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Black Bean Chili-Topped Sweet Potatoes (vegan option)

Posted Oct 03 2010 3:47pm

I have come to the conclusion that everyone wants easy recipes for dinner. Come six o'clock on a Tuesday night, even those who proclaim steadfast allegiance to the slow food movement long for a delicious meal made with 4 to 6 familiar ingredients (give or take), even fewer steps (ideally while doing something else at the same time), and minimal fuss and muss. If it's nutritious to boot, it's the modern home cook's golden fleece.

Since my singlehood days in graduate school, I have come up with some reliable standbys that fit the above requirements, all of which are delectable and have (since) been extensively husband-tested.

For example, my black bean chili-topped sweet potatoes. They are grand for lunch, fabulous for dinner, and a hit with meat & potato-people, vegan folks and friends, and everyone in between. The whole shebang is ridiculously easy to make, and very good for you, too. My 3-ingredient chili topping is baffling: how can anything so easy taste so good? The key is to use a good quality salsa, but honestly, even as I type that, I know it isn't true: I've made it with many a jar of cheap-o salsa and it still rocks.But if you can swing a good chipotle salsa, do.

I suggest the simplest of toppings-- a dollop of Greek yogurt (or non-dairy sour cream, to make it vegan) and some cilantro at its most minimal, but consider this an opportunity to use up stray herbs (chives, oregano, arugula) and crumbles of cheeses (e.g., goat cheese--holy cow! or more aptly, holy goat!--and smoked Gouda are equally palate-dazzling).

Make it and love it! I gobbled it up for lunch today--and what a gorgeous day it has been-- and will sleep better tonight knowing that my Monday lunch will be the same.

Black Bean Chili-Topped Sweet Potatoes

Makes 2 hearty, main-dish servings

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1-1/2 cups good quality, chunky bottled salsa (preferably chipotle)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (or dairy-free sour cream , if vegan)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Optional: Additional toppings, e.g., crumbled cheese (queso fresco or goat cheese), fresh herbs

Prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places.., Place in a baking dish and bake at 425F about 1 hour.) (Alternatively , microwave on High until tender all the way to the center, 12 to 15 minutes

Meanwhile, combine salsa, cumin & beans in a saucepan over medium heat (or medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave on High until just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Cool potatoes 5 minutes, then slit each lengthwise, pressing open, then spoon the chili into the center of each. Top each with a dollop of the yogurt (or non-dairy sour cream) , a sprinkle of cilantro, and (optional) other toppings.
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