Squash and Sweet Potato Chili

by The Crepes of Wrath

Sweet potatoes are incredibly versatile. Turn them into fries, a delicious take on a traditional au gratin, or simply bake and stuff with anything your heart desires. As the weather has turned colder though, my eyes are set on chili. What better way to celebrate the sweet potato than with this hearty vegan comfort dish with a hint of curry powder and a touch of agave nectar.

Continue reading

Black Bean Soup and Tamale Pie

by Marykate Smith Despres, Salem Depot

We have gotten some great responses to our Call to Slow Cookers, including these two black bean recipes.

First, Melissa Perry Giamanco, of the Melrose Depot, shares her Black Bean Soup recipe:

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 rib of celery, roughly chopped

1 red pepper, roughly chopped

1 green pepper, roughly chopped

4 15 oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 bag soaked dried black beans

4-5 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Optional spices -chipotle chili powder, cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and peppers and cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are softened, stirring occasionally.

Add beans, broth and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until carrots are soft.

Remove soup from heat. Use an immersion blender (or work in small batches in a blender) to blend soup until smooth. Taste to make sure spices are okay, and serve.

If you want to spice this up, you could add some crushed red pepper to the vegetables in step 1, or a bit of chipotle chili powder (which adds a smoky spice) or a tiny bit of cayenne pepper with the other spices in step 2. Adjust any of the seasonings to make this the way your family likes it!

Serve soup with toppings like: shredded cheese, chopped green onions, plain lowfat Greek yogurt, chopped tomatoes, avocado chunks and crushed tortilla chips.

If you’d rather a twist on black bean chili, try Salem Depot member Rebecca Hains’s favorite recipe for Slow Cooker Tamale Pie:

For the cornbread topping:

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 1/4 cup flour

1 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder


For the Chili:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can fire roasted tomatoes

1 can corn, drained

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Dump in the filling ingredients and stir very well to distribute the spices evenly. In a separate bowl, mix together the cornbread topping. When finished, pour evenly over the filling, spreading with a spatula if needed. Cover and cook on low for 4-7 hours or on high for 2-4.

Thanks, ladies! The season is winding down, and I’d like to do one more crockpot post, so keep sending us your recipes! Some members have been sharing their favorites right on our facebook page or in the comments section of the slow cooking posts here on the blog, so be sure to check those spaces for more great recipes.