As mush as it upsets my meat-eating husband, for 2019 I’ve challenged myself to attempt to eat less meat this year. Sounds simple enough, but when you’ve got a backyard of chickens, half of a steer in the freezer from the fair and are married to an avid hunter, it’s not so simple. I’m thinking this is going to be a much tougher challenge than not eating store-bought candy like I did for last year. Some might call that a resolution, but I call it a challenge.
I did stuff like that all throughout college. If I noticed I was going out and drinking too frequently, I’d challenge myself to become a hermit for a certain amount of time just to see if I could follow through. That particular challenge of not going out to bars or ordering a drink while out at dinner was much easier in the winter because to be perfectly honest, I didn’t relish in the idea of freezing to death while I waited in a line outside of a bar just to go inside and overpay for drinks. But that’s a whole other topic for another time.
Upon deciding on this challenge, I reached out to a couple of my friends who have recently gone vegetarian or vegan and asked them how they made the process of giving up meat a little easier. For the most part, they all told me the same thing: find the things I enjoy without meat. For me, that’s pretty simple: sweet potatoes.
Inspired by a fast weeknight recipe I used to make regularly, I omitted the kielbasa sausage I would usually cook alongside sweet potatoes, garlic and an onion or two, and turned it into a vegetarian taco that’s oh-so-easy to throw together in a hurry. It’s easy to prep the night before, do the slicing and dicing the night before, which also means the vegetables can get some extra time to soak up some of the spicy flavors used to season these tacos.
Since these tacos are moderately spicy, don’t feel like it’s necessary to use pepper jack cheese. Monterey Jack cheese is just as good, as is any Mexican cheese blend available at your local grocery store. For added spice and flavor, I like to serve these tacos with either Tapatio or Green Pepper hot sauce, but again, don’t feel like it’s absolutely necessary. One thing that is necessary, however is the avocado crema, which will combat some of the spiciness of the tacos themselves.
While there is no meat in these tacos, I really enjoy pairing these spicy sweet potato tacos with a full-bodied red wine to enhance the combination of spices used. Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are two of my favorites. Vina Robles Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a very easy drinking cab, something I basically consider to be a house wine for around $20. Achaval-Ferrer Mendoza Malbec is basically the only Malbec I will drink and it’s so affordable at under $25.
- 1/2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounce can diced green chiles
- 8 small corn tortillas, warmed
- 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 1 avocado, halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- to taste salt