Mexican-Style Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
An easy and healthy meal that littles and bigs will both gleefully devour? We say olè! Our Mexican-style stuffed sweet potatoes are literally brimming with kid-friendly ingredients: black beans, corn, cheddar cheese! You’ll love those fixins’, too (who doesn’t love melted cheese?!), but also appreciate the sweet potato vessels and the subtle addition of flavorful—rather than hot—spices (full recipe below). Sweet potatoes are at their best in late October, making this deeeeelicious dish filling fall fare at its very best!
Feast your eyes on all these nutritious foods! Sweet potatoes are a primo source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), which promotes normal growth and development, bone and tissue repair, and a strong immune system. Black beans are packed with protein and fiber, the dairy provides calcium, and corn offers lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are essential for eye health. The cilantro even supplies vitamin K, which helps support blood clotting, as well as great flavor.
News Flash! Grocery stores typically carry two types of sweet potatoes: the ones with golden skin and pale flesh, and their copper-skinned kin with orange flesh. The latter are usually labeled “yams,” but are actually sweet potatoes, too—either variation will work for this recipe.
Baking sweet potatoes may take some time, but it’s also super easy—and you can use those minutes to prep the rest of your ingredients, make a salad or cut fruit for a side dish, and set the table (or teach your child how to do it!). We poke holes in our potatoes before baking to let out steam and prevent explosions; however, Rachael Ray has some interesting insight into whether it’s actually necessary.
Need food on the table faster? Go ahead and microwave those tubers. The skin may not be quite as crispy as when you bake them, but the broiling process after they are stuffed will help—and it gets the dinner-job done.
This is what your potato-skin boats should look like after you’ve scraped out the flesh. Once you add corn, beans, onions, etc. to the flesh, chances are you’ll have some filling left over, even if you stuff your boats quite full. We suggest forming the excess into small patties and storing in an airtight container in the fridge (or freezing them!) to make pan-fried vegetarian sliders for a quick dinner later. You could also store and reheat the filling later for burritos, tacos, quesadillas, or a simple entrée with rice and salad.
In our centers, we embrace family-style eating—encouraging children to serve themselves teaches them important social skills (like passing items, sharing, being patient, and saying “please” and “thank you”) and how to listen to their own hunger cues. Allowing them to get in on the serving action can also inspire them to try new foods, like cilantro, black beans, or whole sweet potatoes—far different from the purées of their “first foods” months.
Place a platter of the twice-baked potatoes on the table along with little bowls of yummy toppings: sour cream, olives, chopped avocado, diced tomato, salsa, etc. Then invite all eaters to grab a tater and top it to their heart’s desire! Sure, there will likely be some spills when children take the lead, but also lots of smiles.
MEXICAN-STYLE STUFFED SWEET POTATOES
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
* Adapted from Pinch of Yum.
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, washed and dried
- Olive oil for brushing potatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15.25-ounce) can corn, rinsed and patted dry (or about 2 cups frozen corn)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 1 ounce cream cheese
- ¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- For topping: Sour cream, sliced olives, chopped avocado, salsa, etc.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare the sweet potatoes: Poke a few holes in each one with a fork, lightly brush the outsides with olive oil, and loosely wrap them individually in foil. Bake for 45–60 minutes, or until a knife goes in easily.
- While the potatoes are baking, place the black beans in a small bowl and set aside.
- Preheat a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Without using oil or butter, add the corn to the pan. Sprinkle with the cumin, add salt to taste, give it a quick stir, and then leave it alone. Let the corn roast for several minutes, give it a stir, and then let it sit for a few more minutes. Continue this process for about 10 minutes, or until the corn is roasted and browned. Transfer the corn to the bowl with the black beans.
- Add the butter to the pan you used for the corn and melt over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven, let cool for 5–10 minutes, and then cut them in half. From each half, carefully scrape all but a thin layer of the flesh out into a medium bowl, leaving the skins intact. Place the potato-skin boats on the baking sheet.
- Add the cream cheese and sour cream to the bowl of potato flesh and mix until well combined. Add salt to taste. Gently stir in the beans/corn, onions, and cilantro.
- Scoop the filling into the skins and top each with ¼ cup shredded cheese. Broil the stuffed potatoes for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!