Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chipotle Black Bean and Yam Stew Recipe

This black bean stew is warming and comforting, just perfect for a blustery fall day. I like to serve it over cooked quinoa topped with a cilantro and cabbage slaw (recipe to follow). It just feels better to eat something raw with a cooked meal. I always feel my meals are better digested this way.

The great thing about this soup is that it is tomato-free. I love tomatoes and put them in nearly all of my soups and stews, though I know some people need to avoid them. With this recipe I use fresh lime juice to provide the acidity.

Tom made a very large pot of this black bean stew last week. I actually wanted to post it then but didn't even have a second to take a photo and get on the computer. Now that I am back from my trip to San Francisco I had a chance to make it again today and now share it with you.

Chipotle Black Bean and Yam Stew with a Cilantro Cabbage Slaw

This soup is so easy to prepare, especially if your black beans are already cooked. I personally like to add extra spice to my bowl, the 1/2 teaspoon I use in the recipe is only enough to add a little flavor and spice. I use this amount so my kids will eat it, anything more and it would just be too spicy for them. Use about 4 cans of black beans if you don't have any cooked beans on hand. If you do it this way be sure to save the liquid from the beans and use that as part of the liquid called for in the recipe. The soup will turn out better if you use more bean cooking liquid rather than water.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 to 3 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt
2 medium yams, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 cups cooked black beans
4 cups water or bean cooking liquid
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
the juice of one lime (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)

Heat a large 6 or 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add olive oil then add onions and saute for 5 to 7 minutes. I usually like to add a few dashes of salt at this point.

Then add the spices, Herbamare, yams, and garlic and saute a minute or two more. Add the black beans and water (or bean cooking liquid). I always prefer to use mainly bean cooking liquid. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until yams are barely tender but not yet cooked. Timing will depend on what size you dice your yams.

Then add the diced peppers and simmer for 10 minutes more. Taste and adjust salt and spices if necessary. Remove from heat and add lime juice.

Cilantro-Cabbage Slaw

4 to 5 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
2 cups chopped cilantro
2 to 3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
the juice of one lime
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Herbamare

Place all ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl and toss together. Be sure to make only what you will eat with you meal. Otherwise it will become soggy and unappealing for your next bowl of stew. (The stew gets better as it ages, this doesn't).

Top your stew with a large spoonful or two of the slaw. Tom and I usually fight over the last of it in the bowl! Enjoy! :) Source: www.NourishingMeals.com

Other warming soups and stews:

Other News:
Tom was recently on the Voice America Internet Talk Radio again speaking this time on Vitamin D. If you would like to listen to the show and get the most up-to-date research you can follow this link.

Tom will be speaking on Detoxification at this year's International College of Integrative Medicine conference in Grand Rapids, MI, October 2 - 4.

Tom and I were both invited to be part of Wordstock, the Portland Literary Festival, October 8 - 11. This year's theme is food.

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Hi Ali,
    This looks amazing, as usual. I was wondering about the acidity. Do you have a suggestion for someone who has just recently found they have a citrus intolerance AND a tomato intolerance? I'm in phase 3 of the elimination and feeling lovely! Thanks for everything.. :)

    Jennifer M.

  2. I am SO ready for fall and this looks scrumptious. Congrats to Stephanie - guess I'll have to place my re-order online for the coco sugar:)It is so worth the time!

  3. Wow, it sounds like you are busier than ever! Congrats on the speaking engagements-you are both such a gift to the world :) I love this stew! I love the black bean and yam combo-scrumptious! I personally need more hearty vegetarian suggestions for a man who doesn't like beans...hmmmm, nut burgers and?

  4. Jenna -- That is my issue, as well. My husband really dislikes beans and pretty much disregards anything without meat, unless it is really hearty and filling, which is hard to do without using legumes of some sort.. ;)

    Jennifer M.

  5. Oh and Ali,.. My husband and I hoping to make it to Wordstock this year. We live in Portland. Perhaps we'll get to see you and Tom speak!

    Jennifer M.

  6. You can tell the seasons are changing and it is time for bean stew - I just posted a tomato-free black bean chili recipe with beet puree to replace tomatoes! Hooray for Fall and beans. This recipe looks great, thanks for sharing!

    Kim // affairsofliving.blogspot.com

  7. Perfect timing. Black beans + yams are the best.

  8. I have been making soups, too. It's just that time of year. I love the slaw - I can just imagine the flavor and texture contrasts are perfect.

  9. Jennifer M. - Great question, I would suggest using apple cider vinegar (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) to replace the lime juice....as long as you have introduced vinegar already. Seasoned brown rice vinegar would be a good one to replace the lime juice in the slaw. Again, I would start with less and add more as your tastes suggest. Yes we are speaking at the Wordstock festival and Tom will be on a panel discussion talking about seasonality of foods. Hope to see you there! :)

    cook4seasons - Yes, this is a great one for fall. Great to hear you are enjoying the coconut sugar too! :)

    Jenna - This fall is, yes, just a tad crazy for us. Hmmm, I'll have to think about bean-free vegetarian recipes and get back to you.

    Kim - I will have to check out your recipe, I just love how you incorporate beets into your recipes in such creative ways! :)

    CinnamonQuill - I love the black bean and yam combo too!

    Amy - Thanks, it is nice to have something crispy and green atop a cooked soup. :)

  10. This sounds delicious =D. I love anything with sweet potatoes or yams inside!

  11. Hi Ali,
    I'm also always keeping an eye out for tomato free recipes-they're difficult to find! This stew looks perfect for the colder temps we're now seeing in the NW.

    Re:coconut sugar
    Are the jars of Palm Sugar I buy at asian markets the same thing? It's very inexpensive and easy to find at the funky little markets in the international district.

    Thanks for keeping this great blog going-it's very inspiring :)

    Cymbaline W.

  12. I'm making this for dinner tonight and am apparently fresh out of chipotle powder, darn! What do you think of subbing in plain old chili powder? Thanks for the recipe, can't wait to eat it! -Lara

  13. Lauren - Thanks! :)

    Cymbaline - In regards to the sugar: the main difference I think is that palm sugar is for the most part sold as a paste or as hard cones and comes from the date palm. Coconut sugar comes from the coconut palm and is sold mainly in the granulated form. This is from what I know, there may be more info out there I am not aware of. I buy my sugar from Essential Living Foods and have not found it locally, at least not yet! :)

    Lara - Yes I think chili powder would work to replace the chipotle, I would suggest adding a little extra though. You may also want to add a little smoked paprika to add the smokey flavor that chipotle gives. :)

    Happy Cooking! -Ali :)

  14. Thank you for your Blog!!! I have just found out that I have PCOS. Armed with a reason for being where I am, I am fully determined to change my eating(really, my entire..)lifestyle. Your blog is extremely helpful in finding healthy and yummy food!

  15. this stew looks SO delicious!! I love using sweet potatoes in a stew! YUM!! ;-)

  16. Can't wait to check out Tom's segment on vitamin D. You could probably tell on Friday that it's a topic we're passionate about! Also- the soup sound perfect for the season.

  17. Ali,

    This looks sooo good and it's cold here! I'm drinking smoothies when I should be making stews and soups. This recipe of yours is on my make-it-now list. Off to do some cooking. As always, thanks for the inspiration!


  18. I make a sweet potato stew very similar to this, only I use veg or chicken stock in place of bean water and I also add 1/2 cup peanut butter at the end. I love this recipe, so good for a cold day...

  19. Annabelle - Thanks for your sweet words! :)

    Carrie - Thanks! :0

    The Mushroom Channel - Hope you enjoyed the Vitamin D talk from Tom - I think he has a bit about mushrooms and D at the end of the show. Nice to meet you last weekend! :)

    Melissa - It's cold here too! Soup is our 'daily bread' now! ;)

    Jenn - Yum, sounds more like an African bean and yam soup with the peanut butter...fun! :)

    -Ali :)

  20. Hi Ali,
    Thanks for such a great recipe! I intended to follow your recipe exactly, but ended up making a very close variation on the theme due to a lack of planning on my part - it turned out fabulous! It is now my favorite Fall meal. AND my 7yo daughter had 4 servings! She says they are the best beans EVER. Here's what happened - I intended to use canned black beans, but realized I was out - but I did have some black beans in the freezer (I had soaked these for 12 hours; drained the water off; then placed in bags in the freezer). Then I realized I had no chipotle chili or chili powder, so I used 1/2 teaspoon of Sambhar powder instead (from our co-op's bulk spike section - it has a wonderful spicy, salty, smokey flavor). Note: I believe the Sambhar powder contains salt - I only needed to add 1 teaspoon of herbamare when I used the Sambhar powder. I added quite a bit of water (probably 6 cups of water for 4 cups of beans) and cooked the beans until they were done.

    I also realized that I couldn't add the yams or they would get mushy. So I ended up cubing the yams and oven-roasting them (at 425 for ~20 min) with olive oil, herbamare, and a touch of Sambhar powder.

    Once the beans were done - I just spooned them over the roasted yams, topped with fresh cilantro (we had coleslaw and quinoa on the side). This worked really well for my daughter, as she prefers things separate. I can't wait to have it again for dinner tonight - Thanks again Ali!

  21. Hi Ali, I made the stew this morning with your suggestion of substituting apple cider vinegar instead of the lime juice. I also realized I needed to find replacements for the chipotle powder and red bell pepper because of a nightshade intolerance. At that point, I realized the entire flavor was going to alter somewhat. I ended up with a pretty tasty dish, but am still playing around with amounts. I added a really nice smoked sea salt to make up for the chipotle and am playing around with a tart green apple to try and replace the red bell pepper. I only used 1tbsp of vinegar. The end result was lovely, but I suspect a far cry from what you were originally intending!

    Jennifer M.

  22. This soup rocked our family's world last night. Thank you, thank you for having a black bean soup that did not involve tomatoes.

    (Plus, it was easy to whip up. mmmmmmm.)

  23. Thanks so much for posting this (realizing I'm a year late to finding it). I'm a working dad trying to find time to help with the cooking, and this recipe along with the red lentil soup recipe, have been total hits this last week without much preparation time. I added 2 cups of homemade, organic, grassfed beef stock to the black bean soup, which added to some of the wonderful richness of the soup. Thought I'd pass along the suggestion for non-vegetarians/non-vegans. Cheers! Sean

  24. I love so many of your recipes! But, this has to be one of my favorites. Love the combination of soup and fresh slaw. I shared this on my blog for others to try.



  25. This soup is wonderful! As are so many of your recipes. Thanks so much for sharing!
    I've been soaking and cooking my own beans thanks to your detailed instructions in the cookbook. Do you have any thoughts on the safety of pacific kombu after the tsunami? Thanks Ali! I know you are a busy gal.

  26. Jan L -

    As far as I know, seaweed has an amazing capacity to absorb radiation. It can absorb it while growing in the ocean and is then bound and won't be released when consumed. Even if seaweed has detectable levels of radiation it will continue to absorb it in your body. I really need to showcase more sea vegetable recipes on this blog. We should be consuming seaweed about once per week for the best health benefits. :)

  27. Thanks Ali! You are my favorite blogger! :) I was considering the Atlantic Kelp as a substitute, but glad to hear that it isn't necessary.

  28. I wish I could get my kids (and husband) to eat beans! And wow, chipotle pepper! They would never eat if it is even got half that amount!

  29. Wow!! I made this last night exactly as-is, with the slaw on top and it was sooooo good! Having said that, my kids had to be bribed to eat the stew and hubby and wouldn't touch the slaw; my 3 year old loved it though! I'm making more cabbage and cilantro slaw today to eat with the leftovers!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)