from people who haven’t ever tried them, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy good tacos.
Unfortunately, tacos can be incredibly unhealthy, depending on how they’re prepared. What’s so unhealthy about that crunchy corn-based shell? What’s wrong with the ground beef or the cheese? We all know salsa is good for you. Unfortunately, the hard shells are usually fried in some unhealthy oil – like vegetable or canola oil. The fats
found in those oils can be hard on your digestive system. The ground beef isn’t so bad if it’s 85/15 or better. Cheeses and the other toppings vary. One great thing about tacos – you can alter them to be healthier if you modify the ingredients.
I was excited to come across this healthy taco option that uses sweet potatoes. I know, sounds weird, right? Keep an open mind!
Tex-Mex Quinoa-Sweet Potato Boats:
4 Sweet Potatoes
Grapeseed or sunflower oil
1 Avocado, cut into chunks
Tex-Mex Quinoa Salsa:
½ cup cooked Quinoa
1 cup corn kernels, frozen or canned
½ medium red onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat the sweet potatoes dry and oil them. Place them on the baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes. Set aside to cool. Cook the quinoa per package instructions. Quinoa cooks the same way rice does making it easy to prepare. Once your quinoa is almost done, add in the corn kernels so they finish at the same time. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Mix in your chopped onion, peppers, beans, cumin, cayenne, and a portion of the cilantro (leave some cilantro for the garnish). Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Slice off the tops of the sweet potatoes, open them a bit, and scoop out a little of the insides. Fill the sweet potato shells with the Tex-Mex- Quinoa Salsa and top with the reserved cilantro and avocado. Enjoy!!!