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It’s that time of the year where Spring is almost upon us, but the nights are cool and crisp and warm hearty soups and stews are still a perfect evening meal. I love this recipe because it is so nourishing and great for a Meatless Monday meal. This is also one of my favorite meals when I’m having a big gathering. You know the drill. You’re watching your waistline and health, but you want to have fun and be social, all while keeping it in check. Enter my fabulous Two Bean Sweet Potato Chili. Before I dish up the recipe, let’s talk why this recipe is love at first bite for your health and taste buds.
Sweet Potatoes: First of all, let’s be honest these sweet darlings are comfort food at it’s finest! These are an ideal complex starch, which help keep us full and the sweetness can help curb those obnoxious little (or who am I kidding, sometimes BIG) cravings for sweets. Because they gently raise blood sugar and are full of fiber, which keeps us full longer. Sweet potatoes help balance our blood sugar and improve insulin response. This also means no energy crashes, like with simple carbs, such as white potatoes. Speaking of white potatoes, if you haven’t made the sweet potato switch, you’re missing an major nutritional boost. They are full of vitamin A (think all things eye related) They are also a great source of B2, B6, manganese, copper, biotin and pantothenic acid. These vitamins are important for energy metabolism, hair health (hello gorgeous), thyroid health and more. They are also loaded with antioxidants, which we all know is key in preventing free radical damage and preventing cancer.
Garlic: Don’t leave this heart healthy friend out!! Not only is the flavor divine, but garlic helps your liver activate enzymes that can flush out toxins (read more about that here). It also has a high amount of allicin (a natural antibacterial) and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.
Red Onion: Onions may stink up our kitchens, give us bad breath, and make us cry when cutting them, but despite these minor annoyances, they are actually full of healthy goodness, and you know that purple is just so darn pretty!Onions contain a high amount of polyphenols, a type of phytonutrient, which includes disease-protecting flavonoids and tannins. In fact, onions are one of the most polyphenol-packed foods you can eat. Onions in general are good for us, but red onions have a higher concentration of flavonoids in the outer layers, which, according to a Cornell study, can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Be sure you buy organic as not to peel away too many nutrients. Red onions also contain the brain-boosting flavonol quercetin, which helps keep memory in tip-top shape. They also help break up mucus as well as emulsify fat. That said, if you have a cold or are looking to shed a few extra pounds, keep plenty of onion in the diet.
Collard Greens: Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals (cancer preventers). Whenever possible, choose organic. But remember eating non-organic greens is much better than not eating any greens at all!
Some of the benefits of eating dark leafy greens are:
-Strengthened immune system
-Promotion of healthy intestinal flora
-Promotion of subtle, light, and flexible energy
-Lifted spirit and elimination of depression
-Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
-Cleared congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus
Cumin: Can help the common cold. The antiseptic properties of cumin can help fight flu, by boosting your immune system. It also aids in digestion, is effective in stimulating menstrual cycle in women, and increases the body heat making metabolism more efficient, as well as bringing the flavor to this chili!! It’s also an excellent blood sugar regulator. Research has shown that the natural chemicals, in cumin reduce blood sugar levels and improve the action of insulin.Fight cancer – Cumin seeds are rich in anti-oxidants like eugenol and limonene, which have strong anti-tumor properties. Recent studies indicate the ability of cumin to reduce the risk of stomach and liver tumors in animals. Black cumin seeds, when combined with garlic, can further boost your immunity.
For coconut oil benefits click here
Ok, time to cook!!
Two Bean Sweet Potato Chili:
2 tsp coconut oil
1 lrg red onion
2 cups sweet potatoes
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 bunch collard greens (ribbed, stemmed, chopped)
1 tsp cumin
1 T chili powder (preferably salt free)(I like it spicy so I double this)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 can (28 oz.) no-salt added diced tomatoes (I like fire-roasted for a kick)
1 can well rinsed black beans
1 can well rinsed pinto (or other) beans
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
1. In a 6-quart saucepan, heat oil on medium. Add onion, potato, garlic and 1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt. Cook 8-10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Add collard greens and salt and cool 1-2 minutes or until bright green and just tender, stirring. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook 1 minute, stirring.
3. Stir in tomatoes and beans. Simmer for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
(This can be made in a crock pot as well. Simple add all ingredients and let cook on low for several hours!)
Chives, Daiya cheese, fresh chopped red onion, tortilla strips and or cilantro
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.