This is a quick and easy dinner to make for a big group of people or great to make for yourself and eat throughout the week. If you have the time and would prefer, use dried black (or turtle) beans, soaking them first and then cooking them. It takes a little while longer to cook but not much longer. If you used dried beans, soak them overnight, rinse them, and then let them dry. After you saute the onion and garlic, add the beans, and then the rest of the ingredients. After all ingredients have been added, top with several cups of chicken or vegetable stock (or if store bought stock, use 1 whole container). Use about 3 cups of dried black beans for this recipe. It’s a very forgiving recipe so you can keep adding spices, vegetables, and whatever else you like.
Black beans are so extraordinarily good for you you. I also love the taste of them. They are my go-to food during the week. I could eat black beans and rice every single day.
“Recent research has shown that black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans has recently been shown to be larger than the IF in either lentils or chickpeas. It has been shown to be the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid (ghee -try Ancient Organics brand- also helps produce butyric acid). Cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. By delivering a greater amount of IF to the colon, black beans are able to help support this lower part of our digestive tract. Lowered colon cancer risk that is associated with black bean intake in some research studies may be related to the outstanding IF content of this legume.” (From WHfoods.com)
Like brightly colored fruits and vegetables (eat the rainbow we always hear!), black beans are high in phytonutrients. Black beans are also one of those foods with a very high protein plus fiber combination that is so great for blood sugar balance and regulation. “With respect to prevention of type 2 diabetes, researchers have become especially interested in some of the alpha-amylase inhibitory effects of black beans. Naturally occurring compounds in this legume slow down the activity of alpha-amylase enzymes.”
Sweet potatoes are also one of those vegetables that are good for you, flavorful, and easy to prepare. We prefer them with the skin on because a good deal of nutrients are there. They are high in phytonutrients, beta-carotene, and many anti-inflammatory nutrients. The benefits of sweet potatoes are especially great when eaten with a fat, like coconut oil, olive oil or ghee.
Recipe for BLACK BEAN CHILI with SWEET POTATOES
(Serves 8 or 4 with leftovers)
- 2 25-32 ounce cans (or 4 smaller cans) of black beans, drained & rinsed (Eden Foods brand is best)
- 3 sweet potatoes (skin on)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow or white onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 pasilla pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 25-32 ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes (fire-roasted are great), with liquid, chopped in big chunks
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin, or more, to taste
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoky paprika or chipolte powder
- 2 teaspoons dried coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or more, if you want it spicier
- 1 bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves chopped
- 2 to 3 scallions or 1 bunch of chives, thinly sliced
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- Juice from 1 lime
- Splash of unfiltered apple cider vinegar (about 2 tablespoons)
- Bake sweet potatoes until just firm. When cool enough to handle, cut into bite sized chunks.
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the dried spices and a teaspoon of salt, when the oil is hot, add the onion, saute until golden, add the garlic, saute for 1 minute, until oil is infused with a nice garlicky flavor, add the peppers, saute for a few minutes, until halfway cooked through. Add the fresh tomatoes, saute for a minute, and then add half the cilantro. Add the beans, stir, add tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes. Add another 1/4 of the cilantro. And a splash of apple cider vinegar and juice from half a lemon and 1 lime. Add the chopped sweet potato. Continue to cook another 10-15 minutes. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour or more. The longer it sits, the better it tastes. Adjust seasoning as needed, add more salt and pepper.
- Serve in a bowl and top with sliced chives or scallions, cilantro, and, if you want, smoky cashew sauce. You can also serve this over a green salad (it deliciously wilts the greens), rice, quinoa, pearl barley, buckwheat or farro.
About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.