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Dharma Kitchen


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew

Carrie H

Sweet potatoes are on the mind these days. First, they're so good for you. But you already know that right? Full of beta carotene, fiber and complex carbohydrates, they can sustain you for a good stretch. Last week I went to a holiday lunch where these two well-suited companions were paired together to delicious effect. Then, because they were on the brain, I decided to make a favorite cold weather dish of ours—this sweet potato and black bean stew—for dinner over the weekend when we had company. Never mind that the temperatures have been disturbingly and unseasonably warm; sometimes you have to just go with it and keep cooking seasonally appropriate foods, regardless of what tricks Mother Nature is playing.

This recipe comes to me from my friend Stacey, one of my favorite food friends. The original version has a jalapeno, seeded and diced. I typically leave that out because our constitutions, on the whole, don't really take to spicy foods too well. We typically serve this over basmati rice, but you can do what you like. It's great topped with sour cream or Greek yogurt, and I also like to crumble up tortilla chips and scatter them on top. 


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 T. butter, ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 T. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 2 tsp. chili powder 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 bell pepper, diced 
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped


In a large stockpot, melt the fat of choice over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and saute a minute or so, until fragrant.

Add the chili powder, cumin, orange juice, water or stock, and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes start to soften a bit. Add the black beans and bell pepper, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Add the cilantro at the end, and cook for another minute or so. 

Yield: 6-8 servings