Sweet potatoes with spiced beans and tomatoes, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

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William Claypool, assistant director and executive chef, says this dish, which is offered as a vegetarian entrée—it can be made vegan by omitting the sour cream—is a great low-fat option that combines the health benefits of legumes and sweet potatoes. “I think the ‘upgrade’ to our usual serving of a sweet potato with the traditional butter, cinnamon and brown sugar toppings is its nutritional density, its ability to fill our customers up, and its great and uncommon flavor profile. It’s also very simple to execute consistently and works well with our food cost guidelines.”


100 medium-sized sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
5 dozen medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup ground cumin
1/2 cup ground coriander
6 tbsp. salt
3 #10 cans black beans, rinsed, drained
6 cups reduced-fat sour cream
6 cups chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Prick sweet potatoes with fork and bake in 425°F oven until tender all way to center, about 1 hour.
  2. Heat oil in medium rondeau over medium flame.
  3. Add tomatoes and sauté, seasoning with cumin, coriander and salt.
  4. Add beans, and cook to heat, adjusting seasoning as needed.
  5. Hold potatoes and bean mixture hot.
  6. For service, slash each sweet potato lengthwise, press open to make well in center and spoon bean mixture into well. Top each with dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of cilantro.

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