A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Coconut Black Bean and Sweet Potato Casserole

 No pull-up and heavy bag station today, *sigh* maybe tomorrow. But no worries, I’m excited for today’s lunch of coconut black bean and sweet potato casserole. Wow, that’s a long name, maybe I should make it an acronym…C.B.B.S.P.C; “you down with CBBSPC…yeah you know me”……never mind.

Do you ever wish you could take back things you just said? See above paragraph and know that my answer to this question is YES. Moving on now……

Ever since going to Breckenridge, CO over a week ago, I have been craving a mixture of black beans and sweet potatoes like I had when visiting there a year ago. I decided to feed my craving by making this for one of our lunches this week, and since I had a small sample of it the other day, I’m ready for the full course!

Does coconut, black beans, and mashed sweet potato all combined in a casserole and baked until a toasty brown crust forms sound good to you? Then gather the following ingredients and make it yourself; your friends, family, and taste buds will thank you.

Coconut Black Bean and Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients (4 – 6 servings)
1 ½ cups dry black beans; soaked overnight (about 8 hours); or 2 cans of black beans rinsed and drained
4 cloves garlic; chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes; scrubbed, skin-on and cut in 1 inch cubes
12 oz bag of frozen Marepoix blend; I get this at Kroger (mix of celery, onion, and green peppers); chopped onion would be ok if you don’t have this
16 oz bag of frozen broccoli; use whatever you have around; spinach would be good too
1/2 can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 t cayenne; I doubled this since I like the spice
3 tablespoons dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 red bell peppers; seeded and chopped
1/2 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 cup favorite salsa and/or Greek yogurt

Directions you don’t have to follow:
Heat a large sauce pan or deep skillet with a lid to medium high heat. Add maripoix or chopped onions and sweat for several minutes; add chopped garlic and cook for another minute. Add everything else except the eggs and stir well; bring to a simmer and cover. Cook covered for 30 to 40 minutes; you should be able to easily pierce potato pieces with a fork. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes so you don’t cook the eggs.

I love using personal sized Pyrex dishes to bake in then just put a lid and store.
While waiting, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add eggs and salsa and/or Greek yogurt if using. With a large fork or potato masher, mash everything together until well incorporated. Mix Greek yogurt in for a little tanginess. Transfer mixture to glass baking or casserole dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. The top should turn a crispy gold or brown. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

I love the versatility of this dish. You can use any vegetable you want in place of what I listed and still have a tasty casserole. The coconut milk really makes for a unique flavor! If coconut is not your thing or you just don’t have any, use more chicken broth or add diced/chopped tomatoes (I use Pomi brand since their tomatoes are packed in a bpa-free container) instead.

Do you have a favorite (maybe several) dish/meal/food that reminds you of a certain time or place and you like to recreate at home? Do you change anything or keep everything exactly the same?

For me, the sweet potato and black beans did not have coconut milk and was in a burrito. I requested to have the mix in a bowl and fell in love with it like that. Since then, I have made two personalized versions, the recipe above and one I posted last year using canned tuna. I wonder what I’ll do next time; maybe for breakfast with scrambled eggs!!

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