Literally the easiest thing EVER. I made this chili from scratch for my carbo-loading food festival this week (last few days before the race!) and it is SO delicious. It does require a little prep, however – I used dried black beans, soaked them overnight and then pre-cooked them the night before making this chili, so throwing this dish together would be a breeze. I also learned something new: eating raw or undercooked beans is dangerous! Why? Beans contain a compound called lectin. Lectins are glycoproteins that are present in a wide variety of commonly-consumed plant foods. Some are not harmful, but the lectins found in undercooked and raw beans are toxic. I find it interesting that unlike a lot of other plant foods (most vegetables), beans have a better nutritional profile after they are cooked. Boiling destroys the lectin and renders them safe to eat. The toxic lectins are thought to exist in order to discourage animals and other pests from eating the raw beans or seeds of the plant. Animals are apparently able to smell the toxic lectins. Make sense – even your pooch will sniff food before eating it and turn away from anything that doesn’t smell juuuust right (bring on the peanut butter!). Us humans have no such olfactory sense, so we can’t tell that those raw beans are going to cause a serious bout of Montezuma’s revenge. Kidney beans are particularly dangerous, not only because they are one of the most consumed beans globally, but they also have the highest concentration of lectins. For comparison, cannellini beans have only about a third the amount of lectin of red kidney beans (yet even that amount is still enough to make you sick).
Black Bean Prep:
Baked Sweet Potato Stuffed with Black Bean, Corn and Pumpkin Chili
- 1 cup of dried black beans, cooked following directions above
- Black bean cooking liquid (or 32 oz veggie broth)
- 1 16 oz jar of salsa, medium or hot
- 1 15.5 oz can of pumpkin, or 2 cups pureed pumpkin
- 3 ears of fresh sweet corn
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- Dash of Herbamare
- Few turns of black pepper
- bay leaf
- Sweet potatoes (4)
- Avocado (1)
- I was serving this chili over baked sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 400°F, pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork five or so times on each side, and place into the oven to roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, grill or boil your corn. I boiled my ears of corn for 10 minutes, allowed them to cool enough to touch, and cut the kernels off the cob.
- Transfer your beans, bean cooking liquid (or broth), spices and jar of salsa into a medium saucepan. Stir to mix, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low to simmer and add the corn. Cover and simmer on low until the potatoes are done.
Serve chili over a sweet potato, top with avocado, Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lime, freshly chopped cilantro – whatever you like! Enjoy. 😀
This dish really was quite simple. Yes, it does require some preparation and planning ahead if you use dried beans, but when you get down to it, it’s a lot of simmering downtime. And, it is full of nutrients, protein, fiber and my favorite combo ever: sweet potato and black beans. In addition, the ingredients are inexpensive and you can make it for as many or as few people as you like – it’s easily scale-able to feed a crowd. You can eat the chili as it is, or served over baked potato or on top of greens for taco salad, or as a burrito/taco/enchilada filling. This was really, really delicious. I can’t wait to make this again when pumpkin is in season! 😀
I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!!