Sweet potato, black bean and spinach sauté is a quick and easy one pan vegetarian main dish that’s hearty, filling, budget friendly and ready in under 30 minutes.
I’m not a practicing vegetarian myself, I think I could be.
Veggies are my favorite and I love making them the star of the meal. I’ve even built up quite a large collection of easy vegetarian recipes here on Family Food on the Table.
(And all of the recipes in that collection are for main dish lunches and dinners; I didn’t include things like sauces and desserts that are of course vegetarian.)
Want to hear some of our favorites?
Quick and easy vegetarian curry is ready in just 15 minutes, my veggie burger scramble is a way easier - read, lazier - way to get a veggie burger without having to form or flip patties, and vegetarian meatballs are amazing with some spaghetti and sauce.
Also, healthy veggie egg scramble is a great, lazy dinner for one.
Or if you’re looking for something warm and cozy, you can’t beat this Instant Pot lentil soup.
Today though, we’re going stove top and we’re making a one skillet vegetarian meal.
This sweet potato, black bean and spinach sauté contains those three of my favorite things: tender sweet potato chunks, hearty black beans and wilted spinach.
We’re adding some onion and spices for flavor but otherwise, that’s all you need!
I love a quick and easy meal I can throw together with things I always have on hand.
I first made this for just me. I did a month of vegetarian meals a couple of years ago, but the rest of my family didn’t participate.
That meant I was either preparing two meals or adapting one to be friendly for meat-eaters and vegetarians.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard.
And one night, I came up with this one-pan black bean sauté and served it with some leftover chicken for the kids and my husband.
We all loved it!
It’s surprisingly filling (even without any meat), has tons of flavor from the seasonings, and you can add all kinds of fun toppings like shredded cheese, salsa and avocado.
Plus, it takes just 30 minutes to make, start to finish. It’s also vegan and gluten-free as is, depending on what toppings you decide to use.
It’s very budget-friendly, too, which is always a nice bonus. (Particularly after the holidays, am I right? 😬)
Plus, I love the combination of sweet potatoes with black beans. I have a sweet potato black bean enchiladas recipe that I dream about. It’s that good. And I mix them together for tacos and chili all the time, too.
But OK, let’s get back to today’s sauté deliciousness.
Now, I’ve got some notes, tips and substitutions coming up below on how to make this sweet potato and black bean sauté. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on making sweet potato, black bean and spinach sauté:
- You’ll want to make sure your sweet potatoes are diced similarly and on the small side so they don’t take forever to cook. Mine are about ¼- to ½-inch dice.
- I use a sweet onion, but a yellow onion or red onion would also be fine here.
- A can of black beans works well here, or you could substitute some homemade cooked black beans if you prefer, such as Instant Pot black beans. Or sub in your favorite bean, like pinto beans or cannellini beans.
- Baby spinach or regular bagged spinach is fine here since we’re wilting it in. Start with a few handfuls, stir it in, and add more as space allows in your pan. You could also substitute some sliced kale, but it'll need a few more minutes to soften and wilt.
And as I mentioned, the toppings here are endless.
Use your favorites and let everyone mix and match to customize their bowl. (That's always a great way to get the kids to try a few bites!)
Topping ideas for sweet potato and black bean skillet:
- Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- Salsa or pico de gallo
- Avocado or guacamole
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Hot sauce or sriracha (we love Crystal hot sauce - has more flavor than heat)
- Fresh lime juice
The leftovers of this keep great, too. You can rewarm it in a skillet on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave. Makes a yummy lunch on another day!
I’ve got lots more vegetarian meals coming your way, so stay tuned.
You can sign up for free e-newsletter to get all of my new recipes delivered straight to your inbox so you never miss a thing. I’ll even send you my free e-cookbook, Healthy Weeknight Dinners, as a thank you!
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- ¼ cup water or vegetable broth
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 6 oz. fresh spinach
- Shredded cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, avocado or guac, hot sauce, fresh lime juice, etc.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
- Add the sweet potatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes more, until well mixed.
- Add the spices and water or broth and stir to combine.
- Cover the skillet and cook over medium-low for 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. (You should be able to easily pierce them with a fork.)
- Add the black beans and spinach and stir until combined and the spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Serve hot, with desired toppings.
Sweet potatoes: You’ll want to make sure your sweet potatoes are diced similarly and on the small side so they don’t take forever to cook. Mine are about ¼- to ½-inch dice.
Onion: I use a sweet onion, but a yellow onion or red onion would also be fine here.
Beans: A can of black beans is what I use, but you could substitute some homemade cooked black beans if you prefer. Or sub in your favorite bean, like pinto beans or cannellini beans.
Spinach: Baby spinach or regular bagged spinach is fine here since we’re wilting it in. Start with a few handfuls, stir it in, and add more as space allows in your pan. You could also substitute kale, but it'll need a few more minutes to soften and wilt.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 777mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 8gSugar: 9gProtein: 7g