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Quick Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili + Cornbread

First things first: this dish is U-G-L-Y, it ain't got no alibi, it's ugly. Yeah, yeah, it's ugly. It may not look so bad in the picture, but when I reheated some today I was struck by just how unattractive stew-type dishes can be. But it still tastes good! Especially with a hunk of cornbread. (I made this cornbread, as usual. I found the perfect balance of health and taste when I made it last night, so that recipe has been updated to reflect the new ingredients.)

Quick Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili
Recipe from Nava Atlas' The Vegetarian Family Cookbook

2 medium-large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons light or extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 to 3 garlic cloves
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
One 32-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 or 2 small fresh hot chilies, minced, or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt to taste

Bake or microwave the sweet potatoes on high until just firm, about 3 to 4 minutes per potato. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 3/4-inch dice. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden. Add the bell pepper, beans, tomatoes, chilies, cumin, and oregano. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Season lightly with salt. If time allows, let stand off the heat for 1 or 2 hours, then heat through as needed.

Serves 4-6

My Changes: Instead of baking or microwaving the sweet potatoes, I diced and steamed them for approximately 10 minutes. I also left the skins on. I only used 1 Tbsp of oil, left out the oregano because I didn't have any, and threw in some chili powder. I mistakenly put the sweet potatoes in with all of the other ingredients instead of separately, but it turned out to be a good thing because they would never have finished cooking in that last 10-15 minutes.

Nutritional Info: 305 calories, 3.6 g fat (0.6 g saturated fat), 17 g fiber, 13.4 g protein @ 5 servings.

Ok...looks yuk, but sounds yum!
Overall, how do you feel about The Vegetarian Family Cookbook? I've been thinking about picking it up, but I haven't heard many pros or cons about it. I know Shmoo's mom at the Vegan lunchbox uses it alot.

Stalker update: I just came home from a figure drawing class with Dorthy Fry - a prof from pcad.

I'm not put off by yucky looking food. I can't say the same for the rest of my family though. Which is also why I probably don't own an indian cookbook. The rest of the family thinks indian food looks yucky.

Maybe it is a credit to your picture taking skills, because this dish looks good.

As I wrote on Harmonia's blog about her ugli fruit the other day... "Ugli is the new pretti" and in this case, what may be ugly on the outside is so good for us on the inside. That's what really counts!

And really, this looks scrumptious.

It's not really that ugly. It has a nice personality. It actually does sound really good. And the cornbread! I love cornbread also. I was using my mom's recipe, then I found we liked Mollie Katzen's recipe better. I might try this one and see if this becomes the house standard. Thank you for posting that.

megan - I've only made one or two things from VFC, actually, so I don't really feel qualified to give an opinion just yet. I have a few things marked off to make, though. And it's certainly not a bad cookbook by any means. It's mostly vegan, and when things aren't she provides vegan options, so that's a big plus anyway. What I can say so far is that it's full of simple, non-fussy sort of recipes - the kind you make when you don't feel like spending an hour and a half making dinner.

jessie - Yay PCAD! I don't actually know that prof, but still: yay PCAD! I do so love my school. :) I can't imagine thinking Indian food looks bad. Well, okay, maybe I can - but I know that it tastes soooo good, so I can get past looks.

kleo - He he, ugli fruit. I'm always tempted to get one of these at the store. I actually think "ugli" is a really cute work. Like, I don't think I'd mind being called ugli. It's the i. Those little fellows are just so adorable with their dots. :) And you're right, it's the delicious, nutritious insides that count.

carrie - HA! It does have a nice personality, though. It's a lot of fun to hang out with, too. Very witty. Not like those pretty foods that just rely on their looks to get by. Looks fade! Grapes turn into wrinkled old raisins! The sweet potato is in it for the long haul!

Okay, I'm done. I hope you like the cornbread if you decide to try it out!

Your dinner looks familiar..(and really great, seriously).

I think I’ll pick up some sweet potatoes at the farmers market today and try this out. What would I ever eat without this blog? I don’t think it’s that ugly personally, but I’m always more interested in how food tastes than looks. There’s a picture of chana masala on my blog now, it turned out quite pretty if I do say so myself. :)

jess - I know, I checked your blog a bit ago and thought the same thing. :)

shananigans - It's true, taste is more important that looks. But something about this one just struck me as very visually unappealing. It's still a good meal, though. I just saw your chana masala and cake/cupcakes! Both look awesome.

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