I just love cooking with my kids! I always try to get them involved in meals, even if it is the simplest task such as adding ingredients, stirring or setting the table. My girls are now 5 and almost 3 and they just love helping in the kitchen, pulling up a stool or chair to reach the mixing bowls!
There are so many benefits of getting kids involved with their food, especially since cooking is such an important life skill. Plus, picky eaters are more likely to try food they actually help make! Cooking with kids can also improve literacy and communication skills (reading recipes and discussing ingredients and techniques), develop math skills (measuring and counting ingredients) and overall advance a child’s fine motor skills (stirring, sifting, cracking an egg, etc.). For more information about the benefits of cooking with kids, check out the Halton Parents blog article.
This recipe was inspired by my recent trip to California where tacos are king! They have fish tacos, meat tacos, veggie tacos, hard tacos, soft tacos, big tacos, small tacos, sushi tacos, etc. It literally goes on and on! A huge fan of Mexican food, I was at a loss for what to cook for dinner one night when I looked in the fridge and saw some loose vegetables and tortillas. And so my Veggie and Bean Tacos were born!
I am always trying to find meat-free alternatives that my kids will love and these vegetarian tacos are super simple and easy to make. I let my kids get creative with their toppings and customize their tacos according to their unique tastes. For their delicate palates, I held off on any chilli powder for the taco seasoning, but feel free to add it for some spice!
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Taco Recipe (makes approximately 4-6 tacos)
Prep and assembly time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: about 45 minutes
- Soft or hard tortillas (we prefer whole wheat)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- Can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- Taco seasoning (see recipe below to make your own or buy a pre-made one)
- Assorted toppings – grated cheese, guacamole, sautéed onions, peppers, chopped spinach, sour cream, etc.
- In a bowl, mix your diced sweet potatoes with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning mix (add more or less as you see fit)
- Toss and coat well
- Spread the sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet and roast at 400F for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes
- While sweet potatoes are roasting, rinse and drain your black beans and add a pinch of salt and/or pepper to taste and mix well
- Prepare your toppings – we like shredded cheese, crumbled feta, chopped spinach, sautéed mushrooms, sour cream, etc.
- Once your sweet potatoes are done, assemble tacos as desired. We layered the sweet potatoes with beans and loads of other fun toppings! Roll into a burrito or fold into a taco and enjoy! These ingredients make great quesadillas too J
Taco Seasoning Recipe:
Please note – you can add as little or as much taco seasoning to the sweet potatoes as you want. I made a big batch of seasoning and used it all month! The more vegetables you use, the more seasoning required. I always go easy on the seasoning for my kids!
- 1/4 cup Chili Powder (optional)
- 1/4 cup Cumin Powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Oregano leaf (or oregano leaf powder)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well
- Sprinkle desired amount of seasoning over your meat or vegetables and cook, adding more as you see fit
- Store remaining seasoning in an air-tight container
Getting kids into the kitchen early introduces them to the wonders of cooking, working together and encourages a healthy relationship with both food and family. Check out the EatRight Ontario site for some great ways kids can be involved with food at every age and stage. Bon appétit!
Author: Jill Campbell
A mother and lover of all things practical, Jill is a 30-something, former educator, world traveler and self-proclaimed pragmatist trying to navigate this journey called life. She currently works as a freelance writer, part-time teacher/tutor and full-time mom to two fabulous daughters. Her blog www.pragmamamma.net features simple and family-friendly recipes, original photography and hot parenting topics. Jill loves getting creative in the kitchen, reading, spending time with her family and snapping photos around her neighbourhood in Burlington, Ontario.