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Southwest Sweet Potato Black Bean Casserole

sweet potato black bean chili casserole
This vegetarian, gluten free recipe is one I return to over and over again. It does require roasting the sweet potatoes and preparing the quinoa separately, but you're extra dishes are rewarding with leftovers even more mouthwatering than the first go round.
It is not fussy at all, so feel free to improvise if you're missing something. When I first made it, I was envisioning enchiladas without the work and mess of rolling them, so I used tomato sauce and this AWESOME salsa verde I had on hand.
The most recent batch, we had a tear-inducing smokin' hot salsa from the farmer's market, so I didn't bother with the enchilada sauce, green chilis or jalapenos. Instead, I opted for a 15 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and just sprinkled all the spices on top before giving everything a stir. This time it tasted more like a Southwest Vegetarian Chili.
vegan gluten free sweet potato black bean chili healthy harvests
Now, don't get me wrong, it definitely turned out best following the recipe I've shared with you all, but my point is, cooking does't have to be stressful. Take a look at what you have on hand and let the creative juices flow. If you're someone who usually follows a recipe to the letter, I challenge you to trust your intuition and add your own special flare at least once this week.
If you're into meal planning, this meal just keeps on getting better as leftovers, so it's perfect for having meals on hand all week. It's killer with eggs for breakfast or next to a salad for lunch or dinner. 

 

Southwest Sweet Potato Black Bean Casserole
 
Ingredients
For the Enchilada Sauce:
  • 1 tsp. pure, extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely minced red onion (you can also chop ½ cup onion for the casserole)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
For the Casserole:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (bonus! cilantro detoxes heavy metals in your body) plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup diced green chiles
  • 1 jalepeno, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup salsa verde (or salsa of choice, but green adds a really nice flavor!)
  • Greek yogurt and avocado, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Make the Enchilada Sauce. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and water. Bring to a low simmer, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Cook the Quinoa: In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Cook the Sweet Potatoes: Preheat oven to 400. Place cubes on baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and dash of oregano. Bake 15 minutes. They should be mostly cooked, but will continue to soften once everything is mixed together and returned to the oven. 
  4. Assemble the Casserole: Reduce heat to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8x8 or 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, sweet potatoes, black beans, enchilada sauce, 1 ½ cups of the cheese, red onion, green chili, and jalepeno.  Stir until everything is well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining ½ cup of cheese.
  5. Bake covered until casserole is hot and cheese is melted, about 25-30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro, avocado and Greek yogurt, if desired.

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