Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

I went to the library last week with Mrs. Common Housefly and we came across this book: Thug Kitchen: eat like you give a f*ck. Pretty rude title, to be sure. But when we looked it over it seemed quite interesting. It was a NY Times #1 Best Seller. It had enough swear words on each page to let me know that this was not my mother’s cookbook. And it included a quote from Julia Child on the opening page:

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.
— Julia Child

So, intrigued, we checked it out of the library and proceeded to make some of the recipes. The stated goal of the book is to goad us into eating healthier meals and we are game to go down that path when we can.

The first dish we made was Sweet Potato, Squash, and Black Bean Enchiladas. We love us some sweet potatoes and, well, as the book says in its own inimitable way:

There are two kinds of people in this world; people who like enchiladas and people who have no f***ing taste. Which are you?
— Thug Kitchen

Count us in the first group.

This recipe did not disappoint. In fact, it was startling how good this was even though there is no meat or cheese in it. This is a keeper recipe.

Foul language aside (sorry if the quotes from the book offends anyone), we would recommend giving this one a try.

Sweet Potato, Squash, and Black Bean Enchiladas

Makes 8 enchiladas, enough for 4 people


  • 2 ¼ cups vegetable broth

  • 1/3 cup tomato paste

  • 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Dump everything but the lime juice into a medium sauce and bring to a simmer. Use a whisk or something and make sure that the tomato paste isn’t just sitting in a clump. Let that simmer together for about 10-15 minutes so that they sauce has time to thicken up a little. Add the lime juice and turn off the heat. Let it cool while you make the filling.


  • 1 large sweet potato, about 1 pound, chopped into nickel-sized pieces*

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • ½ an yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 medium yellow squash, grated on your box grater, about 1 cup

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave

  • a pack of tortillas

Grab a medium saucepan, and fill it with an inch or two of water over a medium heat. Throw in your metal steamer basket and fill it with the potatoes. Cover it and steam until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Dump them into a bowl and smash them around. Some chunks are cool so you don’t need to work too hard at this.

While the potatoes steam, grab a large skillet or wok and heat the oil up over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to brown, 3-5 minutes. Toss in squash and cook for another minute. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic, black beans, and salt. Cook together for another 2 minutes and then fold in the mashed sweet potato and maple syrup and turn off the heat. Mix until combined.

Now you're finally gonna make the enchiladas. Warm your oven up to 375 and grab a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with about 1 ½ cups of enchilada sauce. Using a griddle, your oven, or the microwave, warm up the tortillas. Kinda dip the tortilla around in a little of the sauce in the dish so that the bottom side is all coated. Fill it up with a couple spoonfuls of filling and the roll it up so that it sits seam-side down in the dish. You know how enchiladas are supposed to look, so just do that. Keep going till you run outta of space or out of filling. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce, cover the dish tightly with foil and throw it in the oven for 20 minutes. Take off the foil and cook it for 5 more. Let it cool for a minute or two before serving. Feel free to top with some sliced avocado or chopped cilantro. This goes great with a side of Baked Spanish Rice and Wilted Garlic Greens.

recipesMichael Liss