After this second go-around with avocado cilantro sauce, I’m convinced that it’s possibly one of the best things in the world. Seriously, it’s such an incredible addition to any vegan Mexican meal (and most likely, to simply any Mexican meal), I don’t miss the cheese one bit! It’s excellent, and highly recommended. Oh, and a really amazing thing we discovered? It freezes beautifully!
But on to other things now. The rest of this meal turned out beautifully as well; it’s like a wonderfully flavorful updated version of a baked potato with chili. Using sweet potatoes transports the combo to a whole new level. And, another great thing, it’s all very easy to make & healthy!
We cook with beans quite a bit here, but I find that I often get stuck in a bit of a rut, using only black beans and chickpeas. Both those are great, but I know the world is wide with other options as well! And it seems that when I do use other beans, it’s generally in a mix, so I miss out on really experiencing the individual characteristics of the different beans. So I was happy to try making the chili with pinto beans this time. Yum! Whenever we make beans, we try to make some extra to freeze, because it’s no extra effort, and then you’ve got a super easy start to another meal just waiting for you! Plus, since this time of year all we have to do to freeze things is just stick them outside, we never have to worry about not having enough freezer space. :-)
I think it took me around 1 1/2 hours to make this meal, by myself. And that includes the cooking time for the beans, the baking time for the potatoes, and making the avocado cilantro sauce. It definitely didn’t feel like much time compared to the extravagant look and taste of the meal. We enjoyed the potatoes by themselves, but they would be great served with a simple salad or some steamed greens.
Avocado Cilantro Sauce
makes about 2 cups
1 1/4 cup avocado flesh
about 2 Tbsp water
2-3 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup cilantro (which you could leave out if you’re not a fan; the sauce will still be great!)
1 tsp salt, to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp cumin
black pepper & cayenne pepper, to taste
In a food processor, process avocado and water until creamy. Add remaining ingredients and processes until smooth, adding more water if needed for desired consistency. Whatever you don’t use right away, you can freeze.
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chili
4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
heaping 1/2 pound dried pinto beans (about 1 1/2 cups), soaked overnight; you could also use about 3-4 cups of canned beans.
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 chipotle pepper in Adobe sauce, diced (more if you love this flavor, like me!)
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp each: cloves, cinnamon, and cayenne
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
28 oz canned tomatoes
avocado cilantro sauce
chopped red or green onion
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce holes in potatoes, place on a baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes. Put beans in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until done. Thinly slice the onion and cook with the garlic in hot oil until translucent. Add the peppers, spices, vinegar and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. (At this point you can make your avocado sauce!) When beans finish, add to sauce and cook for about 10 minutes more. Taste the chili and adjust seasonings as needed. To serve, split open the sweet potatoes and create a cavern down the middle. Fill with chili and smother with toppings!