Based on a description of a dish I read, I tried to approximate this elegant vegetarian entrée.  With complex flavors, this is very definitely not bland vegetarian fare. The chipotle peppers steeped in tomato sauce provide a deep smoky bass note, the sweet potato cuts the heat and the savory beans and rice make it hearty. Almost all the ingredients could be prepped beforehand and reheated and assembled at service. You can make it vegan by omitting the cheese.

The ingredient list is a little long, but none of the steps are difficult.

Black Beans and Rice with Chipotle Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

1 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed (or prepare your own – about 1.5 – 2 cups)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes drained, reserve the liquid
8 oz of tomato sauce – canned or homemade
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 large sweet potato roasted and slice into ½” rounds, (remove skin if desired) keep warm
½ cup onion diced small
½ cup sweet peppers diced small
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin ( + more to taste)
1 tablespoon chilli sambal
½ cup queso fresco crumbled (you could substitute grated jack)
2 chipotle peppers reconstituted, seeded and cut into strips lengthwise
2 teaspoons canola oil divided
½ cup chopped cilantro divided (optional)
Avocado slices
Salt + pepper


  1. Roast the sweet potato, leave in warm oven.
  2. Over medium heat in a small pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil until hot
  3. Add the chipotle strips and sauté until fragrant and a little softened
  4. Add 8 oz tomato sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer covered but not sealed to infuse the sauce with the chilies stirring occasionally so sauce doesn’t catch on pan bottom
  5. In medium saucepan over medium high heat, add the remaining teaspoon of oil, heat until hot but not smoking
  6. Add onions, garlic, sweet peppers, sambal and a pinch of salt
  7. Sauté , stirring often until onions are clear but not browned, reduce heat to medium
  8. Add cumin, stir to coat vegetables and cook 1 minute
  9. Add beans, combine
  10. Add juice reserved from diced tomatoes
  11. Simmer, stirring often until almost all the liquid is gone, but mixture is still moist. Remove from heat check seasoning, adjust salt and pepper to taste
  12. Cover until ready to plate
  13. Remove chipotle strips from tomato sauce and add diced tomatoes
  14. Thin with a little water if needed
  15. Keep warm
  16. Just before service:

  17. Stir rice, ¼ cup cilantro and cheese into bean mixture. Fold together, (Mold (if desired) into a small bowl or form – about a cup)
  18. Slice the sweet potato – remove skins if you want

[tw-divider]TO PLATE[/tw-divider]

  1. Add a layer of roasted sweet potato rounds, top with a cup or the molded rice/bean/cheese mixture
  2. Spoon chunky chipotle tomato sauce around the beans
  3. Top with sliced avocado, and garnish with chopped cilantro

BBT Parallax

Eat Well & Keep Digging!