Well, in my opinion.
This is a recipe that I took from Jamie Oliver – one of many mainstream chefs who are adopting and creating plant based recipes. It is without a doubt that there are so many benefits to doing so and I love to see people like him push it into “mainstream” cooking.
This recipe combines sweet roasted sweet potatoes with tangy cilantro, pan-fried vegetables, and mixed beans for nutrition and protein.
You can used canned beans or dried beans for this recipe – I’ve used both and the outcome is the same. I like to use dried beans personally because you can avoid any of the additional sodium or preservatives that come with using canned beans/vegetables, but using dried beans definitely takes a little bit of extra time since you have to soak and cook them yourself.
Luckily cooking dried beans isn’t as complicated as it might seems – but I’ll explain how I do that later.
This recipe is really so nice because you can make it your own and dress it up as you please. Don’t like cilantro? Don’t use it! This would be just as good with some flat leaf parsley or even some spinach thrown in at the end for greens. I just think the cilantro adds a really nice flavour. I do highly recommend using the spices I’ve listed though, even if you’re skeptical, because they really do create the perfect flavour for this chili.
SWEET POTATO BEAN CHILI WITH CORIANDER (CILANTRO)
– 2 cans of mixed beans (1 1/2 cups dried)
– 1 can of whole plum tomatoes (diced tomatoes are fine too)
– ** with the water in the can + an additional can of water
– 2 bell peppers (yellow, red, or orange)
– 1 large onion
– 2 garlic cloves
– 2 sweet potatoes, rinsed and chopped into 1″ pieces with skin
– olive oil
– chili powder, cayenne powder, cinnamon, cumin
– one bunch of coriander, with stems
– *additional optional ingredients: avocado, spinach/kale, pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, rice — to serve with chili
SOAKING DRIED BEANS
You can do this a number of different ways. Typically this involves soaking the beans over night with any method – and make sure you never add salt to the beans, otherwise they’ll end up being tough and firm when you cook them, which isn’t what you want.
1. Add your beans to a large boiling pot. Cover them with excess water.
2. Bring the water to a boil – once rapidly boiling, remove from heat, cover and let sit overnight (or for 8-9 hours).
3. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans so none of the boiling water is remaining and any starchy material has been washed away.
4. Return the beans to the boiling pot and cover them with 2 inches of water.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
6. Check back periodically to make sure there’s enough water remaining so the beans don’t burn. It’s also a good idea to test them occasionally to make sure they’re not too firm and are softening nicely.
7. Once cooked, drain and rinse the beans and keep them aside for later.
And again, DO NOT ADD SALT!
ROASTING YOUR SWEET POTATOES
For this you’ll need a large roasting pan, preferably 9×13.
1. Make sure any dirt and organic material is rinsed off your potatoes and they are dried and cut into chunks about 1 inch x 1 inch in size.
2. Preheat your oven to 350-400 F – the exact temperature doesn’t matter too much as long as they cook thoroughly.
3. Coat the potatoes in olive oil, and add cinnamon, cumin, chili pepper and cayenne pepper powder. Mixed everything well to make sure the potatoes and coated in the spice mixture.
4. Roast the potatoes in the oven until fully cooked – this usually takes 45 minutes to an hour – just make sure you check to see that they’re done.
* You can use any amount of the spices you want, I typically use 1-2 tsp of each, but it entirely depends on your individual taste!*
COOKING YOUR CHILI
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot to medium heat.
2. Dice your garlic cloves, and chop your onions and peppers – removing all seeds and stems.
3. Once your oil is hot, add your vegetables to the pot and cook until soft.
4. Chop your coriander/cilantro stems and cook with your vegetables as well. Chop the cilantro leaves as well, but keep them aside for later.
5. Once your vegetables are cooked, add the beans to the pot, and add cinnamon, cayenne powder, chili powder, and cumin and stir thoroughly (1-2 tsp of each is fine)
6. Add your whole tomatoes + liquid to the pot, then fill the can with water and add it as well. If you like more liquid, you can add more, but if not, this should be fine.
7. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour. Check back occasionally to make sure too much liquid hasn’t evaporated.
8. Once done, add your potatoes and chopped cilantro to the pot and mix.
9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
10. That’s it, you’re done! Now you can serve this delicious meal with whatever toppings you like best. My favourites and avocado and pumpkin seeds.