This Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Stew has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion. It’s simple, it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s budget friendly, it tastes amazing, and it’s warm and cozy for the first days of fall. It’s a one-pot, gluten-free, grain-free meal that is sure to please the whole family and takes only about 30 minutes to make.
Plus, it’s so PRETTY and colorful!
Actually, this is one of Zach’s recipes- he originally made this one from Runner’s World and we loved it so much, we adapted it a bit and added it to our regular recipe rotation. It’s made with already cooked chicken (rotisserie or leftovers will be fine- see notes in recipe below for what to do if you don’t have already cooked chicken) and it’s easily adaptable to be Paleo/whole30 compliant: just omit the beans (I did this all the time when I was doing the whole30 in January).
The secret ingredient that makes this taste so good is smoked paprika. It gives the stew a slightly smoky flavor (which goes insanely well with the sweetness of the potatoes) and makes it taste like it’s been cooking for hours. The stew isn’t spicy (I’ve had an aversion to spicy foods during my pregnancy… I know, it’s extremely upsetting to me, too), but you can add some cayenne pepper to it if you want. Besides a bit of fresh parsley thrown in at the end, there aren’t any other spices besides salt and pepper, making the taste of the chicken, sweet potatoes, and black beans really shine through.
Speaking of chicken, sweet potatoes, and black beans: have I mentioned how HEALTHY these three ingredients are? Let’s take a look:
Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein, all of the B vitamins including folate and biotin, and has a very broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Did you know just a 4 oz. portion of chicken breast is 70% of your daily value in protein? There are also so many options in terms of leanness for chicken- a skinless breast has the least amount of fat whereas a skin-on thigh has the most. Luckily, all cuts of chicken are not that expensive, so it’s easy to incorporate into your meals on a budget.
Sweet potatoes are ridiculously high in vitamin A with 214% of your daily value per a 1-cup serving, which is great for bone growth, eyesight, reproductive health, and immune system health, and is particularly beneficial to children. Their orange color makes them high in vitamin C and beta-carotene, similarly to carrots, which is absorbed better when sweet potatoes are eaten simultaneously with fat (the olive oil in this recipe alone is enough for this benefit). And let’s not forget- their sweetness and texture makes them absolutely DELICIOUS! They’re definitely my root vegetable of choice.
Black beans are high in folate and fiber, and provide key support for your digestive health. They’re also a high source of plant protein, which makes them key in any plant-based diet (and if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can leave the chicken out of this recipe and it will still have plenty of protein from the beans). Plus, they’re SO inexpensive, especially if you cook dried beans instead of buying canned (I cook mine in my slow cooker, portion them out into 1.5 cup amounts which is the same as a can, and freeze the portions).
The only special tool you need for this stew is a potato masher– towards the end of cooking, you’ll want to use it to mash some of the potatoes and beans right in the pot to help thicken it up a bit and make it really “stew-like.” Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender for just a few seconds to get the same result.
The leftovers freeze beautifully in an airtight container or bag for up to 6 months. When defrosting and reheating, you may want to add a little bit of water or some more chicken broth since it will be extra thick.
Finally: this meal is already very inexpensive to make, but if you want to make this meal go even further, serve it over a grain like brown rice or quinoa….