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

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad

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While in London, I ate french fries and gelato every single day.  I also indulged in a pint (or two) of craft beer.  Every single day.  For a month straight.  In short, my destructive, unhealthy diet was a sober vegan’s worst goddamn nightmare.

Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was prepping myself for an intense detox consisting of straight juiced kale and other horrible concoctions nutrition bloggers insist are good for the body and the soul.

While I didn’t *exactly* end up subjecting myself to some kind of horrible, liquid diet (I mean, last weekend was my birthday, so of course I was going to eat steak and cake!), I was able to come up with some yummy, clean recipes.

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One recipe from the mix is this roasted vegetable orzo salad.  It’s light and summery which made me extra excited to eat it for lunch all week.

Although I’m longing for sweater weather season with soup-based dinners and a nice mug of warm tea before bed every night, I’m still trying to push as much summer recipes into my life as I can before it’s too late!

This recipe is especially great served over spinach with a little extra dressing and a grilled chicken breast.

On a side note: My heartburn has gone away since I started incorporating more veggies and less french fries into my life.  Weird right?!

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad:

1 1/2 c. orzo pasta (whole wheat if you can find it)

2 zucchinis, cubed

2 yellow squashes, cubed

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

1 can chick peas, drained

1/2 c. walnuts, toasted

Crumbled feta, for topping (optional)

Dressing:

1/4 c. olive oil

2-3 Tbs. red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. dried parsley

Onion powder, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of sugar, agave, or honey

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Toss zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers in olive oil and a few pinches of salt.  Spread onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions.  Drain and let cool to room temperature.

While pasta is boiling, whisk dressing ingredients together until incorporated.

To make the salad, mix cooled roasted veggies with the orzo, chickpeas, and walnuts.  Pour dressing over the top and mix to coat the orzo.  Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to eat.

Serve with crumbled feta over the top.

Makes 4 entree servings or 8 side servings.

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Although I miss the nights of drinking pale ale at the Craft Beer Company in London, eating deep fried foods, and laughing with my friends, I’m also happy to be on a normal eating schedule again!

It’s also nice to not have to take an antacid before bed every single night.

Can’t say I wouldn’t do it all again!

Signature

Song of the Day: Smother–Daughter

Thai Marinated Cucumbers and The World is a Beautiful Place (and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die)

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Does anybody (besides me) like the smell and idea of pickles but not actually like pickles themselves?

Because I’m finding that I have that kind of relationship with pickles.  I want to like pickles, I just have a hard time with them for some reason.

Probably cause I’m a weirdo.

Which is coincidentally what my roommate thinks I am after I took him to see The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die (or to shorten it: The World is a Beautiful Place/TWIABP)

Oh, you don’t know who that is either?

I’m not surprised actually, but you should check them out.  I’m a little bit in love with them <3

(ily TWIABP)

Uhhhhhh…back to the pickle thing now?

I’m not huge on pickles, although I am trying, but I looooove Thai marinated cucumbers.  I don’t know how you couldn’t.  They’re kind of sweet and vinegar-y and go great with chicken satay with peanut sauce or homemade ramen just sayin’.  Also, they’re way healthier than pickles, so there’s that.

And you should try them about rightthisverysecond.

Okay?

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Ingredients:

1 cucumber

1/4 c. rice vinegar

2 Tbs. sugar

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Red chili flakes, to taste

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Slice your cucumber.  I really like pickling cucumbers for these because they’re super crunchy, but I couldn’t find any at the store this time, so a regular one works just fine! (Also, this is like, half a cucumber because that’s just what happens sometimes).

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Whisk together the vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.

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Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers.

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Mix together.  Let marinate for about 20 minutes (or longer if you like it really strong) and then pour out extra vinegar.

“Hey Sara, you need to go get your nails done now”–you guys.

“I know, I’ll try to do better in the future”–me.

(Thank for loving me anyways) (Even when I enter weird made up commentary mid directions).

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Put these on everything.

XO Sara

Song of the Day: Space Exploration to Solve Earthly Crises–TWIABP (fitting, yes?)

Also ft. Chris Zizzamia who does an awesome spoken word/poetry collab with the band which you will hear in this song!  Cool, right?

Black Bean and Corn Guacamole

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“Hey, Sara.  Why are you taking pictures of that guacamole?”

“Errrrrrr, uhhhhhm, weeeeelllllllll…..”

I feel like that just summed up my life in two sentences.

That was a quote from one of my roommates.  Sometimes it takes a while to openly admit that you’re a food blogger.  Not that I’m ashamed.  Just that it’s not something that just comes up all the time.

Until your roommate walks in, practically smacking you in the head with the front door while you “rap squat” with a camera pointing directly at a bowl of guac.  Don’t know what the “rap squat” is? Check this out here.  That should sum it up for you/give you a good laugh.

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Anyways, yeah, guac.  I’m pretty sure that I’m allergic to avocados considering I never feel all that great after eating them, but I don’t care.  Because they’re worth it.  Why are they so good?!

This guac has corn and black beans in it, like that really great salsa, except that it’s in guacamole!  Yes, please and thank you.

But Sara, doesn’t regular guacamole have tomatoes and onions in it?

Uhm, don’t you have something better to do?  Shouldn’t you be watching Netflix or something?  I recommend It’s Always Sunny. (No, Netflix is not compensating me for that comment.  But I am interested Netflix.  Need a cute little redheaded spokesgirl?  Sorry, was that conceited?).

But for real, the answer is yes.  But I hate raw onions and I forgot tomatoes at the store.  You may add them if you want.  I just did not have the necessary ingredients with me.  Sorry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

1 avocado

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 lime, juiced

1/4 tsp. onion powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 drops Tobasco, or to taste

1/4 c. corn (fresh, frozen, canned, your choice)

1/4 c. black beans (I used canned.  Make sure to drain and rinse!)

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Cut your avocado in half, around the pit.  Jam your knife into the pit and yank it out.  Just twist a little, it’ll come out.  Don’t cut your hand!  You can do this guys.

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Put the avocado in a good mashing bowl with your garlic, lime juice, onion powder, salt and pepper, and Tobasco.

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Smash it with a fork!

Screw the fork, this is taking to long.  Use a potato masher.

Oh yeah, I don’t have a potato masher.

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The fork works.

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Stir in black beans and corn!

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Serve with these!  They’re way healthier than regular corn chips and they’re way more delicious!

Again, not being compensated.  Again, interested.

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This should serve 4 regular, healthy sized portions.  But we all know you’re going to eat half of it like me.  Don’t be like me, kids.  Do yourself a favor.  Learn portion control.

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You know what, avocados are really good for you, eat however much you want.

And let me know how that goes.

Tips:

1. To find a good avocado, take the little stem off.  If it’s green, it’s ripe!  If it’s creamy white/tan, it’s not ripe.  If it’s dark brown or black, it’s bad!

2.  To keep guacamole from going brown and goopy, cover it with water.  Then just dump it out and stir whenever you want to eat it.  Kind of sounds gross, but it’s not (it’s just water) and it’s better than brown clumpy guac.  The reason it works is because food can’t oxidize in water!  Yeah, science bitch!  (Breaking Bad, anyone?)

XO Sara

Song of the Day: Honestly?–American Football

Healthy Dirty Rice

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I know, it’s been like, a month.

But on the bright side, I got great grades from all of the finals I was studying for.  When I say that, I mean that somehow I got a full 100 on my calculus exam.  If you’re sitting here stunned, just know that I have been feeling that way since I found out two weeks ago.

I seriously don’t know how that happened.

Another plus is that I’m doing great in my three week mini class.

Three weeks, three credits.  No biggie.

(Kind of a biggie).

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On the bright side, I have definitely not forgotten all about the blog.  I actually have a bunch of great stuff coming up for you guys.  And in approximately a week and a half, I will be completely off of school and lots of great stuff will be coming your way!

But first, let’s start off with dirty rice.  I can recall a few times when I was little where my mom made the boxed Zattaran’s stuff on super busy nights, but we realized pretty soon after that we were not huge fans of the boxed dinners.

Luckily, dirty rice is super easy to make at home and tastes 10x better than Zattaran’s.  This is easily a 30 minute meal (excluding the rice prep but still…).  And, if you didn’t already expect this, the recipe is healthy.  Shocker right?

*Disclaimer:  This is NOT traditional dirty rice.  Traditional stuff uses chicken gizzards and livers and other leftover chicken parts.  Now, I know that they’re just some chicken parts, but they are just chicken parts I can not wrap my head around eating.  So therefore, I went the Zattaran’s route and used ground beef.  Also, this recipe was created completely according to taste/whatever I had in my kitchen so the spices may or may not be traditional.  End of disclaimer.*

Ingredients:

2 c. cooked long grain brown rice

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp. ceyenne pepper, or to taste

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. dried mustard

1/4 tsp. dried marjoram

1/2 tsp. parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 beef bouillon cube, dissolved in 1/4 c. hot water

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Cook rice according to package directions.  Set aside when finished.

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Chop up veggies!  Yes, those are dried onions.  Yes, I forgot to buy a real onion.

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Saute the veggies until soft.

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Brown the beef.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  (Blurry picture alert.  Whoops!)

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Oh yeah, and dissolve that little guy.

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Add rice and spices to the mixture.

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Mix it all together and add beef bouillon mixture.  Let simmer until the liquid is absorbed!

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Serve to a group of very happy peeps.

Also, please note that you should adjust spices as needed for your tastes.  I decided to not use much salt since I used a beef bouillon cube.  Just taste and adjust accordingly.

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Serve this with a nice little side salad and you have a delicious dinner that will make the whole family happy!

*Vegetarian/Vegan: Replace ground beef with zucchini, tofu, eggplant, and other veggies.  Replace beef broth with veggie broth.

*Gluten Free: This recipe is gluten free

*Paleo: Replace rice with cauliflower “rice”.

XOXO Sara

 

 

 

Homemade Hummus

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Mmmm hummus.

It’s one of my faves.  But I do not love the store bought stuff.  How do you make something so healthy taste so chemical-y?  They find a way, I’m telling you.

So I made my own!  Homemade tahini and everything.

This is perfect with fresh veggies and whole wheat toasted pita bread.  I could go eat some right now, and I just might.

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I even accidentally stabbed myself with my blender to make this stuff, so sacrifice was involved.

That’s how good hummus is.  I’m willing to give some blood for it.

But somebody’s gotta do it, ya know?

Oh, did I mention how easy it is to make this?  Even homemade tahini is so simple!  Just blend up the tahini, scrape it out and make the hummus right away.  No clean up involved.  It only took me about 30 minutes, and I was on my way to Greek food heaven.  Maybe gyros will happen this weekend?  It’s so possible.

Follow the directions like this and you will have a perfectly smooth hummus!  Any other way might not end up with the best results.  Go with your gut, but keep in mind, this is my recommendation 😉

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Spoon tahini into a blender.

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Add fresh lemon juice…

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Blend away!  Let it just blend for a good two minutes.  Scrape occasionally.

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Add a bunch of chopped garlic!

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And some salt.

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And some paprika!

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And don’t forget about the olive oil.  My favorite of all the oils.

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Blend it up!  I actually used a little too much paprika so mine looked kind of reddish orange.  You do not have to make my same mistakes, but you can if you want.

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Add chick peas and blend until smooth and creamy.  (At this point, it will be thick, so add some water to get it to the desired consistency).

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Have I ever mentioned how good hummus is with warm whole wheat pita bread?  It’s da best.

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Ingredients:

2 cans chickpeas

2 Tbs. tahini

Juice of 2 lemons

8 cloves garlic (you may use less, I recommend this many though)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. paprika

1/4 c. olive oil

2-4 Tbs. water, to thin (I needed 4)

Drain chickpeas and rinse in cold water.  Set aside to drain all of the water out.

Spoon the tahini in a blender and squeeze as much lemon juice as you can in with the tahini.  Blend together for about 2 minutes, scraping occasionally.  Add garlic, salt, paprika, and olive oil.  Blend for a few more minutes, scraping sides occasionally.

Add chickpeas about 1 1/2 cups at a time.  Blend thoroughly so that the hummus is nice and smooth.  Add water to thin to desired consistency.

Makes about 4 cups.

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Delicious.

*This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free!

*Paleo: Replace chickpeas with roasted eggplant or roasted cauliflower.

XOXO Sara