Saturday, February 24, 2018

Not So Humdrum Dinner

Every once in a while I get in a cooking rut, where it feels like I'm making the same thing over and over for dinner. The other day I decided to shake things up.

I started with a survey of what was in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. No surprise that I found exactly the same ingredients that have been there for the past month. Randomly picking black beans and sweet potatoes as inspiration ingredients, I started searching the Internet for recipes. Google was full of variations on chili and casseroles, but they all left me cold. It wasn't until later in the morning that inspiration hit. I could make chili and use it on top of something! In this case, the 'something' could be the Napa cabbage purchased earlier in the week at the Asian market. Kind of a Mexico/Asia fusion salad

Later in the day I was out running errands when I saw a sign outside the produce market that said they had avocados on sale. (Five for a dollar! How could I not stop?) The avocados were small, and not as ripe as I would have liked, but I figured it would be a nice addition.

I cook my beans from scratch, and freeze them in 3-cup portions. That means if it's just me and Hubby Tony eating dinner I can get two meals out of a container. This meal was no exception.  When it got close to dinner time I chopped the cabbage and set it on the counter so it would come to room temperature. After cobbling together a couple of different chili recipes to suit my taste I sauteed onions and garlic, then dumped in the beans, diced sweet potato, a can of tomato sauce, chili powder, and cumin. Things looked a little dry and was out of stock, so I added just enough water to cover the ingredients. After coming to a boil the chili simmered until the sweet potatoes were done (about 20 minutes).

At dinner time I put two cups of cabbage on each plate, poured the chili on top, then added half of a chopped avocado. Right before I put the plates on the table I found a little cheddar cheese in the freezer. I sprinkled some on top, then added some crumbled tortilla chips after I took the photo. The finished result:

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili Salad (serves 4)

3 cups black beans
Approximately the same amount of sweet potatoes
1/2 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil (or water for sauteing)
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
Stock or water (as needed)
8 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
2 avocados, cubed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips and salsa (optional)

Drain and rinse the beans. Dice sweet potatoes. Saute onion and garlic in oil or a small amount of water until translucent. Add beans, sweet potatoes, spices, tomato sauce, and stock or water to cover ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer until sweet potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes).

Arrange cabbage on two plates. Spoon chili on top. Garnish with avocado and cheese. Serve with tortilla chips and salsa.

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  1. Oh yes! I've made something very similar for my family and really like it. I call it a taco salad. Instead of the napa, I use green leaf lettuce or romaine. What fun! You're a lot better than me though. I use beans from a can.

    1. This is the first time I used napa...because I didn't have lettuce in the house.

  2. Oh man that looks good! I'll have to give it a go. Thanks for writing out your recipe.

    1. You're welcome! Feel free to make the recipe your own.

  3. That looks really really good. How did it taste?