Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

December 24, 2006 at 5:34 am (A (4 stars, love, favorite), Alma's faves, Beans, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Mexican & S. American, Monthly menu plan: dinner, Other, Root vegetables, Winter recipes) ()

This recipe is a long-time favorite.  We often make these burritos for company.  We serve them with salsa and a salad and either guacamole or diced avocado. It makes a great autumn or winter meal. This recipe is adapted from a recipe from the cookbook Sara Moulton Cooks At Home. The burritos freeze well, so we usually make a quadruple recipe and freeze a bunch of burritos.

Alma as a toddler loved these burritos, and now at almost 6 she still loves them! But she still asks us to leave the scallions out of hers.


  • For the sweet potatoes:
    • 2 sweet potatoes, about 10 ounces each
    • freshly grated nutmeg to taste
    • salt and pepper
  • For the beans:
    • 2 Tbs. olive oil
    • 1 small onion (about 4 ounces), finely chopped (should yield about 1/2 cup)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin (original recipe called for 1/2 tsp.)
    • 3/4 tsp. chili powder (original recipe called for 1/2 tsp.)
    • 1.5 cups cooked black beans or one 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (but save the cooking liquid from homemade beans)
    • 1/2 cup bean cooking liquid (original recipe called for vegetable stock)
    • salt and pepper
  • For the burritos:
    • eight 6-inch flour tortillas (I prefer whole wheat tortillas)
    • 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced (original recipe called for the white part only, but we use the whole thing, and maybe more than this)
    • 1 cup shredded sharp cheese (original recipe called for Monterey Jack, but we use a sharp cheddar)
  • Optional toppings/garnishes:
    • shredded romaine, sour cream, sliced avocado or guacamole, and/or chopped pickled jalapeños


  1. Bake the sweet potatoes: I like baking sweet potatoes low and slow. That means roasting them at 300°F (150°C) for about two hours, depending on their size. No need to preheat the oven. Just prick them with a knife in a few places, place them on a baking sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper, and bake until soft and oozing molasses. Alternatively, if you’re in a hurry, you can use a higher temperature, up to 400°F, for about 1 to 1.5 hours. Either way, bake them until very tender. See more explanation here.
  2. Meanwhile, make the refries:  Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute longer. Stir in the cumin and chili powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and the stock or bean broth, cover, and cook until the beans are very soft and the flavors have blended, about 5 minutes. Use a fork or potato masher to coarsely mash the beans. At this point most of the liquid should have evaporated and you should have thick refried beans. If it’s still too wet, keep cooking a bit longer uncovered. Season with salt and pepper. You should have about 1.5 cups.
  3. Prepare the remaining filling ingredients: Remove the potatoes from the oven and cool. Keep the oven at the same temperature. While you’re waiting for the sweet potatoes to cool off, you can grate your cheese and slice the scallions.  When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh. (And make sure to snack on the ooey gooey sweet potato skins. They are delicious!) Place the sweet potato flesh in a small bowl and use a fork to mash coarse. Discard any non-eaten skins. Add as much nutmeg as tastes good to you, and season lightly with salt and pepper. You should have 1.5 to two cups.
  4. Assemble the burritos: Spread the tortillas with roughly equal amounts of the bean mixture. Top with equal amounts of the potato puree. Sprinkle on equal amounts of scallions and cheese. Roll the tortillas into cylinders and arrange, seam side down, on a baking sheet. For a crispier burrito, brush the tops with oil and bake uncovered. For a soft burrito, cover with foil and bake until warm through, about 20 minutes.

My Notes from our first attempt back in 2006

I used extra cumin and chili powder and a fresh jalapeño because it looked bland. Instead of monterey jack I used sharp cheddar from the farmer’s market. We could taste the nutmeg, and it was an unusual but nice addition. The amounts are quite accurate to make 8 small burritos, to serve four.

Derek says these burritos were quite good. He especially liked the sweet potato and cheese combination. He said the filling would be good even without the tortillas, but not without the cheese.

Rating: B+
Derek: A

Update March 2007:

I made this recipe again, except I doubled it. I used 4 smallish sweet potatoes, two cans of black beans. I added 1/2 cup of water to the black beans, and 2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 Tbs. chili powder, and jalepeno powder. I used 1/4 tsp. (not freshly grated) nutmeg, which was plenty. We could definitely taste it but it wasn’t overpowering. I didn’t double the oil–just used the original 2 Tbs., which was plenty to cook the onions and garlic. I did have to add salt to the beans. I used 8 ounces of sharp organic cheddar, which was a good amount, maybe even a tad too much. Next time I think I would just use 6 ounces of cheese for 12 burritos. I used whole foods red chile tortillas, which went with the filling quite well. I made 11 burritos, but I could have made 12 if I hadn’t eaten the last tortilla (whoops!). We served them with a green salsa, and a red salsa, both from Frontera grill. The salsas were essential, as without them the burritos are just a tad dry. These burritos were a bit larger than last time. With a side of greens, one was sufficient for me for dinner. Everyone else at dinner had two, however. I think if I had cut the burritos in half, or made them smaller, people might have been satisfied with just one, or one and a half. Also, our big plates looked quite empty with just the lonely burrito and a small scoop of greens. Maybe I should have served a big salad to cover up the rest of the plate 🙂 And kept the burritos in the kitchen so they weren’t just sitting right in front of us for the whole meal.

With this modified recipe, here is the nutritional info for 1 of 11 burritos (31% fat, 11% saturated fat, 15% protein, 54% carbs):

Calories 400
Total Fat 14.6g
Saturated Fat 5.1g
Cholesterol 22mg
Sodium 709mg
Carbohydrate 56.6g
Dietary Fiber 9.2g
Sugars 7.8g
Protein 16g
Vitamin A 347% Vitamin C 25%
Calcium 22% Iron 15%


  1. oakies said,

    dear rose,

    congratulations on your & derek’s recent marriage! we were thrilled to hear the news from craig and janelle

    just wanted to let you know that i tried this recipe tonight and it was wonderful. i and two of our other roommates really loved it. i followed your directions and put in extra cumin and chili powder, which i think was key.

    thanks for sharing your recipes.



  2. Black bean and yam stew with sofrito « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] decided to try another bean recipe from the same cookbook.  This one looked somewhat similar to my black bean and sweet potato burritos, but much easier to put […]

  3. 2hours20people said,

    This recipe is amazing.

  4. Denise said,

    I’m planning to make this dish tonight, Frank hasn’t stopped talking about it since we had it at your place!

  5. 2hours20people said,

    I love this recipe; I made it all the time at the coop. I make it as enchiladas, with a tomatillo sauce on top. I serve it with guacamole and chopped green onions and tomatoes. We made both vegan (no cheese) and cheesy versions, both are good.

  6. My time-saving kitchen tips | The captious vegetarian said,

    […] dishes I make extra of and freeze: lentil soup, caulitots, banana pancakes, hummus, baked oatmeal, black bean and sweet potato burritos, my Mom’s […]

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