These vegan loaded sweet potatoes are topped with crispy roasted black beans, roasted tomatoes and sweetcorn, and a super simple homemade pesto – so vibrant and full of flavour!
Who else is doing Veganuary with me this year? We’re now a week in, and I’m finding it pretty tough! I haven’t actually missed cheese or chocolate yet, though I’m sure those cravings will creep up on me soon enough. The hard part is those pesky non-vegan ingredients hidden in shop-bought items – crisps, cereal, sauces, those kinds of things. I’m finding it much easier to avoid all that stuff, and cook from scratch instead – meals like these vegan loaded sweet potatoes are perfect! They’re vibrant and full of tasty ingredients. You won’t miss the cheese one bit!
Healthy vegan dinner
I loved these vegan loaded sweet potatoes – they’re so easy to make, but they’re full of flavour, and nice and healthy too!
There are three main elements:
– roasted sweet potatoes
– crispy roasted black beans, roasted with juicy tomatoes and sweetcorn
– a simple homemade basil pesto
It may not be the most attractive dish on the planet once you’ve heaped everything up together, but it’s pretty irresistible! I couldn’t wait to dive straight in.
Loaded sweet potatoes
First up, the potatoes!
You could use regular potatoes for this recipe, but sweet potatoes are really nice for a change – I don’t use them often enough. They have a lot more flavour than normal potatoes – much sweeter (obviously), with a softer and fluffier texture. They go really beautifully with the crispy black beans (we’ll come to those next!).
You don’t need to peel your sweet potatoes – just pop them on a baking tray, and roast. Then add the other ingredients to roast right on the same tray (I do love a good one-tray dinner – great for minimising washing up!).
Crispy roasted black beans
Next up, the black beans. Just add them to the tray with the sweet potatoes for the last 20 minutes or so, along with some sweetcorn and cherry tomatoes (or whatever else you feel like roasting!).
If you’ve never tried roasting beans before, it might sound a bit strange, but it actually works really well! A lot of them will burst as they roast, and they get slightly crispy around the edges (don’t overdo it, you still want them soft in the middle!). It’s a really easy way to heat them through and make them feel a bit different.
Simple vegan basil pesto
Finally, a simple homemade basil pesto!
Pesto is really easy to adapt depending on what you have in the house – pretty much all of the ingredients can be swapped for something else, and you’ll still end up with an awesome end result.
It uses just a few ingredients:
– nuts – usually pine nuts, but I used cashews, because that’s what I had on hand. Most nuts work well!
– fresh herbs – usually basil, but any soft, leafy herb like coriander (cilantro), parsley, chives, etc. will work too.
– garlic – it’s going in raw, so just use one small clove! Or switch it for spring onions, or even a tiny amount of raw white onion.
– extra virgin olive oil
– a classic pesto usually includes parmesan cheese, but I obviously skipped this to make my vegan pesto – it honestly makes very little difference to the end result, and I say that even as a cheese lover!
– …plus a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Throw everything in a mini food processor, give it a good blitz, and that’s your pesto done!
I also added a dash of water, because I wanted my vegan pesto to be fairly thin and pourable.
Vegan loaded sweet potatoes
Then, just load up those sweet potatoes! Just pile on the roasted black beans and veggies, and drizzle over the basil pesto.
The combination is really yummy – soft and fluffy sweet potatoes, crispy black beans, juicy roasted tomatoes, and that super flavourful pesto… perfect.
What other vegetables could I use for my loaded sweet potatoes?
I chose tomatoes and sweetcorn to roast alongside the black beans, because they don’t require any real prep (just quartering the tomatoes, and opening a tin of corn) – I’m pretty lazy, and I always welcome any way to save a bit of time in the kitchen!
But of course, you can use whatever vegetables you fancy for topping your sweet potatoes. Here are a few other ideas, which can all be added to the tray along with the black beans:
– diced peppers
– sliced asparagus
– diced red onion
– diced mushrooms
– diced courgette (zucchini)
Whatever combination you go for, these vegan loaded sweet potatoes are a healthy and super tasty vegan dinner!
Vegan loaded sweet potatoes
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/2 tbsp oil
For the simple basil pesto:
- 2 tbsp cashew nuts (or pine nuts)
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled
- 1 small bunch fresh basil
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- 3 tbsp water
For the roasted black beans:
- 400 g tin black beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
- ~ 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 3 tbsp tinned sweetcorn kernels
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules
- Black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray, and rub lightly with a dash of oil. Roast at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 45 minutes, until they're almost soft in the middle.
- While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the pesto. Add the nuts, garlic, basil and olive oil to a mini food processor, and blitz thoroughly until smooth. Season to taste, and add enough water to give your desired consistency (I wanted a pourable pesto, so I added a few tablespoons of water).
- To prepare the black beans, add them to a mixing bowl with the tomatoes, sweetcorn, parsley, garlic granules, salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little oil, and mix to combine.
- When the potatoes are almost soft in the middle, add the black bean mixture to the baking tray, and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes. The beans should be slightly crispy, and the tomatoes will be soft and juicy.
- Serve the roasted sweet potatoes topped with the roasted beans, and drizzled with pesto.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe (one loaded potato).