Full of plant-based protein and fiber, this black bean and sweet potato stew with spinach makes a delicious hearty meal. Enjoy this healthy one-pot meal that's rich, creamy and easy to make with simple pantry ingredients.
Why I love this sweet potato stew
Healthy - Full of plant-based protein and fiber, this heart-healthy meal is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It's a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C and minerals like calcium, potassium and iron.
Family friendly - made with simple ingredients like beans, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions and coconut milk that won't hurt your budget and everyone can enjoy. This warming stew is also great as leftovers for lunch or an addition to your next healthy dinner.
One-pot meal - a large pot or Dutch oven is all you need to throw together this simple comforting dish. I like to cook it in a few easy steps but if you're pressed for time, just sauté the onions and garlic and add the rest of the ingredients at once to cook this hearty stew.
Enjoy more soup and stew recipes and try my Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew, Spicy Creamy Potato Corn Chowder Soup (Gluten-Free) or my Spicy Red Lentil Soup. Pair the sweet potato and black bean stew with a side dish of rice, quinoa or Roasted Broccolini.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Sweet onion - works well as the mild flavors are not overpowering. You can also substitute red onion or shallots in this flavorful stew.
- Smoked paprika, cumin and coriander - make a nice combination of spices to give depth to the soup and and a hint of smoky flavor.
- Black beans - are my go-to for this hearty stew but you can swap in white beans, kidney beans or pinto beans.
- Sweet potatoes - adds a nice creamy sweetness to the stew. You can easily substitute butternut squash for a different take on the stew.
- Full-fat coconut milk - adds the right amount of creaminess. I don't find the stew tastes like coconut but if you prefer, it can easily be swapped out for a thick and creamy cashew milk.
- Filtered water or vegetable broth - increases the liquids in the stew, as the sweet potatoes will soak up moisture as they cook or rest at the end of cooking. Just add a little extra if you find the stew is too thick. Water is fine since there are so many other great flavors in the stew but the broth will bring a little more depth. Chicken broth works well too.
- Hot sauce - balances well with the sweetness of the sweet potato and coconut milk. I like to use sriracha but feel free to use your favorite hot sauce in this stew recipe.
- Fresh spinach - is a nice compliment with a boost of extra vitamins and minerals. Substitute for chopped kale, Swiss chard or arugula.
See recipe card for all ingredients and quantities.
How to make sweet potato stew with spinach
Equipment - use a large heavy-bottom soup pot or Dutch oven.
- Warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and sea salt, and sauté until onions soften.
- Add paprika, cumin and coriander, and continue stirring while spices become warm and fragrant.
- Add black beans and sweet potatoes, and gently stir to coat in onion and spice mixture.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, and cook covered, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in full-fat coconut milk, broth (or filtered water) and your favorite hot sauce.
- When finished cooking add spinach and stir to wilt.
- Top with fresh parsley, fresh cilantro or hot chili pepper flakes and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Hint: A squeeze of fresh lime juice will add brightness to the stew, as well as balance out the sweetness of the coconut milk and sweet potatoes.
Tips tricks and variations
- Butternut squash stew - substitute the sweet potato for butternut squash for a more savory version of this hearty stew.
- Make it more creamy - if you prefer your stew more creamy, mash some of the finished stew with a potato masher to develop a more creamy texture.
- Spice it up - add a chopped jalapeño pepper, some really hot hot-sauce, or finish the dish with a generous sprinkle of hot chili flakes. You can also try paprika with chili powder and chipotle pepper to change the flavor profile.
- Food Storage - the sweet potato and black bean stew can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. It will thicken as it rests and just needs a little extra water or broth to loosen it up when reheating.
The stew can be stored in an air tight container in the freezer for 3 months. Just thaw before reheating and you may need to add a little extra broth when heating to loosen the stew.
To turn this comforting stew into a soup, increase the broth to about 4 cups. You can also cook the soup for less time, about 20-25 minutes, so that the sweet potatoes and black beans remain more intact and add texture to the soup. Just make sure the sweet potatoes are fork tender before removing from heat.
This stew is made with full-fat coconut milk which adds a nice creamy base to the stew. To make it more creamy, you can cook the stew a little longer to allow the sweet potatoes to break down and create a smoother texture. You can also use a potato masher to mash some of the finished stew to create a creamier texture.
Side dish suggestions
- Roasted Broccolini
- Cumin Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Cooked white or brown rice
- Kale Mango Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette
More recipes to try
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