Sweet potato and black bean stew is a comforting, healthy vegetarian dinner. It's got plenty of veggies and protein packed black beans to keep you feeling full. This colourful vegetarian sweet potato stew is easy to make in one pot, and is budget-friendly.
What you'll love about the recipe
- Delicious, hearty vegetarian comfort food
- An easy one pot meal with plant protein and plenty of vegetables
- Packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals
- Ideal for meal prep. Cook up a pan of this healthy sweet potato and black bean stew when you know you're in for a busy week! It's perfect for week night dinners
- Sweet potato stew with black beans is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, nut free
The ingredients in this hearty sweet potato stew are very simple, and you'll likely have many of them in your store cupboard already.
Sweet potatoes. Orange sweet potatoes are most commonly available in the UK, but use whichever colour you prefer. There's no need to peel the sweet potatoes, just give them a quick scrub.
Onion - use either white or red onion to make this sweet potato and black bean stew.
Canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Using both will add extra flavour. You could also use passata if you prefer.
Black beans have a lovely texture that works perfectly in this stew. You'll need beans that have already been cooked like canned beans. If you have cooked your own dried black beans, you'll need about 250g of cooked weight. Switch to another variety of beans such as kidney or haricot if you prefer.
Kale is a great way to add leafy greens to this healthy vegetarian sweet potato stew. Kale can also be substituted with spinach. Or use frozen spinach if that's what you've got available.
Herbs. Use your favourite herbs or whatever you have. I love basil, so added a large handful of torn leaves. But you could also try rosemary, thyme, or parsley. If you don't have fresh herbs, add a teaspoonful of dried herbs.
Garlic adds extra flavour to this veggie stew. I used fresh garlic but you can also use garlic paste if you prefer.
Olive oil, or another healthy cooking oil
Water. You can also use vegetable stock if you prefer. Remember if you use a stock cube or pot, if is probably already quite well seasoned.
Seasoning. I like to use a tablespoon of soy sauce to season this recipe, or you can just use salt and pepper if you prefer. Or add half a teaspoonful of yeast extract for extra flavour.
(Note that soy sauce often contains gluten, but gluten-free soy sauce is easily available in most supermarkets)
- Add extra veggies that you've got in the fridge. You could fry strips of red pepper with the onions for extra colour and flavour. For softer vegetables such as courgettes, add them 20 minutes before the end of cooking so that they don't go mushy.
- For a spicy sweet potato and black bean stew, add a pinch of chilli flakes, or use curry powder to suit your taste. For a smoky vegetarian stew, add some chipotle paste or smoked paprika.
- If you want extra protein, add another can of black beans, or a tin of lentils or chickpeas.
How to make sweet potato and black bean stew
Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Fry the chopped onions for about 5 minutes until starting to turn golden. The caramelisation will add an extra layer of flavour to the dish.
If you are making a spicy sweet potato and black bean stew, fry the spices with the onions, but take care that they do not burn.
Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, sweet potato and black beans. Season generously, but if you are using soy sauce, don't add further salt. Stir everything together, and add 300ml of water or vegetable stock. If you are using dried herbs, or woody herbs such as rosemary or thyme, add those to the pan now.
Cover the pan with a lid, and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally to ensure that the sweet potato cooks evenly.
Add the kale along with any soft herbs such as basil or parsley. Stir well and simmer for a couple more minutes until the kale has softened.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into even-sized pieces to ensure that they cook evenly. Stir occasionally and push down the pieces of sweet potato so that they are mostly submerged.
- If you want to thicken the stew, simmer for a few minutes with the lid off. For a thinner stew, add a splash more water.
Serving and storage
Sweet potato and black bean stew is a complete balanced meal, with fibre rich carbs, plant-based protein and plenty of veggies. It can be enjoyed just as it is.
For an especially comforting vegetarian dinner, top the stew with these easy dumplings.
Sweet potato and black bean stew is ideal for meal prep. You can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat on the stove. Add a little more water or stock if needed. Like many stews, I think this veggie stew tastes even nicer when reheated and the flavours have developed.
Vegetarian black bean stew also freezes well. Seal in a freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and reheat until piping hot.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, like most other types of beans, cooked black beans freeze well. If you want to cook up a batch of black beans to make this sweet potato and black bean stew, you can freeze any leftovers. You can even freeze leftover canned beans.
Other filling vegetarian meals
You might also like to try these other vegetarian comfort food recipes. They all have beans or lentils to ensure there's plenty of protein to keep you feeling full.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew
- large frying pan with lid
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and very finely chopped
- 400 g sweet potatoes cut into small (1.5cm) cubes
- 400 g canned tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 400 g canned black beans cooked beans 250g drained weight
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- seasoning to taste
- 300 ml water or vegetable stock
- 200 g kale stalks removed, leaves finely shredded
- 1 handful fresh herbs or use dried herbs
- Heat a large lidded frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Fry the onions until starting to caramelise.
- Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato puree, sweet potatoes, black beans, soy sauce, seasoning and 300ml water to the pan. Mix well and bring up to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender to the point of a knife.
- Add the kale and soft herbs and simmer for a couple more minutes until the kale has softened.
- You can also make a spicy sweet potato and black bean stew. Add curry powder to taste or a pinch of dried chillies and fry with the onions. You can also add chipotle paste or smoked paprika for a smokier flavour.
- If using dried herbs, or woody herbs such as rosemary or thyme, add them with the tomatoes so that they soften and rehydrate.
- Soft herbs such as basil or parsley should be added at the end with the kale.
- Black beans can be substituted with other beans such as kidney beans, cannellini or haricot beans. Note that all beans must be cooked before adding to the recipe.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.