One sweltering summer, a combination of circumstances left us living in a very hot boatyard in southern Florida.
Trying to keep us cool and also not heat up the boat with cooking, I turned to the strategy I’d developed for the hottest days when we had cruised the Sea of Cortez: do any cooking I needed to first thing in the morning and then have cold meals for the rest of the day.
Most people associate sweet potatoes with cool weather, as baking them can warm up the kitchen or galley. But they take very little time to boil when cut in chunks and make a delicious – and vitamin-filled – base for a meatless meal.
Again this summer, we’re eating our “hot weather meals” but in a much more fun location: cruising the Bahamas.
Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 mini sweet peppers
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup canned whole kernel corn
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- dash cayenne pepper
- 1 green onion top, sliced thin for garnish
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1/2” thick slices, then cut each slice into quarters (large bite-sized chunks). Place in a saucepan, cover with water and add the one teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until just tender. Drain and spread on a plate to cool.
- While potatoes are cooking, cut tomatoes into chunks about the same size as the potatoes and place in medium bowl. Slice the mini peppers thinly into rings, discarding seeds, and add to bowl. Add all other ingredients except garnish to bowl and toss to mix.
- Add cool potatoes to bowl and very gently toss so that they don’t break apart. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least two hours (can be refrigerated up to 12 hours; beyond that, do not add tomatoes until closer to serving time). Serve on a plate or in bowls and garnish with sliced green onion tops.
- Want meat? Add chunks of cooked chicken breast to the mix at the same time you add the potatoes – again, mix gently so the chicken doesn’t break apart. This is great with leftover grilled chicken breast.
- Like it spicier? Use a mildly to wildly spicy pepper instead of the mini sweet peppers.
- Want it even milder? Use a dash of cumin instead of cayenne.
- No refrigeration or ice in the cooler? Serve immediately (it’s a great no-refrigeration recipe since none of the ingredients have to be kept cold)
- Side dish servings: this will serve 4 to 6 as a side dish.