Can eating healthy really taste this good?? YES!
This past week, Richard came home from work one night with two new recipes that he found on the internet while on his break at work. We used to enjoy a black bean soup we had a recipe for, but it included chicken and chorizo. Now that we are not eating meat, we both missed the soup, and he took it upon himself to find a recipe we could use. He made a black bean soup for dinner on a night I worked late. It was really delicious and vegetarian. We're both happy we can now have black bean soup on our menu!  This recipe was also listed as a vegetarian black bean soup. I made it for dinner the other night and is was amazing! It seemed more like a 'stew' than a 'soup'. It was rather thick, but the recipe did say more water could be added to thin it out. I wouldn't change a thing, really!  Richard did think it was a little too spicy for his tastes, but we were both really happy with the results.
With a little effort, it's easy to find vegetarian or vegan recipes to replace some of our favorite meals that called for meat of some kind.  I think we may fall into that category "Vegan recipes for Carnivores"!!  This soup/stew is hearty, and filled with all kinds of good ingredients.  I prefer buying a 1 pound bag of dry black beans and cooking them myself. Canned beans have a lot of sodium, plus the cost for a bag of beans is about the price of 1 can of beans and once the beans are cooked, that one pound will yield about the same as 4 cans!
I cooked a bag of beans and then used them for this soup, and the rest I used for the tamales I made today, as well as the stuffing for the acorn squash we had for dinner! Wow! Three meals from that one bag of beans!
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced(I used 2 large)
1/2 tsp. ground dried chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP olive oil, divided
1 diced onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 TBSP ancho chile powder,
1 TBSP ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 c. water or more as needed
1 TBSP cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
pinch cayenne pepper
Toss cubed potato with 1 TBSP olive oil, chipotle pepper, salt and place on parchment lined cooking pan. Roast in 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until the edges are browned.
Set aside to cool.
Cook remaining olive oil,onion, garlic, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper,ancho chili powder, cumin, and dried oregano together in a large pot. Cook and stir until onion is soft, about 5 min.
Add tomatoes, beans, and water and bring to a simmer. Add cornmeal,salt, sugar, and cocoa powder. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
I used a quart of my home canned whole tomatoes and cut them up before adding. I also used canned chipotle instead of dried and added it to the soup instead of to the cubed potatoes before roasting. You can easily adjust the 'heat' in this soup.  I thought the heat was fine, but Richard thought it was too spicy.
One more note, don't be put off by the long list  of ingredients. It doesn't take long to make this chili and it's so delicious you'll be glad you  made the effort!
Cornbread was a perfect compliment!

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