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Sweet Potato Tacos with Leeks and Almond Salsa

  • Author: Wes Avila


  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 ounce cascabel chiles, stems removed but left whole
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, split lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 pound small tomatillos, rinsed and peeled
  • 2 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt
  • 2 to tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Sweet potato tacos
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, preferably Japanese
  • Olive oil
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle white wine (optional)/Water or Broth
  • 56 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 56 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 large leek
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • Butter
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • 3/4 pound Queso Fresco
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions, green parts only


  1. Salsa
  2. STEP 1
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the bell pepper, chiles de árbol and habanero and toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes; toward the end of toasting, add the almonds and toast until fragrant.
  4. STEP 2
  5. Add the tomatillos, tomatoes, water and three-fourths teaspoon salt, and cook over high heat until the tomatillos are tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. STEP 3
  7. Purée in a blender until smooth, add the red wine vinegar and adjust seasoning. The salsa should be thick enough to generously coat the back of a spoon. This makes about 1 quart of salsa, more than enough for the recipe. The remainder will keep, covered tightly, in the refrigerator for a week.
  8. Sweet Potato Taco Filling
  9. STEP 1
  10. Wrap the sweet potatoes tightly in microwave-proof plastic wrap and microwave on high until tender, 13 to 14 minutes. (Or steam them if you prefer).
  11. STEP 2
  12. Bring the white wine, thyme and parsley to a boil in a large saucepan and cook until it loses the raw alcohol smell, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer.
  13. STEP 3
  14. Trim and discard the tough green parts from the leeks, then cut them in ½-inch lengthwise strips. Swirl in water to remove any sand. Pat dry and salt lightly. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the leeks. Cook until well-browned, 5 minutes, then turn, add 1 tablespoon butter, and sear on the other side, another 3 to 4 minutes. Add to the white wine in the saucepan.
  15. STEP 4
  16. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the same skillet and when it is foaming add the carrots and cook until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn the carrots over, add the whole unpeeled garlic cloves and cook until the carrots are browned on the second side, about 4 more minutes. Add the carrots to the wine and leeks. Cook gently until the leeks and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. The veggies can stay in the liquid off heat for several hours. Reheat the vegetables in the liquid when you’re ready to serve.
  17. STEP 5
  18. Slice the unpeeled roasted sweet potatoes a little more than ½ inch thick. If the flesh has shrunk from the peel, remove it. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the sweet potatoes on both sides, about 5 minutes total, turning them carefully.
  19. Assembly
  20. STEP 1
  21. For each taco, heat 2 tortillas on a griddle or in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a little butter. You can do this with as many tortillas as will fit on the griddle. Remove the tortillas to a plate.
  22. STEP 2
  23. Add 2 to 3 strips of leek and some sweet potato. Spoon over some Queso Fresco 1½ to 2 teaspoons salsa and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons grated Monterey Jack, some toasted almond slivers and 1 teaspoon minced green onions and serve immediately. Repeat using the remaining ingredients.


  • Not Included in large Kitchen Boxes: Oil, Salt, Red Wine Vinegar, White Wine/Broth, Butter (included in 3-5 boxes)