Full of flavor and easy to make, this Sweet Potato & Black Bean Stew is a wonderfully satisfying vegan meal! Best served with green onion, cilantro, and bread. 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!
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. I love this time of year because it's the perfect opportunity to clean out my kitchen and pantry. I always start by taking note of expiration dates so that I know when to use up what I have on hand. This stew is also a great way to use up any leftover vegetables you might have while 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 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. Now that I'm out of these beans, I think that means it's time for another visit to Costa Rica to obtain more cubaces beans!
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 you're going to need to make this stew recipe:
- chef's knife
- cutting board
- wooden spoon
- large stockpot
- can opener if you're using canned beans
If you're going to cook the beans yourself, you can use the same stockpot you used to cook the beans. Just let it cool for a few minutes, wash it, and you're good to go.
🥘 Ingredients to make this sweet potato and bean stew
Here's what you're going to need to make this recipe. The specific amounts are in the recipe card.
- 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)
🥣 How to cook 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.
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.
🔪Instructions to make this Sweet Potato and Bean Stew
- After 3 minutes of preheating a large stockpot, place onions, red bell pepper, and salt in the pan and sauté for several minutes, stirring frequently. Keep stirring for several minutes and the onions will start to sweat. Keep stirring occasionally for approximately 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion starts turning golden.
- 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.
- Stir in oregano, cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Then add sweet potato and continue to stir for another couple of minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, breaking them down with a wooden spoon. Add the vegetable broth, bay leaves, and black pepper. Keep cooking on medium until stew is simmering, for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Check if the 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 you are using chickpea rice, add it into the stew 7 minutes before being done.
- Add the beans and cook on medium heat until heated through, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves before serving into bowls.
💭 Top tips
- 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.
- 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!
How to serve
- Top the stew with chopped green onion or avocado.
- Try serving this stew with my Vegan Southwest Skillet Cornbread!
- Top with 1 teaspoon cashew cream to each serving, if desired.
- Serve with fresh bread and plant-based butter.
- Refrigerate the stew within two hours of cooking. Let it cool on the counter first.
- Refrigerate the bean stew promptly in covered airtight containers.
- Properly stored, the stew will last for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Can this stew be frozen?
- To further extend the shelf life of this black-eyed pea stew, freeze it in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
- It will maintain the best quality for about 4 to 6 months but will remain safe beyond that time.
- How long does the stew last after being frozen and thawed? Cooked sweet potato and bean stew that has been thawed in the fridge can be kept for an additional 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator before cooking; bean stew that was thawed in the microwave or in cold water should be eaten immediately.
If you make this Sweet Potato and Bean Stew, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. You can follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me! Just tag me @resplendentkitchen and hashtag #resplendentkitchenrecipes.
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 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 sweet potatoes, unpeeled chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 1 18.3-oz jar whole peeled tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ 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
- ½ 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 for approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add garlic and serrano pepper, and stir for another minute. Add water or vegetable broth 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 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.