Finn Ní Fhaoláin recipe: Mexican-ish sweet potato pie

Serves 5-8

Mexican-ish sweet potato pie. Photograph: Leo Byrne

Mexican-ish sweet potato pie. Photograph: Leo Byrne

Sat, Apr 22, 2017, 12:00

  • Serves: 8
  • Cooking Time: 55 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serves 5-8
  • 5 skinny sweet potatoes or 2 massive ones
  • 400g tinned mixed beans
  • 400g tinned kidney beans
  • 200g bag frozen veg (for example carrot, broccoli and pea mix)
  • 1 red onion
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 pack Mexican spice mix or your own mix of 1tbs sweet paprika (or pimento if you have it), 1tsp cayenne pepper, 1tsp coriander seeds (crushed), ½tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper (careful with the quantities)
  • Cheese of your choice to grate over the top. I like mature cheddar, or a low-fat mozzarella


This was my go-to dish during my master’s year. It made such a massive tray that I could eat it five days in a row and feed friends if we were just back from a surf trip – or in the unlikely event that we were up late studying. It’s cheap, tasty and feeds the masses.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Put the sweet potatoes on a roasting tray and bung it in the oven. That’s right, skin and all – don’t do anything to the potatoes. Let them bake until they’re soft – that is, when you smack them with the back of a spoon and they are soft and squishy, after about 30-40 minutes. I used to boil them, but they have a much lovelier flavour when baked.

Drain your tins of beans and rinse them in cold water. Set aside.

If you’re super-organised, defrost your frozen veg the night before. If you’re not, sacrilege here, blast them in the microwave until they defrost.

Finely chop the onion. Heat a frying pan on a medium-high heat. When it’s hot, lash in a bit of olive oil. Test it with a little piece of onion. When it sizzles, lash in the rest of the onion. Cook the onion until soft.

Chuck in the spices with the onion and sauté for a few minutes. In go the defrosted veggies and stir-fry for five or so minutes. Pop in the beans and cook for a few more minutes. Set to one side while you wait for your sweet potatoes.

When the sweet potatoes are soft, take them out of the oven – but keep the oven on. When they are cool enough to handle, or if you have asbestos hands like me, shake them out of their skins into a big bowl. Mash using a potato masher with a little butter, or olive oil if you’re dairy-free. Season to taste.

In a baking dish, spread out your veggie and bean mix. Then spoon the mashed sweet potato on top and smooth it over. Top with whatever obscene amount of cheese you like, or leave it out for a dairy-free option. Pop back in the oven till the cheese is melted and bubbly, 10-15 minutes.

To serve: since this is protein, carbs and fat in one place, the only addition I usually go for is a little sweet chilli sauce on the side. For a vegan option, leave out the cheese and top with a “vegan Parmesan” of 1 cup (150g) salted cashews, blitzed with a teaspoon of garlic powder.