Southwestern Black Bean, Corn, and Pepper Sweet Potato Noodles

Sweet potatoes aren’t a vegetable that I eat very often, and in fact, I can’t remember the last time I ate them, but I decided to try to make a dish with sweet potato noodles. So I bought a couple of sweet potatoes, brought them home, and peeled one. And unlike the ones in the recipes I’d been looking at online, they were white. I didn’t even know that they came in white and orange versions, but apparently the flesh can be white, yellow, orange or purple. The white ones are supposedly slightly less sweet than the orange ones, but I think either would work for this recipe. And now I want to try purple sweet potato noodles, mostly because they’d look cool.
This southwestern black bean, corn, and pepper sweet potato noodle bowl is made with spiralized sweet potatoes, and tons of veggies. It's vegetarian, but leave off the cheese, and it's vegan.

Have you ever had colorful sweet potatoes? Do they taste different, or is it like Skittles, where the different colors pretty much taste the same? What color do you usually buy?

This southwestern sweet potato noodle bowl is made with spiralized sweet potatoes, and tons of veggies. It's vegetarian, but leave off the cheese, and it's vegan.

I’ve made pesto zucchini noodles, but this was the first time I’d made sweet potato noodles, and there were a couple of differences I noticed. First, I had to press a lot harder to make the noodles. For most of the noodling, I ended up just abandoning the handle, and turning the potato by hand. And unlike the zucchini noodles, when I cooked the sweet potato noodles, they didn’t shrink down in size. They also stayed more firm. I liked them a lot, and will definitely make them again.

sweet potato noodlesNot really safe, but it worked.

This southwestern sweet potato noodle bowl is made with spiralized sweet potatoes, and tons of veggies. It's vegetarian, but leave off the cheese, and it's vegan.

Another unusual ingredient I used in this dish is soy curls. It’s that stuff that looks a lot like chicken. It actually doesn’t taste like chicken, but it has a similar fibrous texture. Soy curls are one of my favorite meat alternatives. They’re super easy to prepare, non-perishable, absorb flavors well, and the texture is really great. I buy them from the bulk bins at my local grocery store, but you can buy them online if your local store doesn’t have them.

This southwestern sweet potato noodle bowl is made with spiralized sweet potatoes, and tons of veggies. It's vegetarian, but leave off the cheese, and it's vegan.

Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Sweet Potato Noodles

1 sweet potato, peeled and spiralized into noodles
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 small mild green pepper, sliced
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup soy curls
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper

Optional toppings:
Cotija cheese (It’s not traditional, but I often use crumbled feta in place of cotija)
Avocado, sliced
Lime, cut into wedges
Sour cream
Radish, sliced
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Place soy curls in a bowl, and cover with hot tap water. Set aside to re-hydrate for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, pour soy curls into a mesh strainer and press the soy curls with a large spoon to press out as much water as possible.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and peppers, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring, until vegetables are softened but still have a little crunch. Add frozen corn, garlic, black beans, soy curls, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and cook for 1 minute, until the corn is thawed and warmed through.

Remove the vegetables from the pan and place in a large bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet potato noodles, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, chili powder, and cumin, and stir to mix. Cook, tossing the noodles with tongs until noodles are “al dente,” about 5-7 minutes. They should still have a slight crunch to them.

When noodles are done, toss with vegetables in a large bowl. Serve, and top individual bowls with a squeeze of lime and optional toppings like crumbly cheese, avocado slices, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.

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2 thoughts on “Southwestern Black Bean, Corn, and Pepper Sweet Potato Noodles

  1. Hi Rachel, I wondered why the noodles looked white not orange because I have never seen anything but orange sweet potatoes. Purple would be fun. My daughter has recently gone vegetarian and her friend is vegan. Can you give some hints and tips for using the soy curls and meat substitutes? Pat S

    • Pat, I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned!

      Ok, so first I’ll get on my soapbox: People tend to worry about vegetarians and vegans getting enough protein without meat in their diets. But most people get way more protein than they need, so I think that’s a totally overblown worry. Getting protein from unprocessed vegetable sources like beans and quinoa is totally doable and healthy, so I start there. Quinoa is a complete protein source, so I eat it a lot. But if, like me, you grew up eating meat, you might want to replicate the taste or texture of a dish you’re used to, so I think that’s where meat substitutes come in.
      Although frozen fake chicken nuggets or tofurkey slices can be delicious and I’ve eaten plenty in my lifetime, I try not to rely on that stuff. If I use them at all, the meat alternatives I tend to cook with are tofu, TVP (textured vegetable protein), soyrizo (a delicious substitute for chorizo), and soy curls.

      Soy curls are awesome because you literally just soak them in water, drain, and then you can cook them with whatever spices or sauce you want. The company that makes them has some recipes on their site that look good:

      TVP plus spices is basically what’s in most fake hamburger meat crumbles. My husband adds it to pasta sauce, just like you would with real ground meat, except without having to cook and brown it first. Like soy curls, it comes dried, so it’s handy to keep around. I like this kind: It’s really good in vegetarian chili.

      I’ve been wanting to experiment with cooking with seitan and tempeh, so I’ll work on that, and hopefully feature them in a recipe soon.

      Hope that helps a bit! I’ll keep this question in mind for future posts 🙂

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