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Love Those Sweets

I really don’t know what I was thinking when I bought more than 15 pounds of sweet potatoes to make for Thanksgiving. As many of them as I cooked (and it was the most delicious and most unhealthy recipe ever – butter really is a magical thing), I still had plenty of uncooked ones left over. So I decided to make one of my favorite healthy recipes for sweet potatoes. Black beans add protein, fiber, and color. Red peppers add more nutrients, crunch, and color. It’s really lovely. The recipe comes from my daughter Joanna (who’s finally coming home in eight days from her year and a half stint in the Netherlands – but who’s counting?)

By the way, sweet potatoes have little relation to white ones. And even though they’re sweet, they have a lower glycemic index than white ones (which means that they don’t raise blood sugar quite so much). They’re loaded with vitamin A and fiber; and they have fewer than a hundred calories each. So now you know.

Joanna’s Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad


  • 2 or 3 scrubbed and dried sweet potatoes 

  • 1 can black beans

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 2-4 Tbsp cilantro or parsley

  • vinaigrette dressing (2/3’s extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 balsamic vinegar) 


Bake, microwave, or boil the sweet potatoes.

To bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  • Pierce each potato a few times on each side with a fork or knife (to prevent a potato explosion).

  • Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake for 45 minutes or so – until the sweet potatoes are pretty soft, but not mushy.

To microwave:

  • Place the potatoes on a microwave-safe dish and heat at high temperature for 3 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and microwave another 3 minutes. Add more time as necessary.

To boil:

  • Peel the potatoes and cut into 1” cubes. Put the cubes in a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, and then simmer until the potatoes are the tenderness you like, usually around 15 minutes. Drain.

 While you’re waiting for the potatoes to cook, prepare the other ingredients:

  • Rinse and drain the beans.

  • Chop the red pepper into 1” squares.

  • Coarsely chop the cilantro.

  • Place these together in a bowl and toss with vinaigrette.

If you’ve baked or microwaved the potatoes, cut them into 1” cubes when they’re cool enough to handle. If you want, you may peel them first — but the peel has lots of nutrients and fiber – so you can save yourself the trouble if you like and reap the health benefits, too.

Place the potatoes in the bowl with the other ingredients, and toss again.

This dish is delicious at all temperatures. Personally, I like it warmed up a bit. 

I can’t wait for Joanna to share more recipes with me in person!