This nutritious and filling sweet potato and bean stew is delicious and warming. Use canned beans to save time when making this vegan and gluten-free stew. Add the vegetables you have on hand to boost nutrition and reduce waste!
Inspiration for the stew
At the beginning of every new year, I start clearing out my pantry, noting expiration dates and making use of what is in the cupboards. My focus was to buy less food and to use up what I had in my pantry. As a result, I cleaned out my fridge and made a dish using common leftover vegetables, thus reducing food waste.
In keeping with the theme of less food waste, I developed a sweet potato and bean stew recipe for Imperfect Foods, formerly called Imperfect Produce. Since then, I have updated the recipe and photos as of 2/2/2020. Since remaking the recipe I have run out of cubaces beans and used pinto beans. I think that means it’s time for another visit to Costa Rica to obtain more cubaces beans!
I was inspired to make this quick weeknight stew after visiting beautiful Costa Rica in 2018. After a visit to a grocery store, I came back with a very affordable 1 pound bag of dried cubaces beans. Since I don’t usually cook while on vacation, I knew they would be coming back with me in our luggage.
What are Cubaces beans?
Cubaces beans are a large, broad red bean that is common in Costa Rica.
The cubaces beans lend a mild sweetness to this stew. However, I didn’t see Cubaces beans on the menu when eating out in Costa Rica. In fact, whenever we went out, black beans were usually on the menu. If you don’t have any cubaces beans or black beans, you can use other beans. Pinto beans work great in the recipe I am about to share with you.
The alternatives to cubaces beans that I recommend are:
- pinto beans
- kidney beans
- Peruano beans
- red beans
What ingredients do I need to make this sweet potato and bean stew?
- two bell peppers
- cubaces beans or other beans, such as black beans or pinto beans
- Serrano chile pepper
- dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, paprika, bay leaves, black pepper, sea salt
- sweet potatoes
- a jar of whole peeled tomatoes
- vegetable broth
- optional: chickpea rice, avocado, cashew cream, green onion (recommended)
Cooking the beans
If you are not in a hurry, you can cook the beans on the stovetop, after soaking them. I usually soak a pound of beans on the same day I plan to cook them. In a large stock
After soaking the beans for 6 to 8 hours, drain them. In a large pot, cover them with a couple of inches of water, and cook on a low-medium simmer for approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Stir occasionally, add one tablespoon of sea salt. Add water if it is boiling off. Taste the beans at 45 minutes for doneness. Cook longer if needed.
A tip when cooking the beans
If you enjoy spice, try this tip. Add a couple of dried Arbol chilies to your beans while they are cooking. Drain the beans and rinse them. Chop up the chilies and add to the beans for flavor.
What do you do with leftover cooked beans?
You can freeze any leftover beans. Once they are
Feel free to make this recipe any way that suits you! Add leftover vegetables to the stew to use them up. You may use canned beans if you are short on time. Be sure to drain and rinse them.
For more main dish recipes, check here.
Sweet Potato and Bean Stew
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 1 serrano chile pepper diced and seeded
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 sweet potatoes, unpeeled chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 18.3-oz jar whole peeled tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups cooked large red beans cubaces, black beans or pinto beans, or 2 15-oz cans of black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chickpea rice, uncooked optional
- 1 avocado chopped, optional
- 3 green onions chopped for garnish, optional, highly recommended
- 4 – 6 tablespoons cashew cream optional
- Put a heavy bottomed large saucepan or dutch oven on medium heat. After 3 minutes of preheating, place onions, red bell pepper, and salt in the pan and sauté for several minutes, stirring frequently. Continue stirring for several minutes and onions will start to sweat. Keep stirring occasionally for approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add garlic and serrano pepper, and stir for another minute. I don't usually add oil as I prefer to add water or vegetable broth instead if the vegetables start browning. I don't usually add oil as I prefer to add water or vegetable broth instead if the vegetables start browning.
- Stir in oregano, cumin, chili powder, and paprika. After stirring for a minute, add sweet potato and continue to stir well for another couple of minutes.
- Add the tomatoes. Break them down with a wooden spoon, and 4 cups of vegetable broth, bay leaves, and black pepper. Keep the heat on medium until stew is simmering, for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Check if sweet potato is done by placing the sharp tip of a knife into a piece of sweet potato, or by tasting it. If resistance is met, the sweet potato needs more cooking. The tip of the blade should be able to pierce the middle of the sweet potato piece easily.
- If using chickpea rice, add it into the stew 7 minutes before being done.
- Add 3 cups of cooked or canned beans and cook on medium heat until heated through, for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves before serving into bowls. Top the stew with chopped green onion or avocado if desired. Top with 1 teaspoon cashew cream to each serving, if desired.