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In the Mood for Super Carbs!

I must need more energy. I KNOW I need more energy LOL, and I’m hoping that these carb-rich superfoods will set me on the right track.

I was daydreaming about food earlier today and here’s what floated through my head: nachos led to beans, eggnog led to spices led to holidays led to sweet potatoes, bean soup floated by and added onions and garlic, the chips from the nachos came back for another round and made me think of a dip which led to hummus and refried beans, but a scroll through a random blog showed me a butternut squash which brought back the sweet potato and suddenly I felt the need to cook up something mashable and cumin-y with black beans and sweet potatoes.

When I started, I wasn’t sure just what I was going to do with it when I was done.

After chopping and sauteing and seasoning, I sampled and immediately realized that I’ve enjoyed these flavors together before! One of my ALL-TIME favorite recipes is Santa Fe Stew, a black bean + sweet potato + braised lean pork cubes stew seasoned cumin (plus a multitude of little flavors that take it over the top!) It is from The New Basics Coookbook (1989) from the Silver Palate ladies.

After adding the beans and some liquid to the sweet potatoes and onions, then letting the panful of carb-liciousness steam for a while, it looked like this — not so pretty.

But it tastes beautiful and lovely! Black beans are kind of like that friend or family member that you love to pieces, but they are messy — always spreading layers of “evidence” that they’ve been there. You know what I’m talking about.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Base

1/2 large onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 c. fine dice orange-flesh sweet potato (aim for the size of the black beans)
1 15 oz. can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained (1 1/2 c. to 2 c.)
1/2 tsp cumin, plus more to taste at the end
1/4 tsp. rubbed sage
1/8 tsp. cayenne (more to taste)
olive oil
vegetable or chicken broth, or liquid of choice, up to 1/2 cup as needed.
salt to taste

Heat 10″ frying pan to medium heat; saute onion in olive oil until just translucent then add garlic and stir to combine. After 1 minute or so, add sweet potatoes. Add more oil if needed to lightly coat the potatoes.

Pan fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes begin to soften and they have some color, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Clear a space in the middle of the pan, make a puddle of olive oil and add spices to the oil. Stir lightly to combine and let cook 30 seconds then add 1/4 c. liquid, the beans, some salt if desired, and stir well to combine.

Cover lightly and let steam until sweet potatoes are tender, gently stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if needed.

When everything is just about done, add about 1/4 tsp. more cumin to freshen up its flavor and adjust salt level.


My Thoughts on Uses for this Sweet Potato Black Bean base…

As is, warm or cold: a soup stir-in, for nachos (!), in place of beans and rice in a wrap or burrito, or as a side dish
Fork-mashed: as a spread or chunky dip for chips, or an ugly side dish
Pureed (with extra liquid as needed): as a spread or dip, or as a soup thickener (mmm, change up your boring brothy soup!)

You could layer it into an appropriate casserole… top it with cheese, stir in bacon… the possibilities are out there — get creative!

Here’s my energy-packed dinner: fork mashed SP/BB with chunky salsa verde (some mixed in it, some alongside) and chips! As for protein, when hubby gets home from work at 9:30pm we’ll have a small protein-rich snack :)

Have a great weekend! *crunch crunch*


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