Caribbean Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans

It’s a rainy start to the Fall here in Virginia (thank goodness!) so something with a Caribbean flair sounded like a good pick me up.  And to make it even better this dish has a dozen things in it that are good for you!  Oh, and did I mention that it tastes good?     I had a little trouble pulling it together, but part of that is because I was doing other things at the same time and part of that is because I didn’t exactly follow the recipe.  When you get right down to it this could be a leftovers plus staples dish. Leftover sweet potatoes and leftover sausage mixed with canned black beans and some rice.

Let’s start with the healthy part.  Everyone knows that sweet potatoes are good for you, even when you cover them in something sweet and yummy.  Still they’re full of Vitamins A & C.  Then there’s cinnamon which helps lower cholesterol, regulate blood  sugar, adds an anti-clotting agent to the blood.  And tumeric which is a natural anti-bacterial and helps prevent melanoma.  Add in some brown rice and black beans and you’re covered for fiber, B vitamins and manganese.  This dish has a lot going for it.

Now, on to my many adjustments.  I baked the sweet potatoes since I could stick them in and do other things while they baked.  From the original recipe, it seemed clear that the potatoes needed some sort of sweet sauce so I mixed up a touch of spicy caramel – just melted butter, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and salt – and tossed the potatoes in that.  Then I noticed that the recipe called for me to section a lemon (yeah, right), so I squeezed some lemon juice over the dressed potatoes.  I used sweet Italian sausage because I have more of that than I have hot.  (Special thanks to Rocky Run Farm for the sausage).  I never keep rice mixes in the house so I made brown rice and threw in a couple of pinches of turmeric.  Other than that mine was exactly like the posted recipe.

The cinnamon and turmeric flavors are earthy and warm.  The dressed sweet potatoes are sweet and spicy with a little citrus.  The brown rice is nutty.  The sausage is salty.  The green onions have a bright flavor.  I know it sounds like there’s a lot going on in this dish, and there is, but it all blends together beautifully.  You can almost hear the steel drums in the background.

You’ll have to trust me that this is a pretty dish as well.  The turmeric turns the rice a beautiful shade of yellow.  The rice makes a lovely background for the orange potatoes, black beans, brown sausage and green onions.  And I really wanted to take a photo for you.  Sadly the camera batteries are dead.  I’ll try to remember to photograph the leftovers and add the picture here.

Good? Definitely. And I have a feeling the leftovers will be better.
Easy? Let’s call this Intermediate. Just a bunch of pots going at once. At least the way I did it.
Good for company? Definitely. Beautiful on the plate. Serve it with a citrusy green salad.
Special shopping? Nope.

Here is a close approximation of my recipe with a link to the original from Cooking Light. At the bottom I’ve linked to the original sweet potato recipe.

Caribbean Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans


1 cup brown rice
1-2 pinches turmeric

2 (4-ounce) links sweet Italian sausage

2 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups Glazed Sweet Potatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained


For glazed sweet potatoes: Bake 2 sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch pieces.  (Or cut them first and then bake them if you’re pressed for time).  Melt 2 T butter in a skillet, add 2 T brown sugar and stir until the sugar is incorporated. Add 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t kosher salt and 1/4 t cayenne. Stir in lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon. Pour over sweet potatoes and toss to coat.

Cook the rice (2 C water to 1 C brown rice) with a pinch or two of turmeric. Keep warm.

Split the casings and crumble the sausage into a small dutch oven and stir over medium-high heat until browned (about 8 minutes). Drain sausage, and set aside.

Melt the butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add thinly sliced onion and garlic, and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes and the next 4 ingredients (potatoes through cinnamon), and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in sausage, green onions, and beans; cover and cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.

Feel free to try the Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes instead.


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