Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls

SWEET POTATO BLACK BEAN BOWLS WITH KALE, SEEDS, AVOCADO, AND LEMON-TAHINI SAUCE. A LIGHT BUT FILLING SHEET PAN DINNER THAT ALSO HAPPENS TO BE VEGAN!

An overhead of two sweet potato black bean bowls on a grey table with a grey linen, a bowl of tahini sauce, pepitas, and a jar of pickled onions.

In case you’re getting to a point where you can’t stand to eat one more damn cookie from the batch that you thought would be a good idea to freeze in case you got snacky and sad, here’s some vegetables and super foods! When I said in my blog post last week that I meal prepped, I meant it! I threw together these sweet potato and black bean bowls early last week, and they lasted so long, that Marc and I definitely won’t be eating them again for at least two more months. But, it was fun while it lasted, and I learned how to switch up veggie bowls so that I don’t get entirely too sick of them!

On top of feeding us for lunch and dinner for a few days, these bowls also happened to make a great breakfast! Rice is unnecessary when you go the breakfast route, because you can just plop the veggie mixture on a plate, top with a runny egg, and voilà, it’s suddenly a hash.

Here’s what you’ll need for sweet potato black bean bowls

An overhead shot of a pot of rice placed on a linen, bowl of pepitas, bowl of tahini dressing, avocado, bowls, and half a lemon in a curved shape on a grey speckled counter.

The best part of these bowls is that they require mostly basic pantry staples + a few things from the produce aisle! While the lemon-tahini sauce is optional, I would highly recommend making it! It adds so much delicious, nutty flavor to the dish. However, if you can’t find tahini, no worries. We’ll talk about it later.

Also, I realize this looks like a ton of ingredients, but a lot of it is spices and other typical things you probably already have in your kitchen. You can mix up the ingredients if you want to customize your bowls, but here’s what I used:

  • Sweet Potatoes: I use jewel sweet potatoes, but any are ok!
  • Olive Oil: Or whatever oil you like to use for roasting.
  • Chili Powder: For spice.
  • Smoked Paprika: Or regular!
  • Cayenne: For more spice.
  • Salt and Pepper: Always.
  • Garlic: A necessary component of any savory dish.
  • Rosemary: Fresh or dried is fine!
  • Kale: I use curly, but get whatever you can find.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Or pepper of choice.
  • Black Beans: Just one can.
  • Tahini: See substitutions below!
  • Lemon: Goes perfectly with tahini.
  • Brown Rice: Or any grain you like.
  • Toppings: Avocado, seeds (I like pumpkin, chia, and flax), cheese, eggs, etc.

Time to make sweet potato black bean bowls!

Two bird's eye shots of a sheet pan placed on a grey table. On the first pan, there is roasted sweet potatoes. On the second pan, there is roasted sweet potatoes, peppers, and kale.

Before you begin, remember to start your rice! How many times have you forgotten to start the rice and then dinner is half an hour late? The woooorst.

Next, spread the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with the chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper and bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop up the pepper and tear the kale. Toss with more olive oil, salt, and pepper, and add to the sheet pan. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the veggies are tender and the kale is crispy. Sprinkle the black beans over the sheet pan, and bake for another 3-5 minutes, just until the beans are warmed.

While everything is baking, you’ll want to prepare your rice, any toppings, and the sauce! If you’re making the lemon-tahini sauce, just whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, some water, a clove of garlic, and a pinch of salt. It will seize and get clumpy, but just keep going! If it’s thick, continue adding water or lemon juice until it’s nice and saucy.

Serve the veggies over rice with sauce, seeds, avocado, and other toppings of choice!

A side photo of sweet potato black bean bowls, surrounded by another veggie bowl and ingredients on a speckled grey table.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowl Toppings

These bowls are customizable, which is the best part! You can use different veggies, different grains, whatever you like. As for toppings, I like to add avocado, a squeeze of lemon, and lots of seeds to my bowls! (Seeds are basically savory sprinkles, yeah?) However, if you’re feeling a little ambitious, there are lots of other fun things you can add to round out the meal:

  • Fried Eggs: Obviously not vegan, but so delicious!
  • Feta Cheese: Parmesan or queso fresco are great too if you can’t find feta.
  • Pickled Onions: Anything pickled, really.
  • Fresh Herbs: There’s never a bad time for fresh herbs. Try chives or cilantro!
  • Greek Yogurt: I’ll put plain Greek yogurt on anything.
  • Chicken: If you need some meat, grilled or sauteed chicken would be delicious.

What if I can’t find tahini?

I’m lucky that tahini just sits on the shelves in my grocery store. However, I know that’s not the case for everyone. If you can’t find tahini, but you still want to make a sauce, try plain Greek yogurt! As much as I love tahini, I will never say no to garlicky, lemony yogurt sauce. Or, you can always order tahini online!

Bonus: Sweet potato black bean bowls are vegan!

If vegan is your thing, then these bowls are for you! Obviously, if you add eggs and cheese and yogurt, that will not be the case. But, they will still be vegetarian! They also happen to be gluten free. So, you can pretty much make these bowls for anyone which is gr8.

How to meal prep sweet potato black bean bowls

These are my perfect meal prep situtation! Once you get all of the ingredients prepped, all you have to do is layer the bowls together into six airtight containers however you please. Top with a lid, and store them in the fridge for up to one week. I would recommend adding seeds right before you eat, or they may get soggy in the fridge. Also, maybe add avocado last-minute, or it’ll get brown and funky.

A few tips and tricks

  • Make sure not to crowd the veggies, or they will steam rather than bake. If necessary, use two sheet pans so that the veggies get nice and crisp.
  • Double the tahini dressing if you have no self control (hi, me).
  • The veggies may get a bit soggy in the fridge. To crisp them back up, reheat them at 350°F just until they are warm.
A closeup bird's eye shot of a veggie and grain bowl with avocado, lemon, and a fork sticking out of the side.

Other delicious veggie recipes!

Farro Salad with Acorn Squash, Kale, + Pomegranate
Spring Panzanella Salad
Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing
Carrot Salad with Pistachios, Queso Fresco, + Shallot Dressing

Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls



xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: What Would I Do? by Strawberry Guy

Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls with Kale, Avocado, and Lemon-Tahini Dressing | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls with Kale & Lemon-Tahini Dressing | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

(May 2018) Note: This is an updated version of a “healthy Caesar dressing” recipe I posted way back in 2013.  The dressing recipe is essentially the same, and changes have been noted in the recipe at the bottom!


Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

There’s a restaurant in Reno called Campo that makes a kale salad and, not even kidding, it makes me crave kale salads.  It’s lemony, garlicky, and topped with crispy parmesan and a poached egg.  I think about it a lot and have considered going there just for a kale salad and their caramel budino, but I don’t want to be judged by the servers, even though I think kale + caramel pudding is the epitome of balance.  I guess you could call the salad “famous” by Reno standards, and the original owner of the restaurant was even nice enough to post the full recipe online. Continue reading “Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing”

(Crockpot) Light Zuppa Toscana

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I have been surprisingly social all weekend.  I went to a football game on Friday (we won!) (Go Wolfpack!) and then my roommates and I spent the rest of the night with Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen and Cards Against Humanity.  If you have never played Cards Against Humanity, let’s just introduce you to their slogan : A party game for horrible people.

And that it is.

Just take a look at their website.  Or check out this and this.

I also spent my Saturday night bar hopping with one of my best friends/pseudo cousin.  Except that I had to drive home so my bar hopping experience was mostly just me getting leaned on by a bunch of drunk people.

Good times right?

The whole drinking and Cards Against Humanity thing ties together because:

1. Most of the time, if you’re playing Cards Against Humanity, you are simultaneously drinking.

And 2. When I told my roommate, “The only two games I know how to play are beer pong and Cards Against Humanity.  What does that say about me?”, his response was, “You’re an evil alcoholic.”

So there’s that.

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And now about Zuppa Toscana.  It is that delicious soup at Olive Garden with sausage, potatoes, and kale.  The broth is lightly creamy and a little spicy.

It is also 220 calories for a bowl of it at Olive Garden.  That doesn’t seem tooooo bad, until you consider that it has 15 g of fat and 990 mg of sodium in it.  And when you consider that you’re going to have another bowl of it.  And a glass (or two) of wine.  And probably some type of pasta.  And that salad, which also doesn’t seem too bad until you see that there are 150 calories, 10 g of fat, and 760 mg of sodium in it. Also, don’t forget that you’re going to eat like, 4 of those bread sticks (140 calories, 2.5 g fat, 460 mg sodium)

Holy shit, what is in this stuff?

Anyways, I definitely recreated the recipe and lightened it up quite a bit.  I calculated it all up and it was about 350 calories per serving.  The recipe serves 4, so you get quite a big serving of soup for less than 400 calories.  Also, you just throw it in a crockpot.  So easy guys.

Ahem.

*thunderous applause*

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*The recipe was originally from Fix it and Forget it, but has been changed dramatically*

Ingredients:

6 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. whole milk or half and half

2 carrots, grated

3 russet potatoes, sliced

4 cups kale, chopped slightly

1 lb. turkey Italian sausage

Dash salt and pepper

Sprinkle of garlic powder

Sprinkle onion powder

1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

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Grate 2 carrots into your crockpot.

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Pour in chicken broth.

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And the whole milk/half and half.

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Slice up your potatoes.

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Add them to your broth.

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Brown the sausage.

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Add it to your broth.

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Sprinkle your spices!

Cook for 3-4 hours on high, stirring every once in a while.

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1 hour, I REPEAT, 1 HOUR before serving, stir in kale.  If you do it any earlier, it will be grossly soggy.  Do you want soggy kale?  Do you?!

No.  You really don’t.

Serve with a light homemade salad and some whole wheat rolls.  Sprinkle it with a little parm.

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Yum yum yum.  This is definitely going to be my fall favorite.

Bonus: It’s gluten free naturally!

It doesn’t taste exactly like the Olive Garden version, but it’s pretty damn close for a light version.  Sometime (when you feel really naughty) go ahead and use regular chicken broth, cream, and pork Italian sausage.  Or just go to Olive Garden and really go all out.  I’m normally not a fan of chains, but I still love Olive Garden every once in a while.

But just make this, okay?

XO Sara