Sweet potato and black bean bake

Sweet potato and black bean bake

sweet potato black bean bake portion

It’s been almost a week since we’ve taken residence in this new house and we’ve been loving it so far. I’ve loved having a fairly modern and spacious kitchen with plenty of cupboard space and a spaceship of an oven at my disposal. As we won’t be redecorating the kitchen just yet, we’ve bought a 100 cm cooker / oven to fill the gap left when the previous owners took their cooker with them.

I’ve never had a cooker this size and I wasn’t sure it was the best use of space, but I am loving it already. The only issue is that we bought it on Ebay and while it’s in a pretty good nick all the dial markings have been worn out, so I am kinda guessing the temperature right now. Please bear with me, Duncan found dial stickers online and they are in the post. Rest assured that I won’t be making any cake recipes until I’ve received them…

As it’s always the case with a new house, there are things to learn. All the door handles seem to operate in the exact opposite direction to what we are used to, for example. Locks have their quirks. I am having a bit of trouble finding the light I am happy with. I was hoping to photograph in the kitchen, but pretty soon it became apparent that the light is usable only until 11am and as I am not an early riser exactly, it’s no good.

After 11am, the light streams right into the back door, which is great for spending time in the room, but not amazing for photography. I therefore moved to the utility room halfway through the last photo shoot and while I am getting better results, I am still not 100% sure this is where I will end up photographing. I shall experiment for a bit longer before I decide.

This sweet potato and black bean bake was something I came up just before we moved, when I discovered that I have way too many black bean tins at the back of my cupboard. I took me a few goes to get the proportions right, so we ended up eating this non-stop for an entire week 😛 .

My first instinct was to go with quite a wet sauce, but the results were always too soggy, so a thicker sauce is the answer here. As this dish is sort of Mexican inspired (not authentic by ANY means!!), it goes well with smashed avo (or shop bough guacamole), a dollop of thick, vegan yoghurt and lots of fresh coriander. I did not add any heat to this dish (unlike me, I know) so please override me if you are a hot food fiend. I hope you’ll enjoy this dish as much as we have.

sweet potato black bean bake process

sweet potato black bean bake assembly

sweet potato black bean bake baked

sweet potato black bean bake macro

30 min
75 min
30 min
75 min

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, more to season layers
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika, more to season layers
  • 1 tsp oregano, more to season layers
  • 2 x 400 g / 14 oz tins quality chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt, more to season layers (adjust to taste!!)
  • ground black pepper, to taste


  • 2 large sweet potatoes*, peeled if desired
  • 2 x 400 g / 14 oz cans black beans (no BPA and organic if possible), drained
  • 200 g / 7 oz melty vegan cheese, shredded or homemade cashew bechamel**
  • fresh coriander / cilantro, to serve (optional)
  • ripe avocado or shop-bought guacamole, to serve (optional)
  • thick vegan yogurt (I like The Coconut Collaborative and Coyo), to serve (optional)


  1. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottom pan or a casserole pot.
  2. Add diced onion and fry it off on a low heat until almost translucent, stirring from time to time.
  3. Add diced-up garlic, continue frying for another minute or so.
  4. Mix all the dry spices into the onion and garlic. Fry them off for another minute, stirring the whole time.
  5. Add in all the tomatoes and their juices. Once in the pan, break the tomatoes down with a wooden spoon. Add a can full of water and allow the sauce to simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
  6. Once the pan gets dry, add another can full of water and continue simmering the sauce until until tomatoes break apart and the sauce thickens. It needs to be thick for this dish or else the bake gets watery.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Preheat the oven up to 180° C / 355° F and grease a baking dish with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  2. Spread ½ cup (120 ml) of tomato sauce at the bottom of the dish.
  3. Slice sweet potatoes with a mandolin to achieve 3 mm / 0.1″ thick slices. I don’t recommend slicing them by hand (unless you are a pro) as the slices need to be exactly the same thickness for them to cook at the same time and this is really hard to do using a knife.
  4. Place a layer of sweet potato on the tomato sauce making sure the slices overlap slightly. Sprinkle with salt, oregano and smoked paprika.
  5. Next spread on a can’s worth of black beans. Season with a bit of salt and cumin.
  6. Follow with another layer of sweet potato. Again overlap them slightly and season with salt, oregano and smoked paprika.
  7. Spread the second can of drained beans on top of the potatoes. Season with a bit of salt and cumin.
  8. Follow up with a third layer of sweet potato. Again overlap them slightly and season with salt, oregano and smoked paprika.
  9. Finally, spread the rest of the tomato sauce on top – you should have just under ¾ cup left.
  10. Cover with a piece of tin foil and bake for about 60 minutes – give or take – until the sweet potato is cooked through and a knife slides right in.
  11. Sprinkle with shredded vegan cheese and bake (no cover this time) for about 10-15 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

The ceramic Pyrex dish I used for my bake had the following dimensions: 26 cm / 10″ x 19 cm / 7.5″ x 5 cm / 2″.

*The best sweet potatoes for this dish are large, thin ones so that they fit the mandolin well.

**If using béchamel instead of shredded vegan cheese, I recommend baking the dish covered for about 40 minutes, then spreading the béchamel on top and baking (uncovered) for a further 40 minutes.

4 g
21 g
1 g
19 g
53 g
*per serving
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10 reviews, 20 comments
Excellent! Since we aren't vegan, I used cooked chicken instead of a second can of beans. I also didn't add the second can of water since I was running out of time. A 9 x 9 pan was used as I didn't have the specified size.
    Great to hear that it worked out well for you, Kary! Ania
I love the look of this recipe, thank you so much it looks fabulous! I was just wondering if it is freezable?
Many thanks :)
    Hi Grace,
    Thanks, I hope you'll like it! I haven't tried freezing it but I don't see why not - all the ingredients are freezable. I hope you'll enjoy it! Ania
Thank you for your lovely website and recipes! This is the best ever recipe! Sooo tasty. I am about 85% Vegan and this is my favourite recipe so far and I have made it several times. Today I am using a jalapeño ‘cheese ’ Sauce. I haven’t tried the cauliflower béchamel yet, that is next on the list to make!
    Thank you for your kind words, Claire! I'm glad you are enjoying my recipes. x Ania
The beat thing ever! Sooo tasty. Love it, thank you!
    Great to hear, thanks Clara! Ania
Ah alright! That makes sense, thanks Ania- I'll let you know how it goes x
    Hope you'll enjoy it! Ania
I was looking forward to making this recipe- but due to the current climate, store shelves are pretty empty. I couldn't get enough sauce ingredients so I'm going to have to sub them for premade sauce and add my own spices. Do you think it'll be alright?
As well as this, I only have 1 can of black beans! Could I use 1 can of black beans & 1 can of kidney beans or do you think it'll taste too funky? If so, do you recommend any other type of bean to sub the missing black beans for?
Thanks in advance! I hope you are well :)
    Hi James,
    Yes, both subs you came up with would be absolutely fine and great shortcuts in times like now. I don't think that kidney beans taste funky, but if you do black eyed peas, cannellini beans or chickpeas would also work well, I think. As opposed to cake recipes, recipes like this one are really flexible. I hope you'll enjoy the outcome and if you have trouble getting vegan cheese, you can always make a lovely bechamel out of blended cauliflower :) Hope well, Ania
Can I pre-cook the potato slices slightly in the microwave so it takes less time in the oven? Will this work or is it a bad idea? I was thinking of cooking them in the microwave whilst making the sauce, maybe until they're slightly soft. It would be great to cut down on the time taken to make it as much as possible!
Love your website by the way- I'm so glad I found it as I'm trying to cook more plant-based recipes for my non-vegan family. Thanks for all the food inspo as well- Can't wait to try this recipe, hopefully, I'll be able to make it taste as good as it looks! :) xx
    Hi Kerri,
    You could try, but I am not sure there is any point, TBH. Apart from cooking the potato slices, the bake needs time in the oven for the tomato sauce to dehydrate too and sort of glue everything together. Glad to hear that my website is useful and I hope you and your family will enjoy this dish, however you decide to tackle it. x Ania
Hi Ania, I can't wait to try this recipe. I just have one question.
You mention: "200 g / 7 oz melty vegan cheese, shredded or homemade cashew bechamel**"
If I choose to make the homemade béchamel you mention in the other recipe, the ingredients of that recipe will give me the exact amount of sauce that I need for this recipe?
Thanks. Tamas
    Hi Tom,
    Yes, they do - they will give you a fairly thick layer of bechamel like in my moussaka photo. Hope that helps and that you'll enjoy the dish! x Ania
It is delicious! Thank you for this great recipe, I will cook it many times in the future :)
    I'm so happy to hear that, Lisa! And THANK YOU for letting me know that you enjoyed it! Ania
Made this today and it won't be the last time!
It's totally delicious. Gave some to my non vegan parents who also dislike sweet potato and they raved about it so had a full portion for their dinner!
Served it with coconut collaboration yoghurt and avocado, amazing combo, would never have thought it would work but it does .
Coconut collaborative yoghurt is a yummy new find thanks to you.
I don't have a mandolin, cut the sweet potatoes by hand and they were cooked perfectly, more to do with my very sharp knife than my cutting skills I think!!!
This is the first of your recipes I've cooked , most definitely won't be the last.
Thank you so much 🤗😸
    Yay, that's fantastic to hear. Thanks so much for your lovely feedback, Katie! I hope you'll enjoy other recipes just as much! x Ania
This is delicious. I'm not vegan, I'm vegetarian, so I used real cheese and sour cream and it was fantastic. I'm sorry if I offended anyone. I love your recipes.
    Thanks, Carlos! I'm glad to hear that! No, you did not offend me although I would of course love it if you went vegan :P x Ania
Klaudia K:
Great recipe! I loved it <3
    Thanks, Klaudia, that's awesome to hear!! x Ania
Hi Ania, what if I wanted to use fresh tomatoes to make the sauce,how much would I need? And would I also use the same quantitty of water as in the recipe? Thanks!
    Hi Sandrine,
    I would go for 6 medium (as ripe as possible) tomatoes and I would peel them first. As for water, you'll need to use your judgement. They should need less as they are more watery than the canned ones, but it is hard for me to say how much exactly, just keep an eye on the sauce as it's bubbling away and add a splash of water when the pan is looking dry while the tomatoes are still chunky. Hope that helps! Ania
Sarah | Well and Full:
I'm so glad to hear you're liking your new house! My fiancé and I just moved a few months ago ourselves, and it's been really nice setting down our roots :)
    Thanks Sarah! In this case I hope you guys do too! It is so nice to do that after a long time of things being 'up in the air', isn't it? xx Ania
Can't wait to try! Sweet potato slice thickness? 1/4 inch? No settings on my mandoline.
Good luck with the remodeling!
    Hi Julie,
    Mine were about 3 mm / 0.1" in thickness. Thanks :) Ania
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