This smoky vegan salsa features seasoned roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, grilled corn, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro! It’s extremely easy to make, protein-packed, and it’s ready in 30 minutes! Enjoy it with chips, or you can add it to salad, tacos, or burritos!
My husband is a salsa fanatic, so it feels like I’m constantly (more like weekly) making a batch of cilantro lime salsa, rainbow salsa, or watermelon mango salsa to keep in the refrigerator so he can put it on allll the things! He’s not really a fan of sweet potatoes, but we had an extra one that needed to be used up so I used it to make this chunky vegan salsa and he loved it!
Who would have guessed that roasted sweet potatoes are delicious in salsa!? Combined with black beans, grilled corn, juicy tomatoes, fresh cilantro, and smoky seasonings, this salsa in an incredibly tasty snack or flavorful topping for tacos, wraps, or burritos! Bonus, it’s easy to make and ready in 30 minutes.
The ingredients needed to make this vegan salsa are fairly simple, nothing fancy here! The most exciting ingredient used is grilled corn, but everything comes together to create a truly flavorful dish.
- Fresh Cilantro: Fresh herbs add a lot of flavor and brightness to the salsa. This is one aspect where dried herbs shouldn’t be substituted.
- Beans: To add plant-based protein, beans are important for this recipe. However, black beans aren’t necessary. Whatever beans are you like or have on hand will work just fine.
- Red Onion: I find that red onion has the most mellow flavor and vibrant color, which makes it perfect for recipes where you need a raw onion.
- Grilled Corn: Sweet corn can be substituted, but if you want to give the salsa that extra layer of flavor, then grilled corn is where it’s at. The smoky flavor isn’t overpowering but you can definitely taste it and it’s delicious! You don’t need to fire up the grill either, did you know you can buy frozen grilled corn from the grocery store?
How to Make it – Step by Step Instructions
First, chop the sweet potatoes into small, bite-sized chunks, add seasonings, and then bake until soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Add the roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, grilled corn, tomatoes, red onion, and fresh cilantro to a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, maple syrup, and the dried seasonings.
Pour the dressing over the salsa and stir to combine. You can eat it immediately or put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
You can enjoy this roasted sweet potato salsa with tortilla chips or crispy crackers (I love Mary’s everything crackers) for a snack or appetizer. It’s also a delicious topping on walnut meat tacos or in a vegan crunchwrap supreme.
This vegan salsa is delicious eaten as an appetizer or snack, but there are so many other ways to incorporate it into your meals!
- Make Sweet Potato Salad: Mix the salsa with a big bowl of mixed greens and drizzle vegan ranch dressing over the top for a hearty salad.
- Make it a Bowl: Skip the cherry tomatoes in this burrito bowl recipe and sub this sweet potato salsa instead for a filling breakfast.
- Make Sweet Potato Tacos: To make this a taco filling, you could mix the salsa with brown rice or quinoa to make it more substantial and add a dollop of vegan chipotle mayo for a spicy kick.
Can I Make it the Day Before?
You can make the salsa one day in advance, but wait to chop the cilantro and mix it in until right before you serve it so the cilantro stays fresh and bright green.
How to Store it
Store the leftover salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. After that, the salsa may get a little wet as the tomatoes release their juice. Don’t freeze it, the fresh ingredients won’t defrost well. This dish is best enjoyed fresh.
Substitutions & FAQ
- Sweet Potato Substitutions: You can use russet potatoes or butternut squash instead.
- Black Bean Substitutions: Kidney beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, or pinto beans are my favorite substitutions.
- Cilantro Substitute: Fresh basil can be used instead of cilantro.
- Should I eat this salsa warm or cold? You can eat the salsa warm as soon as the potatoes come out of the oven, or you can chill it for 30 minutes before serving. It’s delicious either way!
- What’s the best sweet potato to use? I like to use jewel or garnet sweet potatoes.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into small bite-sized pieces that are similar in size to the rest of the salsa ingredients so it’s easy to eat.
- After you rinse the black beans, make sure to drain them well so it doesn’t make the salsa wet and soupy.
- You can grill 2 ears of corn from scratch or you can use premade frozen grilled corn to save time. It’s just as flavorful and delicious! If you do use frozen vegetables, you can warm it in a small saucepan right before you make the salsa, or you can put the bag of frozen corn in the fridge to defrost the night before. Drain any excess liquid before adding it to the bowl if you choose the second method.
- Store the leftover vegan salsa in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, but don’t freeze it because it won’t defrost well.
Want More Vegan Sweet Potato Recipes?
Smoky Sweet Potato Salsa
- Large Baking Tray
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Small Bowl
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups grilled corn I used frozen (or (1) 14 oz rinsed and drained can)
- 14 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup tomatoes diced (about 2 large roma tomatoes)
- 3/4 cup red onion diced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the sweet potato into small 1/2-inch chunks and arrange them on a parchment-lined tray. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, and 1/4 tsp black pepper over the potatoes. Toss to coat each piece with the seasonings. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Add the roasted sweet potatoes, grilled corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, diced onion, and roughly chopped cilantro to a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together 3 tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salsa and use a large spoon to gently stir and mix the ingredients together.
- You can enjoy the salsa immediately or you can put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into small bite-sized pieces that are similar in size to the other ingredients so it's easy to eat.
- After you rinse the black beans, make sure to drain them well so it doesn't make the salsa wet and soupy.
- You can grill 2 ears of corn from scratch or you can use premade frozen grilled corn to save time. It's just as flavorful and delicious! If you do use frozen vegetables, you can warm it in a small saucepan right before you make the salsa, or you can put the bag of frozen corn in the fridge to defrost the night before. Drain any excess liquid before adding it to the bowl if you choose the second method.
*This sweet potato salsa recipe was originally shared on 10/15/15, but I updated it with new pictures on 8/28/20.