I’m a Dietitian & This Recipe Is Why I Always Have Black Beans on Hand

I’m a Dietitian & This Recipe Is Why I Always Have Black Beans on Hand

Canned black beans are the key pantry staple for this simple, nourishing recipe.

I stock my pantry, fridge and freezer with staple ingredients for quick meals because sometimes life can get hectic. Maybe I get stuck in traffic or my errands take longer than expected, or I’ve made some serious miscalculations in the amount of time it will take me to complete a work project. For the days when my original dinner plans fall through, I’m grateful for recipes that I can pull together quickly with ingredients I have on hand, like my family’s favorite Cheesy Sweet Potato Black Bean Casserole.

How the Recipe Works

The limited prep required to make this dish is a huge advantage for busy weeknights. The only cutting you’ll have to do is dicing a few sweet potatoes and chopping some scallions and cilantro. Then it’s just a simple task of measuring spices and opening a few cans. The cooking is a breeze, too. The sweet potatoes are briefly sautéed with a few spices then tossed with fire-roasted tomatoes, green chiles, black beans, corn and a bit of cheese. That mixture gets poured into a baking pan, is covered with more cheese and the oven does the rest of the work. Once the dish comes out, it’s topped with scallions and cilantro.

Why I Love This Meal

As a registered dietitian, I know the importance of a good meal. By “good”, I mean the meal needs to taste good, isn’t complicated to make and leaves you feeling happy and satisfied. This recipe is all of that and more! Here are a few of the reasons I make this for my family on repeat.

  • It’s quick to prep: Since the recipe utilizes many shelf-stable ingredients, including canned foods, preparing it takes only a few minutes. That’s important when time is tight and people are looking at you with hangry eyes.
  • It packs on the plants: I try to pack in as many plants as I can when I feed my family and this dish helps me do it. That’s because vegetables are an excellent source of micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Those nutrients are not only important fuel, but they also help with everything from supporting heart health to improving digestion.
  • It’s cost-effective: At less than five dollars per serving, this meal is a deal! That’s less than what you’d likely spend at the drive-thru.
  • It’s fiber- and protein-rich: Thanks to the beans, sweet potatoes and other vegetables in this dish, each serving provides 8 grams of fiber. This is a major “win” since most Americans fall short of their daily fiber needs (about 28 to 34 grams per day, per the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans). The dish also supplies 12 grams of protein per serving, which is great since it’s also completely vegetarian.

Swap In What You Have

Beyond the reasons above, I also love this dish because it’s versatile. If you don’t have one of the items listed, swap in something else or leave it out. I’ve added leftover vegetables, baby spinach and chopped kale with great success. Simply throw them in during the last minute of cooking the sweet potatoes.

To extend the meal further, serve with a simple side salad along with corn tortillas and salsa!

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