All through my childhood, it was understood that dinner included some kind of meat, poultry or fish. A meatless dinner was frankly, a foreign concept to me. In junior high I became friends with a girl who was a vegetarian and after a disturbing (to me at least) science lab, I decided she might be on to something. By the time I reached high school, I was the one doing all of the cooking in my family…which meant they ate what I put in front of them. Now, I wasn’t one of those people who tried to turn my family into vegetarians, but I did introduce them to meatless meals. I gave up being a vegetarian years ago when I visited a country, where turning down food is a great offense. Through that experience I learned that a vegetarian lifestyle wasn’t going to work for me. However, here at home, I still like to have my meatless meals.
This particular dish I found on The New York Times website a few years ago (sorry I can’t find the original link). It isn’t very often that I find a recipe that I don’t feel the need to change in some way…this is one of those few. And of course, it’s gluten-free.
- 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large onion, preferably red, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh hot chili, like jalapeño
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 cups cooked black beans, drained (canned are fine)
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put sweet potatoes and onions on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to mix with dressing.
- Put chilies in a blender or mini food processor along with garlic, lime juice, remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Process until blended.
- Put warm vegetables in a large bowl with beans and bell pepper; toss with dressing and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a day.