Spicy bean and crispy cavolo nero bowl

Yes, I’ve been quiet for the last month. I blame (thank?) the holidays. But after managing to avoid all of the green-and-red food-posting madness, my first recipe of the year somehow still centres on those two Christmassy colours.

I’ve seen a lot of ‘bowl’ meals that involve cooking every element separately, amounting to a whole lot of kerfuffle – and dirty dishes. For this recipe I tried to keep the fuss factor to a minimum by roasting most of the vegetables together in the oven.

Spiced sweet potato

Entire recipe serves four 
  • 2 x small or 1 x large sweet potato, cut into 1.5-cm squares (I used a purple variety since that’s what was in season; fitting in with the dish’s colour palette was a bonus)
  • ½ tsp x cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp x dried oregano
  • A good pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • A generous drizzle of olive oil

Crispy cavolo nero

  • 1 head x cavolo nero (around 200 g), de-stemmed and roughly torn
  • 1 tsp x smoked paprika
  • A good sprinkling of salt
  • A generous drizzle of olive oil

For the rest

  • 1 x avocado
  • 1-2 x lemons or limes
  • 2 x garlic cloves (preferably fermented), crushed
  • 1 x jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • A pinch of cumin powder
  • 1 ½ cups x cooked black beans (or use canned beans, well drained)
  • 2 cups x cooked red rice
  • 1 x red onion, finely sliced
  • Extra olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper, to season

Optional (but recommended) garnishes

  • A spoonful of something fermented, if you have it on hand
  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • A sprinkling of dried chipotle flakes

Instructions

Heat oven to 180C (fan-forced) or 200C (conventional).

Arrange the sweet potato on a tray and sprinkle with the herbs, spices, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine.

Place the prepared cavolo nero on a separate tray (or next to the sweet potato, if there’s space). Sprinkle with the paprika and salt, then drizzle with olive oil. Scrunch the leaves in your hands to coat.

Put both trays in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until the sweet potato is cooked through and the cavolo nero is nice and crispy.

Roughly mash the avocado with the garlic, jalapeño, cumin powder and the juice of half a lemon. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the rice and black beans between four bowls. Add a serving of the cooked sweet potato and cavolo nero to each, then top with a spoonful of smashed avocado. Sprinkle some sliced red onion over the top, as well as any garnishes of choice. Finish with an extra drizzle of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon or lime juice and a touch of salt and pepper.

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