Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Collards Stew

Winter’s made me super lazy about cooking lately and I’ve been stuck in a rut of making my favorite staples over and over again. But having recently joined a new food coop in the neighborhood, I have all this yummy produce and was inspired by the fresh herbs I saw yesterday and decided to get off my lazy butt and make a stew! This is a variation on my good old black bean recipe, but made a little heartier with sweet potatoes and greens, and with an herby kick. Perfect for a cold wintery night!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Collards Stew (serves about 8)

  • usual black beans recipe, minus the dry oregano and adding to the pot 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed, and 1 more cup of water


  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rubbed sage
  • 3-4 leaves collard greens, chopped

When the beans are soft, add the red wine vinegar, sage, oregano, and collards, and let simmer another 4 minutes until the collards are wilted. Garnish with some fresh oregano and serve with brown rice.

The $5 Challenge Dinner

I decided to take the $5 Slow Food Challenge and cook an easy, healthy, vegan, and most importantly, CHEAP meal for a few friends this weekend. This is a recipe from a previous post, Mexican Pizza but with black beans this time, and some leftover corn on the side. I chose it because it was the cheapest thing I could think of to make from scratch without having to buy too many ingredients, and everyone loves pizza (duh.) Plus, it went perfectly with my new Mexican tablecloth that I just got while on vacation last week!

The goal was to spend less than $25 to feed five people, and I was actually under budget if I don’t count the spices and olive oil that were already in the cupboard. The flour, cornmeal, and yeast were bought in bulk from the Bushwick Food Coop, which is why they’re so cheap. It pays to join a local coop!

I froze the bananas and put them through my champion juicer on the homogenizer setting to make a custard for dessert. I know not everyone has a juicer, but you could also just use a food processor or blender to make a creamier pudding.

Here’s a recap of what I spent, including for dessert:

  • 3 bananas – $0.93
  • 2 green peppers – $1.91
  • 1 bunch of cilantro $1.79
  • 1 avocados – $2.00
  • 1 bag black beans dry – $1.29
  • 1 tomato – $0.88
  • 1 bag yellow onions – $1.99
  • 4 ears corn – $2.67
  • 1 block tempeh $2.00
  • 1 cup cornmeal  – $0.36
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour – $0.68
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast – $0.12
  • 1 can tomato paste – $1.29
  • 1 bag daiya cheddar cheese shreds – $4.49

And my total was just $22.40 (plus pizza leftovers for breakfast and lunch yesterday!) I did my best to use organic, local stuff, but I don’t get my CSA share until Wednesday so I went to my local grocery store for the veggies. Surprisingly, they had a small selection of local vegetables.

So all and all, success. And Paul got to toss the pizza dough.

Look how happy everyone is to eat a $5 vegan dinner. Take that, value meals!

Sausage and Black Bean Breakfast Burritos

Burritos for breakfast! What can be more fun than that? These came out so good that my boyfriend and I ate them for every meal for the next 2 days. We decided to do the salty-sweet thing with some grilled pineapple (he insisted that I give him credit for that! I was a bit on the fence about it but I decided it’s awesome!)

I used my black bean recipe and a recipe for tempeh sausage crumbles from the Post Punk Kitchen. I’m not one of those vegans who tries to mimic meat very much but the combination of the spices here is really great (I skipped the sage though)

Here’s what you need:

  • Black beans and some tempeh scramble (see above)
  • a cup of pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb spinach
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • whole wheat tortillas
In a pan, add the oil and sautee the spinach, garlic and mushrooms with

some salt and pepper and lemon juice over medium heat until everything is cooked down. In a separate pan, add the pineapple chunks until they’re lightly browned (they cook really fast!)

Wrap up in some tortillas and los burritos estan listos!

Low Fat Cuban-Style Inspired Black Beans

This is an adaptation of my great-aunt’s delicious recipe. She uses a load of sugar and olive oil though, which I don’t like to use, but it’s just as good without! And I like to make it a little spicy too.

I’m leaving on a trip to Guatemala next week (where I’ll probably be eating a lot of beans!) so I wanted to make something cheap that I can keep on hand for the next few days and not have to think about my meals too much. And this is so cheap! If you already have a well stocked spice cabinet, it won’t cost more than $10 to make this. I’ve made this a million times, and I always just eye all the ingredients, so all the amounts are approximate.

  • 3 cups dry black beans, soaked in plenty of water overnight
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 orange, red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp siracha chili garlic paste (optional)
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste

-Rinse beans and put in big pot with enough water to cover beans and leave about 1 inch on top. Add 2 cloves crushed garlic and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook covered over medium heat for about 45 min until beans are al dente.

-While the beans are cooking, spray a pan with olive oil and add onions, bell pepper, and pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook over medium heat until they’re translucent, then add 3 cloves crushed garlic and cook for one more minute

-When beans are soft after first round of cooking, add a few tablespoons of onion,pepper and garlic mixture into a blender/processor with a few tablespoons of black beans and the chili garlic paste. Mix it up until it forms a chunky thick paste. This is the “sofrito.”

-Add all remaining ingredients (except red wine vinegar) with the sofrito into the pot (adding more water if needed). Cook for another 40 minutes over medium heat. At the very end, add red  wine vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes.

I garnished them with some sun-dried tomatoes just to give the dish a little color. Serve over brown rice.

Will keep in the fridge for about a week. If you still have some beans leftover after that, you can freeze them.