Jessica: Roasted Sweet Potato with Tomato-Black Bean Sauce

I absolutely love vegan cookbooks. I can only say that much of my success in culinary endeavors is because of amazing cookbooks that do an excellent job of describing something in a way that I get. There are some authors who get how off the cuff my methods were in beginning, with only one butter knife to slice through veggies in prep. Not even a chopping or paring or chef’s knife, but a dull butter knife that led to many many scrapes and subsequently, scars. I had a fascination with holding my breath because once I got a real set of knives (these were amazing non-stick European paring knives that sliced like butter. Their fuschia and orange blades made me giddy just to use them.) I realized what I’d been missing by skipping out on something fundamental to good cooking.

We just got a set of knives and while I am an avid retail researcher, we bought these knives in a set from Amazon on sheer whim. I got the box in the mail like a week ago, and they’re pretty cool. I’ll post a picture with my next post.

In addition, my first time making this dish was wrought with some other kinks. Without reading the recipe through, I assumed this would be a great meal provided the ingredients were right. That it was. Nevertheless, I should have read through the recipe because midway I discovered I had no food processor, and thus would end up with a thick chunky sauce, instead of a nice blended rich sauce that had a nice orange color instead a bright red one. The sauce was still fabulous and the ingredients definitely made a difference overall. Now that I’ve made a point of using the right equipment, this recipe is the BOMB. It seriously fills my cravings for a saucy meal, without making my go-to pasta a tired meal for me. I love my pasta but a hiatus is necessary.

I’ve made this tonight after making it a few weeks ago for two. Every time, it turns out a little different. Tonight, off the cuff I made it with a bit more cumin and coriander, plus some red pepper flakes instead of jalepeno, for a more controlled and mild heat.

I LOVE this recipe. (And yes, in case you recognize, that screencap is from Civilization 5)


1 1/2 tsp cumin powder

 1/2 tsp ground coriander  

1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper  

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper                                                                                                             

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes                                                                                                                                  

2 tablespoons oil                                                                                                                                 

1  yellow onion, diced medium                                                                                                                 

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp maple syrup or agave

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the spices, cook for 2 minutes until oil is fragrant. Add the onion, garlic, and if you’d like more heat, a jalepeno to the mix of spices in the pot, stirring to coat them in the seasoning. Cook until the onions soften and become slightly translucent, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce and the agave nectar or maple syrup to the pot and lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Transfer the sauce to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Return sauce to the pot and over simmer, add the beans and the salt and let everything cook for 5 more minutes, covered.

Serve over roasted slices of potatoes of any variety. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ Butternut Squash Rancheros recipe on, and amazing all vegan recipe and forum site that I’m a part of. Check it out!

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