Two months after moving in with Mr. Green the most common question I’m asked about our adventure in cohabitation relates to what we eat at home. I grew up in what might be described as a meat-centric home where meals were planned based on how the beef or pork, chicken or turkey was prepared. And though long-ago I began preparing and enjoying vegetarian meals, I still tended to eat meat the majority of days. Of course, my diet changed when I moved in with Mr. Green.
At home, I eat like a vegetarian.* I’ve come to know intimately the lentil and bean family, and now count tofu and tempeh as a food group. I seek out vegetarian recipes and get excited when I come across one that has a meatless take on an old favourite, like stew or bourguignon – even burgers. Mr. Green and I enjoy cooking together, and look forward to testing out recipes and new flavours in our kitchen.
Tonight was no exception. We modified a favourite black bean dip recipe a friend shared to come up with our very own Sweet Potato Black Bean bake.
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bake
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp oil of your choice
1 diced onion
½ diced red pepper (we used green, but would have preferred red)
2-ish tbsp chilli powder (to taste)
2-ish tsp cumin (to taste)
1-ish tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste)
1 large sweet potato quarter-inch diced
½ can diced tomatoes
1 cup corn (frozen or canned is fine)
1 can black beans
1 cup shredded cheese (we used goat cheese cheddar)
½ cup chopped cilantro Juice of half a lime
Toss chopped sweet potato in oil with a dash each chilli powder, cumin, chilli flakes. Bake until soft but not mushy, about 20 minutes at 400F.
Sauté garlic in oil until fragrant, but not browned. Add onions and sauté until onions are soft and see-through.
Add pepper and chilli, cumin, and chilli flakes. Stir to coat onions. Continue to cook until spices release aroma.
Add tomatoes, corn, black beans and cilantro and cook until liquid from tomatoes is mostly absorbed. Simmer and adjust seasoning.
Add cooked sweet potatoes and combine. Layer bean mixture in casserole dish with cheese. Be sure cheese is evenly distributed throughout. Squeeze lime juice over the top to taste.
Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
Serve with sour cream or plain yoghurt. Garnish with cilantro and remaining juice from lime.
Yield: Four generous servings
Eating like a vegetarian is easy and I enjoy it. I still eat meat – my girlfriends can attest to that – but I’ve come to learn that the amount of protein derived from meat can be easily made up with “meat alternatives.” Try searching out a new vegetarian recipe and see for yourself how delicious, healthy, and green (!!) a meatless meal can be.
Some of my recipe sources:
Lots of variety, organized by ingredient for easy searching: NY Times Recipes for Health
New find: Smitten Kitchen
Yummy recipes from Toronto holistic nutritionist: Joyous Health
Old favourite and standby: LCBO Food & Drink
*I eat, mostly, like a vegetarian. Last week on my home from work I was looking for adventure, so tucked into Cumbrae’s, my neighbourhood butcher, and walked out with lamb and hot Italian sausages. (I also tucked some designer olives in my, reusable, bag for Mr. Green). That night for dinner we made squash and mushroom risotto and I enjoyed a lamb sausage on the side.