My vegan Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew.
“Where do you get your recipes from?” That’s a question I’ve been getting a lot recently. My recipes are usually based on what I have available at home and what flavours I crave at the time. In saying that, I’ve recently started paying more attention to the nutritional composition and functionality of my food.
Most foods provide nutrients, but not all foods are functional. That is, beyond providing basic nutrients, some foods do not have health-promoting effects like reducing your risk of chronic diseases or boosting your immunity. This is a key reason why it is important to eat whole foods, rather than relying on processed foods that are merely fortified with vitamins and minerals. Processed foods may provide you with basic nutrients, but beyond that, they don’t do much.
The sweet potato is the largest food crop, grown in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions in the world. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre. They are a good source of minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and sodium. They are also good sources of vitamin C, folate, vitamin K and vitamin A (in the form of β-carotene).
Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in the body. They, therefore, help to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, diabetes, autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders, and ageing. Sweet potatoes are particularly rich in phytochemicals that prevent the growth of cancer cells. The peels of sweet potatoes promote wound and burn healing.
β-carotene is one nutrient that sweet potatoes are particularly rich in. The way you cook your sweet potato can potentially reduce the amount of this nutrient. Boiling your sweet potato for up to 50 minutes can reduce up to a third of its β-carotene content. Steaming further reduces it, while microwaving results in the largest loss.
The best way to preserve the nutrients in your sweet potato is to cook it with its skin on. You can always peel the skin off once it is cooked if you choose not to eat it, but this way, you would prevent the nutrients from leaching into the cooking water.
Black beans are very popular in Mexico. Due to their dark colour, they are very rich in antioxidants like polyphenols, anthocyanins and flavonoids. These beans are also good sources of prebiotics – constituents of food that promote the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms in the large intestine.
Just like other beans, they are rich in minerals including selenium (prevents breast and stomach cancer), calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Beans are a good source of folate, vitamin E, and B-vitamins.
Sweet potatoes and black beans are both rich sources of fibre. Fibre is known to promote satiety and indirectly promote weight loss. If weight loss is one of the primary reasons for eating a plant-based diet, this recipe could be great for you. Preparing it with little or no added oil will also promote fat loss.
Every brand uses a different recipe for their seasoning mixes, which of course has a significant impact on the final taste of the dish. I’ve used Schwartz Jamaican Jerk Seasoning for this particular recipe, and it was amazing!
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
- 320g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
- 100g cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 400g can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1½ vegetable stock cubes
- 2 tsp jerk seasoning
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- Small bunch coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
Add a splash of water (or 2 tablespoons olive oil) to a large saucepan over medium heat. Once warm, add the onions and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until softened. Then add the jerk seasoning, cherry tomatoes, spices, red chilli and chopped coriander stalks and gently cook until fragrant.
Add the tomato purée, stock cubes, sweet potatoes with around 300ml of water. Stir thoroughly and bring the mixture up to a boil. Turn the heat down and cook on a simmer for around 10 minutes or until the potatoes are almost cooked. Stir in the beans. and check the seasoning. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are completely tender and the beans are heated through and hot.
Serve with a generous portion of regular rice or cauliflower rice (as pictured) and garnish with chopped coriander and chilli flakes.
- Category: Lunch/Dinner
Keywords: Sweet potato, black beans