Yam Taco Bowls

I have a couple people
to credit for this recipe. I was scrolling down my Instagram feed and noticed a post by @yoyomama that had a photo of a Sweet Potato Taco Bowl. In her description she gave the recipe, but also credited it to Samantha of My Kitchen Love.  You can view the original recipe on Samantha's site with her notes and her amazing photo (I don't take good ones) HERE!

If you've read any of my blog food posts, you know I am always mixing things up a bit.  Samantha's photo shows a round bowl with the individual ingredients all placed in separate piles looking beautiful. I prefer a more layered final dish and prefer yams to sweet potatoes. And I wanted to combine the yams, meat, beans and fresh tomatoes in a layer at the bottom. It gave the bottom layer a little more color and having juicy diced tomato mixed in added some needed moisture to the other ingredients. If you wanted you could also serve this on small layer of greens. I might try that next time. 

Two other notes. First - because of the way I used the tomatoes, I preferred a juicy, ripe larger red tomato instead of the cherry tomatoes she used. If you just make piles of the ingredients separately, the cherry tomatoes would definitely look nicer.  But  if you mix them in like I do a juicier large diced tomato works better.

Second - on her site Samantha makes a note about the amount of chili powder and notes that's only for a mild product. HOWEVER, I find the amount of spice mix a lot. The taste of was great, but  overpowered the taste of the fresh ingredients. I couldn't taste the yams in particular, which I personally love.  So I will use less next time. How much less? I'm not sure yet. It's going to take some trial and error to find the right balance of spice that keeps the great flavor, but allows the fresh ingredients to shine as well. 

For serving, I found these great medium size all-purpose plate/bowls at Costco the were perfect to serve this in.  Sort of like a flatter pasta bowl, just slightly turned up sides.  BUT any plate or bowl you have can be made to work. And I added a rolled up warm flour tortilla to finish off the meal. 

= = = = 

Sweet Potato Taco Bowl
She says 4 servings. I would say 3 adult servings. 

Ingredients -

Spice Mix - (It is a lot. I will be using less next time. See notes above)
2 T                Mild chili powder
1 T                Sweet smoked paprika (feel free to use hot smoked paprika if you like extra spicy)
1 T                Ground cumin (or can use ground coriander)
2 tsp              Kosher Salt
1 T                Dried oregano
1 tsp              Garlic powder
1 tsp              Onion powder
Optional - can add 1/4-1/2 tsp Cayenne if you want a spicy dish. I skipped this.

Bowl - 
1 lb.              Dark orange yams dices in 1/2" cubes
1 T                Vegetable oil
1 lb.               Extra lean ground beef
1                    14 oz. (330 ml) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2                    Ears fresh corn, shucked and kernels cut off of the cob (or 1 cup canned)
1-2                Large tomatoes coarsely diced
1                    Medium avocado, sliced
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Sour Cream (or could use thick yogurt or ranch dressing)
Chopped Cilantro
Sliced Green Onion
Lime slices
Optional - pickled or fresh jalapeno slices, sliced ripe olives, etc. 

Instructions -

Preheat oven to 400° F.

In a small bowl mix together chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, oregano, garlic power, onion powder, and cayenne pepper (if using). Toss diced yams with vegetable oil and half the seasoning mixture from the small bowl, about 2 tablespoons. NOTE - I would use less as this amount overpowers the taste of the yams. Up to your personal taste. Bake for 15-20 minutes until tender and cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook beef over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes until cooked through. Drain off any fat (she leaves 1 T in pan, I preferred to remove it all and added a little water instead). Add beans and remaining seasoning mixture from the small bowl (NOTE - again, I would use a little less) and if you took all the fat out, add a couple tablespoons of water to help the spice mix in. Toss to fully coat beans and beef with seasoning. Continue to cook until beans are heated through. 

Once heated through, added the hot roasted yams right from the over and the fresh diced tomatoes and gently combined. Again this is not the way it was done in the original recipe. 

The original recipe didn't say what do do with the fresh corn.  As the alternative was canned which is a cooked product, I decided to cook it just slightly - 1 minute in the microwave. I have had fresh, uncooked corn before and it has a unique, sweet taste so raw uncooked could work as well.  

Instead of small piles of ingredients, I spread a layer of the meat/yam/beans/tomato mixture on the bottom (next time I am considering a small layer of greens first). On top of this I sprinkled a layer of corn and then added slices of avocado in a circle pattern.  I put a small amount of sour cream in a zip-loc sandwich bag, pressed out the air and sealed it. Then I cut the tip off one corner and piped a squiggle of sour cream.  Next came crumbled feta and the chopped cilantro (and other toppings - green onion, jalapeno, olives, etc.)

Serve with slices of lime, your favorite salsa and if you like, warmed flour tortillas.