Health & Wellness Recipe: Vegetarian Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes (may substitute white baking potatoes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed)
1 tablespoon no-salt-added tomato paste (freeze leftover)*
½ teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne, optional
½ lime, zest and juice
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Topping Options
¼ cup chopped cilantro
salsa and low-fat sour cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash, dry and prick potatoes a few times with a fork, bake until tender, about 45-70 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Check after 45 minutes. Alternately, you can cook them in the microwave; 7 minutes on high, turn potatoes after 3 minutes. Wrap in aluminum foil and cool for 10 minutes or longer.

Meanwhile, make the beans. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add chili powder, cumin and beans. Cook until beans are warmed through. Stir in lime-juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.

Remove potatoes from oven and cool. Slice down the middle and mash a few times with fork. Top with bean mixture, cheese, avocado, cilantro and salsa/sour cream, if using. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings

*To freeze leftover tomato paste: Measure 1-tablespoon portions, place on a plate, freeze for 1 hour or longer. Pry from plate with a fork and place in zip-closure freezer bag. Label, date, freeze up to 3 months.

Nutrient Information per stuffed potato: (serves 4): 480 calories, 16g total fat (9g saturated fat), 37mg cholesterol, 1403mg potassium, 472mg sodium, 67g carbohydrates, 17g fiber, 11g sugar, 0g added sugar, 21g protein

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