Sweet Potato & Balsamic Black Beans


If you’ve never made beans from scratch…the time has come. Beans are about the cheapest thing around and a superb powerhouse of nutrition and protein all in one. Eating a healthy, plant-based vegan diet can be quite frugal, contrary to popular belief. Just think of all the pennies you’ll save from swapping beans for the carcasses of terrified, brutally confined animals! It’s a win-win, don’t you think? Oh, the more you know…and feel…and engage. Today I’m starting a new little bit called, If I Were President. See what I would do at the bottom of the post. 

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.”

— Helen Keller

Keller’s words have never been more appropriate than now. While science helps force mother cows to produce more milk, factory farmed pigs to not get deadly sick even though they wade through their own filth, and chickens to grow so unnaturally large that they can’t walk…we aren’t addressing the real problem. The complete and profound lack of caring for these fellow creatures. And our mind-bogglingly gluttonous greed. 

I tried to make this side dish look as appealing as possible, but…you know…beans. They’re not exactly the cover models in the world that is food photography. So, sorry for that. 

Sweet Potato & Balsamic Black Beans

Tender black beans combine with chunks of sweet potatoes and bathe in a spiced balsamic sauce for a healthy and delicious side. I’ve included instructions for using a pressure cooker or a soup pot. Adapted from JL Fields book, Vegan Pressure Cooking.

Yield: 8 servings


  • 2 cups black beans, soaked overnight or 8 hours
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Cooking Directions

  1. In a pressure cooker, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add the garlic and sauté a few minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the spices and salt.
  2. Drain and rinse the beans. Add them to the pot along with the remaining ingredients, excluding the vinegar. Cover, turn heat to high, and bring to high pressure. Keep at high pressure for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow a natural release.
  3. Once the pressure is released, uncover and stir in the vinegar. Over medium heat cook for about 10 minutes, uncovered, until most of the water has evaporated. Stir occasionally to keep the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Alternatively, you can use a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot with a lid and follow mostly the same instructions. However, cook the beans covered for about 1 hour at a simmer, then uncover and follow the same instructions. Check the beans for tenderness, they can vary widely in their cooking time and how long they were soaked for. Add the salt along with the vinegar if using this method.

If I Were President

I’d require every citizen to visit a factory farm and slaughterhouse. If they were still okay with the horrors, then they would be allowed to eat animals. No, just kidding. They’d have to live a day in the life of a mother cow who has had her calf stolen from her. Or be pumped full of growth hormones, or have his/her beak (nose) clipped off. Just the standard stuff. I don’t think it’s too extreme seeing as it happens to millions upon millions of living, sentient beings everyday.

Dutch Word of The Day

Apathy –>  onverschilligheid (onver-schil-ehide)

Good Deed of The Day

If you’re still consuming animals, ditch that habit for one week. It’s just one week. I think you can do it. 

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