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Mar 16, 2016

Smokey Vegan Pinto Bean Bowls w/ Stewed Tomatoes and Cornbread

Before telling you about these Smokey Vegan Pinto Bean Bowls w/ Stewed Tomatoes, Swiss Chard, and Cornbread we gotta go to that good ol' disclaimer: Housevegan.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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In our house, we're such bean fiends. Y'all don't even know. Legumes are a huge staple in our diet. We eat them in our chili (you heard me), with fishless fillets, mixed with veggie dogs, in tacos, as dips, and even in our queso. We also sometimes just eat bowls of beans topped with stuff. Like in today's recipe for Smokey Pinto Bean Bowls w/ Easy Stewed Tomatoes, Swiss Chard and Cornbread.

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This bowl is legit down-home comfort food but made a little healthier. For instance, the pinto beans are made with Vegan Magic (formally known as Vegan Magic Bacon Grease) (or olive oil) instead of bacon fat while the stewed tomatoes use agave nectar instead of white sugar. Actually, let's talk about Southern style stewed tomatoes for a second.
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Have you ever had stewed tomatoes? Not like canned Italian stewed tomatoes, but Southern style stewed tomatoes? If you haven't had this sweet dish, its description may sound strange, but hear me and the entire South out. They're really really yummy.

They're made by cooking down canned tomatoes with white bread and sugar, resulting in a thick and not unpleasantly saccharine dish. They're not desserty, but more like the sweetest tomatoes you've ever had in a savory application. The bread melts right into the tomatoes so you're not eating soggy bread, but a full and wonderful tomato dish. You can serve stewed tomatoes as a side dish, or you can mix them right into other foods. They're especially good in mac and cheese or served over cornbread. Tomatoes make so many things better, right?

(Side note: When I'm not thinking about it, I catch myself calling tomatoes "tumaytuhs".)

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If you haven't had a big serving of beans lately, I think it's time to remedy that. This bowl is a great start, and as with most bowls feel free to use it as inspiration. Maybe just make the beans and skip the rest. Or try a meal made of only beans and stewed tomatoes. Or don't make any of it, that's fine too. This is a very laid back bowl. Though if you ask me, not making any of it would be a shame.

Mentioned in this post and recipe:

Smokey Pinto Bean Bowls w/ Easy Stewed Tomatoes, Swiss Chard, and Cornbread
Serves 4
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 6-8 strips vegan bacon (I used Sweet Earth's Benevolent Bacon), chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches swiss chard, cleaned, stems discarded, and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • salt to taste
  • Smokey Vegan Pinto Beans (recipe below), warmed
  • 4 thick slices vegan cornbread (I like this recipe), crumbled
  • Easy Stewed Tomatoes (recipe below), warmed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
Directions:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the vegan bacon, and cook, stirring frequently until it's just beginning to crisp. Remove the vegan bacon from the skillet, and set it aside. 

2. Add the remaining oil and garlic to the emptied skillet. Cook the garlic, stirring frequently until it starts to produce a little color and is very fragrant. 

3. Add the swiss chard to the garlic, and cook, stirring often until it's wilted and soft, about 5 minutes. Season the chard with salt to taste, and remove the skillet from the heat.

4. To assemble the bowls add a good scoop of beans (about 3/4 cup) to each bowl. Evenly distribute the swiss chard, cornbread crumbles, and cooked vegan bacon among the served beans. Top the bowls with a healthy spoonful of stewed tomatoes. Serve warm with chopped cilantro to garnish (if using).

Smokey Vegan Pinto Beans
Ingredients:
  • 3 strips vegan bacon (I used Sweet Earth's Benevolent Bacon), chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Vegan Magic, or olive oil
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
  • water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • pinch chipotle chili powder
Directions:
1. Heat the Vegan Magic in a large dutch oven over medium heat, and add the vegan bacon. Cook the bacon, stirring often, until it begins to brown.

2. Pour the beans into the dutch oven, and quickly add enough water to cover the beans by 2-3 inches (I used about 5 cups). Return the beans to the stove, crank up the heat to high, and bring them to a boil. Once the beans are boiling turn the heat down to low to bring the beans to a low simmer. Cover the dutch oven, and cook the beans until tender, about 2 hours. Check the water every half hour or so to make sure that it isn't getting too low. If the water level looks like it's going below the bean level then add just enough water to bring it back up.

3. While the beans cook combine the salt, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, and chili powder.

4. The beans are done when they're tender, and the cooking liquid has turned into a thick sauce. At this point remove the beans from the heat, and season with just enough spice mixture to taste.

Easy Stewed Tomatoes
My recipe uses panko instead of white bread, and agave nectar instead of white sugar. I just didn't want to serve something so sugary on top of an otherwise relatively healthy meal. I use panko instead of white bread because I love the textural difference. I think you will too!

Ingredients:
  • 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F, and grease a 1 3/4-2 quart baking dish.

2. In the baking dish combine the tomatoes, panko, agave nectar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Place the dish in the preheated oven uncovered, and cook the tomatoes for 30 minutes. They should look reduced and thickened when they're done.

3. Remove the stewed tomatoes from the oven, and season them with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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