janet @ the taste space

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew & Cookbook Giveaway!

In Book Review, Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on November 2, 2013 at 7:02 AM

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Remember that time when I thought fall had arrived in Houston? The morning had a bit of a chill, despite daytime highs that were reminiscent of a typical Toronto summer’s day.

The extreme heat and humidity has somewhat abated, but without the change in the colour of the trees’ leaves, it still does not feel like fall. I continue to wear the same clothes I wore in the middle of the summer (aka short sleeves and shorts).

Although, I know the seasons are changing. The days are getting shorter. I can no longer photograph my dinner, after I return from work. Some days I am home earlier, but most days, I arrive home fairly late, after sunset. The sun is setting earlier, and earlier.

So after Rob made this absolutely delicious black bean soup, I knew I wanted to share it… but I had to photograph it before we finished it off. Instead of depriving Rob of his next dinner, I asked him to photograph it before he devoured the last serving.  I mean, there are a few perks of working from home, and photographing meals during daylight is definitely one of them.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

So… about this soup. Delicious! Loads of black beans and sweet potato chunks are simmered with cumin, oregano and allspice with a broth that is flavoured with red pepper paste (Rob’s creative substitute since we were all out of red bell peppers) and sun-dried tomatoes. Although the balsamic vinegar and lime juice make this special with the tang and acidity. The balsamic finish is definitely making a comeback in my kitchen, since it worked well with the white bean paprikash. Rob also opted to keep the black beans whole, instead of pureeing them. Thus, this was a bean stew instead of a bean soup.

While one might think I have a certain food photography style, it is truly a lazy affair. One camera and one lens. Photo from above and a few photos from the front. Easy, peasy and pretty fool-proof. As long as you can keep things in focus as you hover above the food. ;) Although the next photo shows you Rob’s signature in-your-face style:

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

The inspiration for this soup came from Dreena’s latest ecookbook, Plant-Powered 15, filled with 15 whole-foods vegan recipes without any oil or gluten. I know I have a few readers who are no-oil vegans, so this would be perfect for you. Even if you are not eating oil-free (like me!), you will still enjoy the bright flavours. As I have said before, I really like Dreena’s recipes. In particular, we adore her Lemon Mediterranean Lentil SaladJerk ChickpeasThai Chickpea Almond CurryTomato Lentil Cumin and Dill Soup and Thai Coconut Corn Stew.

Dreena’s ebook spans breakfast, oil-free salad dressings, mains like vegan burgers and even a few desserts. With the help of Nicole, there are gorgeous photos of each recipe. Instead of misleading you, Dreena has allowed me to share Nicole’s photo of the soup:

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Dreena has already shared the recipe for Umami Almond, Quinoa, and Sundried Tomato Burgers, her cashew-based Wonder Spread and Sticky Almond Blondies as teasers for the cookbook. However, even more exciting is that she is graciously offering a copy of her ecookbook to two of my readers! Because this is an electronic version, it is open to anyone is the world! (Woohoo!) To be entered, please leave a comment here, telling me about your favourite Dreena recipe. If you haven’t made anything by Dreena yet, have a look through the table of contents of Plant-Powered 15 (or another one of her books/blog) and tell me what you want to cook the most. I will randomly select a winner on November 15, 2013. Good luck!

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s No Waste Challenge for root vegetables and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair hosted by Denny.

Note: I purchased my own copy of Dreena’s cookbook.  I was under no obligation to share a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

PS. The winner of the Isa Does It! giveaway is Josiane. I will be in contact with you.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew
Adapted, with permission, from Dreena’s Plant-Powered 15 (our changes noted in italics)

This soup has an irresistible quality, the flavors are deep and earthy with some sweetness from the potatoes. Don’t let the number of ingredients intimidate you – they build layers of flavor, but this soup is not at all difficult to make!

1-2 tablespoon water coconut oil
1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups chopped onion (one large onion)
1 tablespoon red pepper paste (Dreena’s recipe had 1 1/2 cups combination of chopped red peppers and green peppers)
handful of sundried tomatoes, chopped into bits (this is according to Rob)

1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (generous is good)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon allspice (rounded)
1/4 teaspoon (or less/more, to taste) Aleppo pepper flakes
4 medium – large cloves garlic, minced or grated
4 cups cooked black beans (Dreena’s recipe asked for 4 1/2 – 5 cups black beans (reserve 1 cup; this is three 14 or 15 oz cans)
3 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 – 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups cubed (in small chunks, about 1/2″) yellow sweet potato (or can substitute white potato)
Chopped cilantro for serving
Chopped avocado for serving

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add watercoconut oil, onions, red pepper paste, sun-dried tomatoes red and green peppers, salt and pepper, cumin seeds, oregano, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Let cook for 5-7 minutes until onions and peppers start to soften. Add garlic. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and let cook another few minutes to soften garlic – if sticking/burning, add another splash of water. After a few minutes of cooking, add black beans 3 1/2 cups beans (reserving one cup of beans), water, tomato paste, vinegar, lime juice, and maple syrup (start with 1/2 tsp). Using an immersion blender, puree soup until fairly smooth. Increase heat to bring to boil, add bay leaf and diced sweet potatoes, then once at boil reduce and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add remaining cup of black beans and extra maple syrup if desired (taste test). Stir through, let simmer for another few minutes, then serve, topping with cilantro if desired and with lime wedges. Also delicious to top soup with some chopped seasoned avocado or a simple guacamole.

Serves 4-5 as main course.

Sweet Potato Tip: Sometimes I have leftover sweet potato home fries that have been seasoned with just sea salt. If so, I take a recipe and chopping shortcut and simply add these to my soup during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, just to heat through.

  1. I’m a huge Dreena fan! The most recent recipe I made of hers was the gorgeous Festive Chickpea Tart from Let Them Eat Vegan. I do actually already have the PP15 e-book and although I haven’t got around to making many of the recipes yet I have tried this one. Perfect.

  2. “Let Them Eat Vegan” is my favorite of Dreena’s cookbooks–I love the “Tempeh Tickle” recipe in it.

  3. I’m a huge fan of Dreena Burton. I have all her cookbook except the one that you’re giving away Yeah !!! I like and enjoy lots of her recipe, but I would say that lately we enjoy her kale salad in her Let Them Eat Vegan cookbook.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and the giveaway :) It is really appreaciated.

  4. I adore Dreena! I love every recipe of hers that I’ve tried especially her roasted red pepper and almond hummus and her creamy soup of sweet potatoes, chickpeas and peanut butter

  5. I would like to make Green Goddess Dressing.

  6. The Thai Pizza or the chimichangas from LTEV! Love all the recipes.

  7. I am looking forward to making the Umami Sun-Dried Tomato and Almond Burgers

  8. I love “Let them eat Vegan” and would like to try a few more of Dreena’s recipes.

  9. Dreena is awesome! Let Them Eat Vegan is on my Amazon wish list for Christmas! Her white bean rosemary soup rocks.

  10. That Mac-nificent looks fantastic…!

  11. I’ve got to try the Peanut Butter Munchie Squares!!

  12. The recipes in Dreena’s book look great! My kids would want to try the breakfast bars first; the Mac-nificent would be my first choice. Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. i love her green goddess dressing. mmmmm

  14. Her Super-Charge Me Cookies look amazing, I’m gonna have to try making some soon!

  15. Bless Rob for being able to photograph this for you – I too wish I could be at home during good lighting for food snaps sometimes! It’s tough for mid week leftovers with shorter days, that is for sure. You should thank him from all of us because his efforts look great :)

    • Kari, you are too kind. I always try to take photos of the food while it is fresh because even leftovers may lose its colourful sheen. As long as the recipe is good, I figure something is better than nothing! :)

  16. Working from home is great for photographing food – I always remember reading with astonishment in my early blogging days about someone going home in their lunch hour to photograph food for their blog. I have only one dreena cookbook and love it but really need to use it more – her healthy rice krispie treats are probably my most recent recipe from her and I loved them.

    • As you know, I try to keep things low stress with the blog, so I could not imagine going home just to photograph a meal.. GAH! Although, that is one reason why I do batch cooking on the weekends… along with batch photographing during daylight. ;)

  17. Dreena’s book is the most loved cookbook on my shelf

  18. I really like Dreena too, she’s always giving me inspiration! One recipe i really love is her baked cauliflower 😃 delicious!

  19. Oh I completely relate to the frustration of less light at night- sometimes that’s the only opportunity to photograph recipes. Although lately for me that has also included early mornings another thing the season change is taking away from me! Gah! Oh well….sub standard pics will have to do ;)

    I like the contrast between your and rob photography styles- I think mine is a funny combination of the 2.

    Delicious looking meal as always :)

  20. I’ll be making this soup for sure. And while everything in the cookbook looks great, the Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars would be at the top of my list. (And eaten at breakfast and many other times of day.)

  21. I love the sound of this stew, and the chunks of avocado on top look wonderful. I totally get the struggle to take blogworthy photos of your dinner, once the days start to get shorter. Thankfully I’m enjoying the opposite in my part of the world right now, with long twilights that make taking a few food photographs at the end of the day so much easier.

  22. […] Win Plant-Powered 15 over at The Taste Space – Giveaway ends 15th. […]

  23. I’ve actually never made any of Dreena’s recipes before! Although I’ve looked through her cookbooks several times. Looking at the Plant-Powered 15…I love that there is no oil in the recipes, since I have been avoiding oil at least when cooking for myself. The mac-nificent recipe of course caught my eye :)

  24. The Living Caesar Salad Dressing from Eat Drink & Be Vegan is SO good!!!

  25. Oh! I didn’t realize this was a new giveaway! Those coconut pillows sound good and I”m intrigued by the wonder spread, I”m guess it’s like butter? Though I don’t think I”ve ever been a big butter person. I also am not low fat by any means but usually cook without oil because I hate soggy vegetables or fried things.

  26. Those pumpkin seed chocolate chip oatmeal bars fo sho.

  27. Sounds delicious! I really don’t like shorter days… and colder days. The only consolation prize is super yummy comfort food like this ;p
    I know what you mean about losing light early – it really messes up my picture taking for the food blog. Ah well.

  28. I would like to try the Umami Sun-Dried Tomato and Almond Burgers.

  29. I want to try that Wonder Spread! Lucky for me she shared the recipe for it :-)

  30. I’d like to try the Mac-nificent! I don’t have any of her cookbooks, yet!

  31. I waste a lot of time browsing through dreena’s recipes…everything looks so wholesomely delicious! I loved the tamari chickpea recipe on there….it was very tasty :)

  32. I’ve not tried any of Dreena’s recipes ,but the black bean sweat potato is a must try.

  33. The No Fu Love Loaf is one of my favorite lentil loaves! This black bean dish also looks amazing!

  34. I’m always on the lookout for a good mac and “cheese” recipe, so the Mac-nificent is probably where I would go first.

  35. What a tasty and healthy stew! What a shame that I’ve missed the giveaway :( I’ve been offline for a week lately… anyway congratulations to the winner and have a great weekend!

  36. The Mango Sassy is a must try! :)

  37. I want to try her almond zen granola!

  38. Thai pizza has always been a fave of mine – thanks!

  39. I really enjoyed making Dreena’s “White Bean, Walnut, and Spinach Phyllo Rolls” from her “Eat, Drink & Be Vegan” cookbook. It’s an easy-to-prepare yet impressive dish for company. I would love to win her new Plant-Powered 15″ cookbook…

  40. oops, I’m actually not that familiar with Dreena Burton, a big loss on my part if I look at all the comments above and that stew. So to right my wrong I would absolutely love the chance to win het newest cookbook :)

  41. I like the sound of umami almond burgers

  42. We love Dreena’s burgers and also ‘cheesy sprinkle’ – would love to win the plant powered 15!

  43. This stew looks amazing! I love how chunky it is and all the cilantro and chunks of avocado on top. Yum! Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. ;-)

  44. […] return the favour of delicious food, I had to ask Rob to photograph the leftovers. If I thought the lack of daylight after work was bad before the daylight savings switch, there is now no way I can make it home […]

  45. I like her jerk chickpeas the best, but have made a few of her other recipes. I’m not oil-free, but I use it in moderation at home. Would love to win the PP15!

  46. I want to try her Bambara Peanut Butter Rice Pudding partly because I have basmati rice but mostly because it looks like a warm delicious bowl of yum! :)

  47. I’m intrigued by the “wonder spread.”

  48. I love that she has a whole Hummus/Dip chapter in LTEV. I would love to try any of those!

  49. Love the black bean sweet potato stew, the bowl looks perfect for this winter weather! Thanks for the submission towards MLLA and also introducing me to Dreena’s Plant Powered 15. The “Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars” sound wonderful. Would love to make them for breakfast.

  50. I was thinking of making it, but I’m a bit unsure, this is an unusual mix of spices (cumin, oregano, allspice). Any comment?

  51. from viva vegan, the choc chip cookies

  52. This looks super warming for our colder months here in the UK. Thank you for joining in the No Waste Food Challange.

  53. […] school and a 5-year residency before I contemplated caffeine. A few months into my fellowship, with its longer hours, I started with a bit of green […]

  54. I made this for dinner tonight and I followed your recipe exactly :) It turned out so great! My little taste tester (he’s 9 and can be a little picky sometimes) LOVED it too. He ate everything in his bowl! :) That’s a win in my eyes :) Thanks so much X

  55. […] have been shared earlier as well as Dreena’s Mellow Lentil “Sniffle Soup” and Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes (I shared that one in the fall and it was fabulous!). If nothing else, it may open you up to a […]

  56. […] recipe is from Dreena Burton’s latest cookbook. No stranger to her lovely recipes (Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew, Lemon Mediterranean Lentil Salad, Moroccan Vegetable Phyllo Rolls, and Orange Red Lentil Soup with […]

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