Gluten Free Vegan Tacos with Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Tofu Cream Sauce

I live in San Francisco, so someone is always going on a cleanse. I hear of people drinking nothing but lemonade for ten to 40 days. Juice cleanses are super popular and admittedly delicious. I even watched a video of a woman who did three back to back 40-day water fasts. Well, she called it a cleanse, I call it starvation. Poor thing looked like she was about to die at the end.

Everyone has their own reasons for doing a cleanse. Some people site health, fitness goals, or the hope of relieving a particular ailment.  My story is a little different. A couple of months ago, I was browsing through some photos on my computer, and a picture came up from when I was on tour with my band. I noticed that my skin looked fabulous. Now, mind you, I’d been in an RV with four boys and two pit bulls for a number of days. I’d been staying up late and doing my share of drinking. The only difference was that I’d been eating incredibly healthy foods and had cut out meat entirely. I thought to myself, “It’s time for another little bout of veggie time.” The very next day, Groupon had a great deal on a vegan cleanse with a nutritionist at the helm, and I bit.

Now, some people may be content to eat plain lentils and quinoa with steamed kale, but not this tart. I can cleanse and still enjoy it. If I’m cutting out meat, eggs, dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar (uh, yes lard and butter and anything from Marin Sun Farms are included in that group) my food is going to be amazing. So far, even my red-blooded husband has been truly satisfied. (Well, we won’t talk about the gluten-free vegan mac-n-cheese I tried to concoct when he was craving comfort food)

This is one of the first meals I made when I started the cleanse. These tacos are hearty- even a meat lover won’t leave the table feeling hungry or wanting.   The recipe is easily doubled for a crowd, and it’s just plain easy to make. The real key to success is patience while you’re cooking the sweet potatoes and carrots- this is how you’ll get that sweet caramelized flavor and satisfying crispy exterior. Be patient, and you’re golden. Literally!

Just as a note: I recommend always using organic non GMO (genetically modified organisms) soy products and corn. Organic veggies are a plus too.

Gluten Free Vegan Tacos with Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Tofu Cream Sauce

  • 4 Corn Tortillas
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped very finely
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil + small amount for coating tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • small bowl filled with water


  • 1 serrano Chile
  • 1 cup silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened rice milk (soy will work here too)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • small amount of oil to coat Serrano chile


  • Before chopping your veggies, rub serrano chile with grapeseed oil and place on a piece of tinfoil under the broiler. When the skin bubbles and gets black, turn the chile one quarter turn, until all sides are roasted.
  • Remove from the oven, place in a paper lunch bag and allow to steam for about 10 minutes so it will be easier to peel.
  • In the mean time, heat a large skillet on medium high flame. You’ll know the pan is hot enough when you can drop a droplet of water into the pan and it skitters like a little ball moving across the pan before evaporating. If the droplet pools before evaporating, the pan is not hot enough.
  • Once your pan is hot, add the two tablespoons of grapeseed oil and tilt your pan from side to make sure the oil is evenly covering the whole pan.
  • Add the carrots, sweet potato, onions, and garlic to the hot skillet- do not disturb for about 3-5 minutes. Now, gently, lift a couple of pieces of the veggies to see if they come up easily and have a nice golden brown color. If so, they are ready to turn. If not, let them cook on that side a minute longer before checking again- this time in a couple of different spots in the pan.
  • Once golden, turn all of the veggies over gently, and repeat the process until cooked through- resisting the urge to turn them too often BUT… keeping a watchful eye so they don’t burn. You’ll do this on all sides (process takes about 15-20 minutes)
  • Preheat oven to 350º
  • In another small pot set to medium flame, melt vegan butter. Once melted, add black beans and smoked paprika and ground cumin. Mash about 2/3 of the beans with a potato masher, a fork, or a wooden spoon. Give them a try then add salt and pepper to taste. Once beans are heated through, turn the flame to very low and cover.
  • Quickly dunk corn tortillas in the bowl of water then rub with a little grapeseed oil. Put each one directly onto the oven rack and cook for 30 seconds to one minute or until tortilla is soft and heated through. The timing will depend on the thickness of your tortilla.
  • Build tacos with tortillas on bottom, top with some beans, then some veggies, then some tofu cream sauce, and sprinkle with cilantro


  • Peel and seed the roasted serrano chile (if you like a lot of heat, you can leave some of the seeds in, if you like less heat, add only a little of the chile, You can always add more if you like.)
  • Add silken tofu, serrano chile, smoked paprika, cumin seed, and unsweetened rice milk to the bowl of a food processor or to a blender and process until smooth and delightfully creamy.
  • Season to your taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 tacos

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ericka February 26, 2011 at 3:15 PM

These look delicious! I did a vegan cleanse too but cheated once. I can't live without eggs, it makes me cranky. I'm definitely making these next weekend. Thanks for the recipe.


@UnrivaledKitch February 26, 2011 at 3:29 PM

yum these look fantastic! i love vegan tacos these have such a special feel to them. thanks for sharing :)


Rosemarried February 26, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Looooooove this recipe. My husband is Greek Orthodox and we go vegan for Lent every year (its an old orthodox tradition, funny enough) — which starts next week. This recipe comes right in time. As always, love your posts.


sabrinamodel February 26, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Thanks Lindsay,
Who know vegan was so oldschool! I have more vegan recipes coming up soon. Can’t wait to see your recipe for the swap too. Still kind of mulling over what I’m going to do.


Stevie March 3, 2011 at 11:50 AM

The spicy tofu cream sauce looks particularly delightful and very versatile. The tacos are exciting, too. I don't make things with sweet potato that often, so I'm curious. About cleanses, I've never done that and worry that I'd get grouchier than normal should I try. The juice diet for three to four months sounds like a psychotic reaction to me. I hope that her friends and loved ones recommended psychotherapy.


Beans, Figs and Katz February 27, 2012 at 9:10 AM

this looks amazing, i think more tacos need fancy sauces! i shared this on:

ps, if you have more vegan tacos, enter the contest before march 4. you could win a cool prize :)

contest details:


The Tomato Tart February 27, 2012 at 2:32 PM

OMG, I love this contest. Thanks for entering my taco (tee hee that sounds dirty)


Jennifer March 6, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Made this for dinner tonight. Fantastic! I left out the pepper and it was still delicious. It did take a lot longer to cook the vegetables than I expected (probably 20+ minutes) and I had to add water/cover the pan to get the sweet potato to soften. Still turned out great though!


The Tomato Tart March 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Hey Jennifer,
Thank you so much for the feedback and I\’m really glad you enjoyed the tacos even though the cooking time was more than you expected.
I added a little further instruction to clarify. Again, thanks so much.


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