The.Boy. and I have become “that” couple.

You know…the kind where the boy is so totally jaded about the fact that his girlfriend has an extreme, bordering-on-inappropriate passion for leafy greens…and the girl stops shaving her legs on a regular basis (hey now, it’s winter).

Yeah he kinda got the short end of the stick on that one.


All things considered, he’s really taking it in stride.

Not only does he claim that he knew what swiss chard was before he met me (that’s cute, isn’t it?)  but (and he’ll never admit it) I think he’s also starting to genuinely like it.

Being the totally scientifically minded person that I am, and putting all of my PhD training to good use (though I”m not sure this is quite what my boss meant when he said I should be thinking about science even when I’m not at lab), I decided to test this hypothesis.

Instead of sort-of “hiding” the greens among foods I already know he likes (i.e. pasta), I went all out with them and turned them into pesto.

(Really. It happened.)

And the thing about pesto is that, since it’s not cooked, whatever you put in it is just so…THERE and IN.YOUR.FACE, so theoretically if you like something in pesto form, it can pretty much be assumed that you just flat-out like it.


Granted, this swiss chard pesto had a vaguely unfair advantage by being paired with chipotle chili-coated roasted sweet potatoes and black beans (swoon), but suffice it to say that it was love at first taco.

For both myself and The.Boy.

I’d pretty much call that a win.


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Swiss Chard Pesto
Serves 4, adapted from Closet Cooking

For the pesto:

  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste

For the tacos:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used white sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp chipotle chili powder, divided
  • 2 tsp cumin, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight and boiled until tender
  • 1 batch swiss chard pesto
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled

For the pesto:

  1. Puree the swiss chard, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, pecans olive oil, and lime juice in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the tacos: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, and salt.  Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until tender, 30-40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tbsp of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, 1 tsp chili powder, and 1 tsp cumin and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the beans and cook until warmed through, a few minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve corn tortillas topped with black bean mixture, sweet potatoes, swiss chard pesto, and queso fresco.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
Share →

78 Responses to Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Swiss Chard Pesto

  1. This definitely looks like a winning recipe to me! Glad the boy enjoyed it too! 🙂

  2. Wow, Joanne, your tacos look great! I made this recipe once before but didn’t really like the pesto… I may have Janet-fied it in the wrong direction. I think I still have some in my freezer, thinking that delicious ingredients may salvage it… I’ll have to test it out again, that’s for sure! 🙂

  3. I started making sweet potato and black bean tacos earlier this year and just love them! Haven’t tried them with pesto, but have been pairing them with kimchi. Seeing that I love pesto, I’ll definitely have to give it a shot.

  4. Danielle says:

    The Husband (?!?! yep!) cannot be trusted with a grocery list asking for green vegetables. He will often bring home an entirely different produce item, particularly if it is green. And he is convinced cilantro should be purchased in the spice section. THAT almost caused a meltdown once… until I remembered to breathe.

  5. Amy says:

    I make a “pea pesto” that is to die. Unless, you’re Paul. And then it’s just a harsh reality of peas pureed on your food. So I would say this was indeed a very big win for you! And the tacos? Yum!

  6. Awesome. I was going to mention how I love eating sweet potatoes and black beans together, but usually use some sort of chipotle sauce as oppposed to pesto…until I saw that you used chipotle AND pesto. You win. This rocks.

  7. Just wait…in time he’ll be eating vegetables like a mad person! Paul was a complete carnivore when we started dating and claimed to HATE kale, squash and eggplant. Now he’s a vegetarian and can’t get enough of veggie varieties! It’s so weird.

  8. marie says:

    Oh I can so relate to this. My husband and I have been together for 17 years so he’s been slowly brainwahsed when it comes to weird food. And as far as shaving your legs, does anyone shave their legs in winter? Not normal.

  9. Danielle says:

    I wonder if this would work on my boy – the little one.

  10. love at first taco?? mmm, that’s the best sort of love 🙂

  11. Erica Berman says:

    Mmm, I definitely want to try this!

  12. london bakes says:

    You and the boy are too funny (and yes, we are so ‘that’ couple too). Love love love these tacos!

  13. Not a combo I’d think of myself, but these look good!

  14. Ha, love it! You are slowly but surely turning him into a green-loving, vegetarian-meal embracing kind of man.

  15. Pam says:

    I eat a lot of kale but haven’t tried Swiss chard. I need to change that! These tacos look fantastic.

  16. Dining Alone says:

    Your powers of persuasion are far better than mine, my husband would not touch this with a ten foot pole. I think it looks delicious!

  17. Your white sweet potatoes look heavenly! I prefer them to the orange-fleshed ones and sometimes I never know what I’m getting (they get tossed into the wrong bins at the groc store apparently) and the white ones are such a nice surprise!

  18. Pam says:

    I love all kinds of pesto and this one is going on my list!

  19. Hotly Spiced says:

    What lovely looking tacos. I’ve never added jalapenos to pesto before. I’ll have to give that a try. And yes, the ship did have a smell – a bit like when you walk into a club. But it wasn’t in all areas xx

  20. Making pesto with greens is such a great way to use them! The fillings sound fantastic, and I’m feeling pretty proud to have some cooked black beans in the freezer. Can’t wait to use them for this!

  21. Eileen says:

    Pesto in tacos sounds like a great, super-green idea! Especially with the always-classic sweet potato and black bean combination. I’ve done kale pesto, but not chard–clearly I am missing out.

  22. That Girl says:

    I am so happy you met The.Boy. he’s such a keeper.

  23. As always this recipe looks fantastic! I love pesto and love to add new greens to it. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Chris says:

    Normally with sweet potato and black beans, I would immediately assume island style cooking but you turned it around in a completely different direction. I like surprises!

  25. grace says:

    neat pesto, joanne! i can appreciate your stealthy tricks. 🙂

  26. IF ONLY I had this swiss chard pesto recipe when I had my CSA box this summer/fall…it would’ve made things a heck of a lot tastier in my house! Wonderful, wonderful recipe — and gorgeous pics as usual!

    p.s. your stories about your boy are so very adorable 🙂

  27. Laura says:

    Delicious! I won’t lie, it’s the sweet potatoes and the black beans that would get me more than the greens. 😉

  28. This looks delicious! I’ve been experimenting with more exotic pestos lately, but swiss chard is a first!

  29. Debbie says:

    Oh that is some dinner….this is a great idea from the usual tacos. Never made them with anything other than chicken or beef. Love this!

  30. OohLookBel says:

    Mmm, I like the crusty bits on the potoato.

  31. Ooh pecans in your pesto 🙂 YUM!!! p.s. Im so comfortable in mine and Studs relationship that I forget to shave in SUMMER lol

  32. Karis says:

    I love everything about this recipe and can’t wait to try it!

  33. I LOVE sweet potato! What a great use of it.

    I’m starting a new party at my blog called Pantry Party. Hopefully you’ll join us and share some of these types of recipes!

  34. Natalie says:

    I’ve totally turned Ryan into a greens-loving monster and most of the time I love it (except when we’re fighting over the kale chips). This pesto sounds fantastic and I am all about tacos lately!

  35. Haha, it’s funny, I would have thought of pesto as a sneaky way of hiding greens, because everyone loves pesto! Either way, this looks delicious!

  36. Reeni Pisano says:

    I’m in love too! As if the sweet potatoes and black beans weren’t enough you went and smothered them in that gorgeous spicy sauce! Pesto rules. This hurts – I haven’t had a taco in ages.

  37. That looks amazing Joanne!

    And I agree about the shaving thing… it IS winter – it’s not like we’re going to the beach tomorrow 🙂

    It’s good your boyfriend gets that 🙂

  38. Oh my goodness what a joy it is to come to your blog! Always such awesome recipes!!

  39. tigerfish says:

    I thought I could stop buying Swiss chard when I started to grow some at home but my poor chard were eaten up by birds recently – so now, I better replenish some chard from the grocery stores soon! Who could resist such a lovely vivid green pesto? 😀

  40. Kari says:

    A win for sure – and a great experimental outcome 😉

  41. Good job Joanne! Are you like me and wait until after he compliments the dinner to tell him what was in it so you can gloat? lol. This sounds so mega delish, I have to try it. I made black bean butternut squash burritos that are to date my fave burritos ever so I bet these will be my face tacos.

  42. Katerina says:

    These tacos look so good! No wonder why the experiment was a success. I would love to have them as my meal even though I am not a vegetarian! Excellent job!

  43. The recipe seems great and it looks so yummy and colorful… I would try this weekend and I really love to prepare new recipes all the time.

  44. Lynn says:

    Yum. I think you are just a cooking machine.

  45. Um, I’m not even sure when I last shaved my legs… though to my credit I always remember that I need to AFTER I shower…. I wish I had time to cook this, looks delicious!

  46. Tandy says:

    Sounds like a winner to me! And winter shaving is not high on my list either Joanne 🙂

  47. Kathy says:

    Yum, so healthy and delicious looking! Would love to be eating this!

  48. Barbara says:

    Wonderful, Joanne. I love the idea of the chard pesto!

  49. Looks delicious! And anyone who says they shave in the winter on a regular basis is lying 😉

  50. I’m definitely not judging you about the shaved legs because I totally stopped too! So glad Jason hasn’t run away from me yet. And I can’t believe the boy is starting to like swiss chard! I don’t know if Jason is ever going to like that stuff – he’s very particular about his bacon-potato-steak-fries combo. Although I’d devour these tacos in a heartbeat!

  51. Gloria says:

    love this and sweet potatos look awesome, not always I find here!!
    look delicious

  52. Jenn Kendall says:

    these are some creative tacos! i love the swiss chard pesto!

  53. Neel says:

    Wow, it has been ages since I enjoyed a salad like this! Approximately a decade back , at my aunt’s place in Fremont, California, to be precise. Thanks for the blast from the past :-).And i also learnt that you are a Phd…sure you make a pretty and learned cook!:)

  54. Hannah says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: That boy is a definite keeper.

    Chard is one of those things that I know I like, but never cook. Not once. It always ends up getting replaced by kale or collards, just because I have more experience with them and it’s “easier” to wrap my mind around. It really deserves some love, just like this recipe would give!

  55. I will confess to being like the boy in the greens department (at least he knew what chard was). But this pesto looks fantastic and is on tacos of all things so definitely something I can get behind!

  56. Saguna says:

    This definitely sounds like a win. Pecans in pesto with swiss chard and sweet potato- how could it not? Amazing!

  57. daphne says:

    aww.. sweet! Well, you are introducing great nutritious meal to him after all! And are u kidding. Pesto in any form goes well with anything!

  58. Pesto recipe looks nice and easy. I have never attempted this, not yet!
    Wouldn’t it be funny if for Xmas or NY you received a shaver as a present:) Subtlety has its charm:)

  59. Kalyn Denny says:

    Oh my, you have outdone yourself on this one. I love everything about the recipe.

  60. I will definitely be trying this swiss chard pesto–makes so much sense, but never occurred to me and I for one, need more swiss chard in my diet!

  61. Are you sitting?
    I made butternut squash and black bean tostada’s
    with fresh guac crema.
    And I though (after it was all eaten), I bet Joanne would love this.

  62. Blond Duck says:

    I’m obsessed with sweet potatoes, and after reading vanilla sugar blog’s butternut squash and black bean tacos…I am so on it.

  63. I say, make pesto out of ANYTHING green. And boys will like it.

  64. Thank you for this information.It is really informative and helpful for the people.
    Regards:Best Hospital India

  65. Beth says:

    Whenever I’m looking for a divine new recipe with sweet potatoes, I know where to find one. And you never disappoint. This looks awesome! Who knows, maybe my youngest daughter will someday say the same as The Boy. (I am not holding my breath.)

  66. Kevin says:

    I thought those looked familiar! I am glad that you enjoyed them! I am so into the flavour combinations in these tacos!

  67. Shannon says:

    guess who’s got a head of swiss chard in her fridge 🙂 and sweet potatoes on the counter!

  68. Lora says:

    Swiss Chard Pesto is so inventive! What a delicious flavor combo. Love.

  69. Johanna GGG says:

    this is my sort of recipe – I have to admit that E still baulks at leafy greens occasionally (and I find half his meal left on the plate because half the meal is leafy greens) but he does a pretty good attempt most of the time – glad the.boy is appreciating your yummy food

  70. Candace says:

    You have just confirmed what I’ve been saying over and over again lately. It IS all about the taco. You blow me away, Joanne. Love these.

  71. Tessa says:

    I can see how it these tacos were loved! Cute story about your boy too 🙂

    I have some chard growing into it’s own in the garden, so I’ll have to keep these tacos in mind!

  72. Emily says:

    Oh yum! What an interesting take on a classic recipe. Definitely one to try 🙂

  73. Abby says:

    This is crazy good. How did I miss this in my inbox?? Blaming the tryptophan stupor. 🙂

  74. Excellent!! I have been totally averse to meat recently – this recipe is PERFECT!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *