Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Sweet Potato Street Tacos



Choose chicken over red meat, and add more veggies , for a savory (and more sustainable) supper.

Serves 4

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

The sweet and savory tacos in this recipe are filled with smoky slices of dry-rubbed, dark meat chicken, thinly sliced sweet potatoes, cold and creamy black beans, fresh herbs, garlicky pickled red cabbage, crunchy sliced radishes and salty, crumbly cotija cheese. Add a squeeze of lime and let the celebration begin. This recipe comes from Vanessa Seder of Portland, Maine, the author of Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot Days and Secret Sauces. See her other recipes on Instagram at @vseder.


4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 to 1 1/4 pound total)

1 medium-sized sweet potato (about 10 ounces total), peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced into ¼-inch thick slices

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, divided

1 teaspoon ground coriander, divided

Sea salt 

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for the grill

1 15.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus fresh cilantro sprigs, for serving

2 teaspoons fresh lime zest

8 to 16 small corn tortillas 

1 cup Garlicky Pickled Red Cabbage* or sliced red cabbage

8 thinly sliced radishes

1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese or feta, for serving

Lime wedges, for serving


Place the chicken thighs in one large baking dish and the sweet potatoes in another. Set aside. 

In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, ½ tsp. coriander, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. 

Sprinkle half of the spice mixture on the chicken and the other half onto the sweet potatoes. Drizzle each with 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss each to coat in the spice mix. Let sit 15 minutes at room temperature. 

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine the black beans with ½ cup cilantro, lime zest, ½ teaspoon cumin and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. 

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high and oil the grates of the grill. Place the potatoes on the grill in batches, if necessary, and cook, flipping once halfway through until tender and grill marks have formed on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.

Place the chicken on the grill and cook, flipping once halfway through, until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and grill marks have formed, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest, about 5 to 10 minutes. Then slice across the grain into strips. 

Warm up the tortillas by putting them directly on the gas burner of a stove or on the grill pan with heat on medium. Use tongs to turn and flip them until soft and pliable and slightly charred in parts, about 1 minute per tortilla. 

Divide the tortillas between 4 plates. Top each with chicken, sweet potatoes, beans, cabbage pickle, radishes, and cotija cheese. Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and a squeeze of lime, if desired.

* Pickled Red Cabbage: Place 2 cups shredded red cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 ½ teaspoons of salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, stir together ¾ cup rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 3 thinly sliced cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bring to boil over high heat, about 3 minutes. Pour vinegar mix over cabbage, stir, and let sit until room temperature. Store in a container in the fridge for up to one month.

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Vanessa Seder
Vanessa Seder
Vanessa Seder has worked in the food industry for close to 20 years as a recipe developer, food stylist, chef instructor, and author. Her cookbooks include: Eat Cool, (which received positive reviews from the New York Times and elsewhere) and the award-winning Secret Sauces. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, Vanessa has developed recipes for Real Simple, All You, Health, Cooking Light, Hannaford’s Fresh, Ladies Home Journal—where she previously served as an associate food editor, and Maine The Way, among others. She lives with her family in Portland, Maine. She can be found online at and Instagram @vseder.

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