My appreciation for Mexican food and flavours has grown over the past few years due to the diversity of vegetarian dishes formed from this distinct cuisine. Beans are a staple ingredient in Mexican cooking and a substantial source of protein and fibre for non-meat-eaters. The fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, avocados and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals whilst contributing a healthy balance of carbohydrates and fats.
I will be undergoing my radio-iodine therapy in 2 weeks which means I am on a low-iodine diet until the treatment is over. For half a month I have been instructed to cut out fish, dairy (and dairy substitutes), eggs, salt and some breads. As I already don’t eat meat, I am taking this time to explore the vegan diet and thus become more creative with my recipes. My Mexican Sweet Potato and Black Bean Rice Bowl is the perfect dish to transition into the plant based regime. Let me know what you think!
3 large sweet potatoes, washed and sliced into circles 1 inch thick
2 tins black beans
2 cups brown rice, washed
4 cups water
1 large roasted red pepper (from a jar)
1 large clove of garlic, sliced
Bunch of fresh coriander
Bunch of lettuce of your choosing, I used little gems
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 avocados, diced or sliced
4 vine tomatoes, diced small
1/4 red onion, diced small
6 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius or 330 degrees fahrenheit. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the sliced sweet potatoes. After 5 minutes, drain the sweet potatoes and evenly place onto a baking tray. Drizzle 3 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle 1 tsp of paprika, ground coriander, garlic granules, ground black pepper and half a tsp of cayenne pepper on top. Flip the potatoes over a couple times to ensure they are coated in seasoning and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
Next, add the brown rice to a pan with 4 cups of water and 1 tbsp olive oil. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and reduce the heat to a simmer. The rice should take roughly 25 minutes to cook but check often and add more water if necessary.
Drain and wash 1 tin of black beans and place into a pan. Add the second tin of black beans with the liquid into the same pan and stir. Add the garlic, roasted pepper, tomato paste and 1 tsp of paprika, black pepper and half a tsp of cayenne pepper. Sprinkle some fresh coriander onto the bean mixture, give it a good stir, and then cover with a lid and leave to simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.
Once the rice is cooked, add a generous handful of coriander and the remaining olive oil and stir through. Add the rice to a large bowl to create the base of your dish. Carefully scoop the black beans onto a section of the rice. Next, add the lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and avocado to their own section of rice and drizzle with lime. Finally add the sweet potato, garnish with more coriander and serve.