The Chef’s Take: Sweet Potato Tacos at A.W.O.L.

Sweet potatoes aren't just for autumn. Try them in these spicy, summer-perfect tacos from the health-minded Brooklyn restaurant A.W.O.L. Eatery.



Typically, the sight of sweet potatoes on the dinner table leaves us dreaming of lavish Thanksgiving Day feasts. But at A.W.O.L. (that stands for All Walks of Life) Eatery, a funky restaurant celebrating farm-fresh ingredients in New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood, spicy sweet potato tacos — sans the company of cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes — may make an appearance on the daily-changing menu amid even the sultriest of temperatures.

“Sweet potatoes are versatile,” says A.W.O.L. chef John Powali. “You can do everything from grill to boil them. They work well in light dishes because they are so well adapted to citrusy flavors of the summer.”

At the health-minded A.W.O.L, where the kitchen enthusiastically accommodates eaters with even the most-severe dietary restrictions, omnivores, vegans and gluten shunners alike unite over this Middle Eastern-meets-Latin American concoction that melds the vitamin A-laden sweet potatoes with zesty ingredients like cilantro, curry, spinach and coconut.



“The dish starts out very aromatic by lightly sauteing the garlic, ginger, cilantro, parsley and chiles,” says A.W.O.L. chef Daniel Zuanetto. “Couple that with the smoothness of the coconut milk, sweetness of the potato and the hint of tart you get from the lime, and it’s perfection wrapped in a white corn tortilla.”

Spicy Sweet Potato Tacos
1 sweet potato
2 corn tortillas
1/2 cup spinach
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped, plus 2 sprigs
1 tablespoon toasted coconut chips
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo, chopped
Salt, as needed

Peel the sweet potato and cut into ¼-inch cubes. Boil 2 quarts of water. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water and add the potatoes when boiling. Cook for 8 minutes or until fork-tender, then drain. In a pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, ginger, garlic, parsley, cilantro and chipotle. Cook for 1 minute, and just as the garlic starts to brown, add the sweet potatoes, spinach, 1 teaspoon salt, and curry powder. Toss and cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Heat the tortillas in the oven for 30 seconds until warm and malleable. Place sweet potato mixture into each tortilla and secure with a toothpick. In a bowl, add cilantro, lime, coconut chips and remaining salt. Toss to coat, and garnish the tacos.

Serves 2.

Per serving (salt not included): Calories 171; Fat 5 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 117 mg; Carbohydrate 28 g; Fiber 6 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 3 g

Photos by Heidi Kikel

Alia Akkam is a New York-based writer who covers the intersection of food, drink, travel and design. She launched her career by opening boxes of Jamie Oliver books as a Food Network intern.

Next Up

The Chefs' Take: Parsnips

Three chefs share how they use parsnips in their restaurant fare.

The Chef’s Take: Inday

At Inday, New York City's new fast-casual Indian restaurant, vegetables like spinach paired with red quinoa and orange lentils are the main focus.

The Chef’s Take: Chestnuts

This trio of dishes from chefs around the country elevate the savory, rich chestnut.

The Chef's Take: Andrew D'Ambrosi's Kale Panzanella

After being soaked in red wine vinegar for 24 hours, the kale in this Italian panzanella is anything but tough and chewy.

The Chef's Take: Ford Fry's Farro Salad

A salad of farro, crab and roasted beets gets treated to a gorgeous green goddess dressing.

The Chef's Take: George Mendes' Portuguese Chicken Soup

Make this healthy chicken soup with orzo from My Portugal, the new cookbook from Aldea's Chef George Mendes

The Chef's Take: Vegetarian Meatballs from Daniel Holzman

"Vegetarians want the vegetarian option not to be feel like an afterthought," says Danny Holzman. "And so the question was how can we celebrate vegetables and make something really delicious.

The Chef's Take: Winter Greens Salad, Caroline Fidanza

With her out-of-the-box approach to salads and sandwiches, all of which put seasonal vegetables to delicious use, Caroline Fidanza has earned a cult following in New York City.

The Chef's Take: Brad Farmerie's Cauliflower Cous Cous

At Public, chef Brad Farmerie is making cous cous out of cauliflower! Check out his brilliant vegan recipe.

The Chef's Take: Vegetarian Spring Rolls from Charles Phan

Charles Phan's Vegetarian Spring Rolls from The Slanted Door

Related Pages