« Other People's Pantries #138 | Main | New from the archives: four fresh posts (Recipes: Floribean chicken chili, rotini with spicy meat sauce, tomato-nectarine chutney, kicked-up gingerbread) »

Canned black beans (Recipe: vegan black bean and sweet potato stew) {gluten-free}

Vegan black bean and sweet potato stew

One convenient thing to know about canned black beans:

There's not much difference in the nutritional value of canned black beans and dried beans you cook yourself. The canning process requires long cooking time at a high temperature, which lowers the nutritional value of many canned vegetables, but beans require long cooking time anyway, so they hold most of their goodness through the canning process. The ultimate convenience food, canned black beans keep for years in the pantry, ready and waiting to turn themselves into soup or stew or a quick quesadilla filling.

Cooking or baking?

In the pantry cupboard, for years. Leftover canned black beans can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator; remove them from the can, rinse and drain, and store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Pantry ingredients in this recipe:
Canned black beans (more facts and ingredient photos)
Fresh ginger root
Chili powder
Chipotle chiles in adobo

Vegan black bean and sweet potato stew

Vegan black bean and sweet potato stew

A perfect fit for the season (look at the colors!), this stew makes a satisfying main course for vegetarian and vegan diners. Served over polenta, it's a real "Three Sisters" (corn, beans and squash) treat. Serves 4-6.


2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger root
2 tsp chili powder
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 medium), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups orange juice
2 Tbsp minced garlic

2 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Toppings (optional): sour cream, avocado, orange wedges


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add ginger, chili powder and cumin and stir 2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, orange juice and garlic and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until sweet potatoes are almost tender, approximately 10 minutes.

Stir beans, chipotles and bell pepper into sweet potato mixture. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over low heat before continuing, stirring occasionally.) Top with sour cream, avocado and orange, if desired.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
South End Deep Root Chili
Black bean and peach soup
Black bean and brown rice burrito
Moros y cristianos (black beans and rice)
Gluten-free gazpacho

Other recipes that use canned black beans:
Grilled lime chicken with black bean sauce, from Simply Recipes
Crockpot black bean chili with lime and cilantro, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Quick and easy refried black bean dip with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, from Farmgirl Fare
Turkey black bean burgers, from Dine and Dish
Chicken chili with black beans, from Hooked on Heat

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I love the combination of flavors in this. So comforting and filling!!

I recently made sweet potato and black bean burritos. Yum! Great minds, thinking alike. :)

What a perfect combination of beans and sweet potato!

I always have canned black beans, garbanzo beans and white beans in my pantry. I try to cook from scratch, but sometimes canned is the only solution, when pressed for time.

This sounds so good! There's just something about the combination of sweet potatoes and black beans.

Sinful, Momgateway, Kalyn: I love the combination too. Not just the colors, but the sweet flavors seem to work so well together. Throw in a bit of cumin and chili powder -- how can you go wrong?

Deena, great minds indeed!

Amy, I always have canned beans, too. In many uses, especially soups and stews and hummus, canned beans are really indistinguishable from fresh-cooked dried beans. And they keep in the pantry for years.

I can't wait for the sweet potatoes to be harvested, as I often make a stew with them and black beans. However, I love the additional flavors - particularly the ginger - you've got here.

yummmmmm sweet potatoes!
... I heard somewhere that sweet potatoes and yams were two totally different veggies. Sweet potatoes being very nutritional and yams not so much. Is this true you think?
Maybe you could look into this as I am too tired to google it myself...:-)

Black beans is one thing that I always, always, always have on hand. If I run out, my kids riot.
This looks like a great recipe to try!

TW, this will be even more delicious with freshly harvested sweet potatoes from your wonderful CSA. The ginger really warms up this stew.

Carol, there's lots of info available out there: http://homecooking.about.com/od/howtocookvegetables/a/sweetpotatodiff.htm

Kristen, you're so lucky your kids eat beans. Ours never did.

I hate to admit it, but I don't think I've ever combined sweet potatoes with black beans - and I love them both. This looks wonderful, and I bet the orange and avocado really set everything off. Thanks for the reminder of what I've been (foolishly) missing all these years! :)

Thanks for the link- I am much more awake this am and checked it out- I have to say..I would be impressed to see a seven-foot long yam!!

Susan, you're going to love the combination of flavors. And the colors can't be beat (especially at this time of year!).

Carol, I'd be impressed, too. And terrified.

I don't usually use canned beans, I cook a big pot and then freeze them. It's not really a nutrition issue but a cost one. If I know I'm going to be hanging out on a saturday morning doing house work I usually soak some beans overnight and cook them in the morning.

Kate, I make my black beans in the slow cooker, two pounds at a time. But I still keep canned beans on hand for those times when I run out.

I have made this dish several times since your post. It is simply delicious. My 82-year-old dad loved it served over soft cooked polenta. Thanks for another keeper!

I recently made sweet potato and black bean burritos.I don't usually use canned beans,Black beans are quite healthy,Healthy in pretty much every way except the sodium.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.