It’s taco time! Ethiopian-inspired.
These tacos are loaded with fonio, roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and drizzled with a fresh mint yogurt sauce.
Have you ever tried fonio? Well, if you haven’t, this recipe is the perfect introduction. Fonio is a grain cultivated in Africa, it’s smaller in size than quinoa and has a nutty and earthy flavor. Texture wise, I guess you could compare it to couscous. Before going further, here’s a little disclaimer: this recipe is not a traditional Ethiopian recipe by any means, but it is spiced with an Ethiopian Berbere spice mix. Actually, it doesn’t really matter if it’s traditional or not because it’s delicious.
It starts with the sweet potato and chickpeas. Toss them with some oil, maple syrup for a hint of sweetness, and berbere spice. Then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until perfectly roasted. The sweet potatoes should be soft and the chickpeas slightly crunchy.
Berbere is a mix of several spices that usually include: paprika, chili peppers, ginger, garlic, fenugreek, and coriander. It’s very flavorful and quite spicy. You can use store-bought, or make your own. I couldn’t find it so I made my own, you can find the ratio of spices at the end of the recipe, in the notes. Be aware that each berbere spice mix is different and the spiciness may vary depending on the brand you use.
While the sweet potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, you prepare the fonio. Sauté minced leeks until they start to soften, then add the fonio, tomato paste, berbere spice, and water. Since fonio is a very small grain it cooks very quickly, roughly 8 minutes. I know fonio is not available everywhere and can be hard to find, so if you can’t find it just use quinoa and increase the cooking time to 15 minutes.
And that’s about it. Warm small tortillas or taco shells, and fill them generously with spicy fonio, roasted sweet potato and chickpeas, and drizzle with the yogurt sauce! The sauce adds a touch of freshness thanks to the tanginess of the yogurt, lemon juice, and the chopped fresh mint. I even found it to bring some kind of cheesiness, but maybe that’s just me.
I hope you will love these Berbere spiced fonio tacos! They are filling, spicy, a little bit sweet, and fresh thanks to the mint sauce. Plus they require less than 45 minutes to prepare! And if you are looking for more ways to use fonio, check out these delicious fonio balls served in an African peanut sauce.
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
- 1 small sweet potato (about 2 cups diced)
- 1 15-ounce (425g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp (15ml) maple syrup
- 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
- 1 tsp berbere spice blend (see notes)
- 1 tbsp (15ml) oil
- 1 leek, minced
- 1/2 cup fonio (or use quinoa)
- 2 cups (470ml) water
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 and 1/2 tsp berbere spice
- 6 taco shells (or small tortillas)
Mint Yogurt Sauce
- 1/3 cup (100g) non-dairy unsweetened yogurt
- 1 tbsp (15ml) lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3-4 fresh mint leaves, finely minced
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the chopped sweet potato and chickpeas with the maple syrup, olive oil, and berbere spice. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
- Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the minced leek and sautée for 3-5 minutes, or until softer.
- Add the fonio, water, tomato paste, and berbere spice. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low-medium and cook for 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit 3-5 minutes, the fonio will absorb the remaining water.
- Warm the taco tortillas in a skillet. Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of fonio and top with the sweet potato and chickpeas. Top with chopped red onions, a sprinkle of berbere spice, and drizzle with the mint yogurt sauce. Serve immediately, or place the tacos in a large baking dish and bake for 15 minutes in a 350°F preheated oven. If you bake the tacos, drizzle with the mint yogurt sauce just before serving.
Mint Yogurt Sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
To make your own berbere spice blend, mix together:
– 3 tbsp ground chili
– 3 tbsp smoked paprika
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp ground ginger
– 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
– 1/2 tsp ground coriander
– 1/2 tsp turmeric
– 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
– 1/2 tsp dried basil
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- Serving Size: 1 taco
- Calories: 309
- Sugar: 8.4g
- Fat: 11.8g
- Carbohydrates: 45.3g
- Fiber: 4.9g
- Protein: 6.7g